How do they affect (American) society?
This is an interesting topic as we can find different points of view. Most boys and girls have admired a superhero at some point during their childhood. Indeed, superheroes are everywhere; in comic books, cartoons, major movies and videogames. They save the planet and make our world a safer place. These characters have a great effect on kids, and their constant appearance on media surely affects our society on one way or another. Some psychologists believe that movies and comics badly influence kids, some of their statements are: •There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday. •Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. (Tony Stark, from Ironman is a great example) •All superheroes have MUSCLES. Even wimpy Peter Parker is well packed! So, maybe it works the same way magazine covers influence girls to be weight-conscious. Little boys want abs too! •Super Heroes all have enemies! So, in some way it teaches kids to form an antagonist.
However, superheroes transmit positive ideas too:
•Any special ability must be used in a conscious way.
• In a large way superheroes represent real life in the professions of servicemen, from police officers to firefighters and even doctors •A life without superheroes is no fun, they give us all a little hope for a better world. •Children try to imitate superheroes, but the positive side to superhero play is that it encourages creative thinking and expression.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Most boys and girls have admired a superhero at some point during their childhood. Indeed, superheroes are everywhere; in comic books, cartoons, major movies, videogames and on the packages of the food our children eat. They save the planet and make our world a safer place. Or do they? Superheroes made it to the press last week when a study conducted with 674 boys, aged 4 to 18, revealed these boys are primarily exposed to two main male role models; the slacker and the aggressive superhero. The lead researcher, Professor Sharon Lamb of the University of Massachusetts, believes today’s superhero is different from those of the past who had humane, vulnerable sides. “Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. When not in superhero costume, these men exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.” - Professor Sharon Lamb Reading this makes me think of Tony Stark in the hit movie series Iron Man (the first of which grossed over $585M worldwide, while the second surpassed that at over $621M). He embodies aggression, sarcasm, narcissism and hypermasculinity Perhaps today’s superheroes are simply amped up versions of those of yesteryear. Perhaps they simply mirror the aggression and hypermasculinity of today. Are they enough to make our boys (and a few of our girls) angry, aggressive and chauvinistic? The answer may lie in the impact superheroes have on our children’s lives. Many of our boys imitate the moves of their favorite superhero. I recall hearing the story of my uncle’s failed attempt to fly, after he jumped off a balcony, wearing little more than a sheet for a cape. Many child health professionals are concerned over superhero play, its safety and its consequences. But the positive side to superhero play is that it encourages creative thinking and expression. As caregivers, we can make the most out of superheroes’ influence by ensuring that our children’s superhero play is supervised, that aggression is not allowed, that viewing aggressive superhero shows be limited, that discussion takes place, inclusive of the values that are desirable in the characters. We can...