I Don’t Need a Hero, Just a Loving Man

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.

—Photo Www.CourtneyCarmody.com//Flickr

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About Jasmine Peterson

Jasmine Peterson is a feminist and an activist. She is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Clinical Psychology. Her research has examined social constructionism, self-objectification, and, most recently, conceptions of health and their impact on males and females.

Comments

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I think the concept of anyone having to be rescued is a bit overdone, especially in the context of traditional monogamous male/female relationships. It’s nice to be taken care of sometimes no matter whether you’re a man, woman, transgender, bi-gender, etc… but treating it as a standard for relationships creates unhealthy situations.

    I’ll call it like it is though: there are plenty of men and women who say one thing about this and do another. Men shouldn’t expect that fixing a car or taking someone to dinner means they’re owed anything other than appreciation, but women could also stop treating that as the standard and buy a man a drink or take him out to dinner now and then.

    • Absolutely!! And that’s a great point – doing something nice for someone else doesn’t mean that we ought to expect something in return. I like to treat my partner to dinner because I enjoy doing it, not because if I treat him to dinner he somehow owes me something in return.

      In the past, I have dated men who were uncomfortable with my propensity for taking on ‘masculine’ roles, as though my paying for dinner somehow decreased their own masculinity. I’ve heard a lot of men criticize the standard of men having to pay for things, but I’ve also seen that when that standard is broken, some men become very uncomfortable. It IS nice to be taken care of on occasion, no matter who you are; I see it as something that should be reciprocal, and not unilateral. :)

  2. Anthony Zarat says:

    Thank you for an honest female perspective.

    “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.”

    The male perspective is different.

    Men, boys, and fathers are in desperate need of “rescue”, collectively and (in many cases) individually. From infant genital mutilation, to boys being treated like broken girls in school, to adolescents living without fathers, to fathers marginalized in family court, to the countless victims of violence, suicide, homelessness, substance abuse, and disease — most men’s lives are scarcely worth living.

    As an empowered woman, this might be a good moment to turn around and lend a hand. This is our darkest hour.

    • That is a valid perspective, and I like to think that I am doing my part in advocating for the rights and freedom of men from these circumstances. In fact, once (if) I obtain my PhD in clinical psychology, it is my intention to provide my services in my free time to the neediest populations – particularly the homeless. In the meantime, I do what I can to address each and every one of the issues you’ve listed here. And I try to get as many people involved as possible, because these are serious and important issues. However, I think that it’s more than just the actual individual issues that need to be addressed; it is the overarching culture and the institutions that create these issues that must be confronted before any real change will be seen.

    • And my idea of a hero does include these things – “stands up for the rights of the marginalized”. I think that that is heroism, to resist institutionalized oppression and to work toward equality for all human beings.

  3. I love this piece. It makes me even more thankful for the man in my life, whom i will marry one day. We honor the hero in each other.

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