I’m a strong woman. I’m my own hero most of the time, and I like it that way. I don’t need my partner, or any other man in my life, to rescue me, or to perform heroics for me to love and admire them. I love the men in my life for a variety of reasons, for the numerous ways in which they express themselves, their masculinity, and their humanity. And I get that sometimes men like to be the hero. But you know what? I like to be the hero sometimes, too. I love when I can save the day, by escaping being cheated on car repair costs, or when I can secure a mortgage when it seems nearly impossible. I even love getting the bill when I go out for dinner with my partner! I love when I can make things happen that need to happen, at the last possible moment before disaster strikes. I like to be the hero. Actually, I love to be the hero.
Hero is a broad term that can mean any number of things to different people, and can manifest itself in a number of ways. I’m sure that a number of superheroes come to mind when we hear the word, but to me heroics don’t require great feats of strength, overtly courageous efforts, or a mesomorphic body type covered in boldly coloured spandex. Heroics can happen in everyday life, in the minutiae of human interaction. When my partner supports me, encourages me, consoles me – these are acts of heroism, in my eyes. When a man allows himself to be vulnerable, emotionally expressive, breaks out of the bounds of masculinity and is able to just be himself – that’s heroic.
So what does a hero look like, then? A confident human being who respects others, who stands up for the rights of the marginalized, who acts with concern and empathy, who supports other women and men, who parents their children with integrity and kindness, who respects and protects the environment. It’s these small things that play out in our daily lives that are sources of heroism. It is these small actions that make me adore the people in my life. And, while not necessary, I can fully appreciate a boldly colored spandex unitard.
I’m not suggesting that men shouldn’t be heroes in the traditional sense if they so desire, and I certainly wouldn’t consider myself representative of what women want; I tend to be an outlier. But in saying this, I don’t think that it positions my perspective as invaluable. In fact, on the contrary, I wonder if more women would find a hero in a man who helps her to be a hero of her own life? And maybe men would find that sometimes it’s nice to be rescued, and to not always have to be the rescuer.
Check out the rest of our “Men and Heroism” section.
The “Men and Heroism” section was run and edited by Dave Kaiser.