Heroes walk among us

Elle Sherman, Editor-in-Chief

Society has an unrealistic definition of a hero. 

“A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities. A war hero.” 

“The chief male character in a book, play or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize.” 

 “A person, especially a man, that you admire because of a particular quality or skill that they have.”

All of these definitions have something in common: gender dominance.

Heroes have long stood as ideals, as shining, “perfect” people seen on television or in the movies, and they’re usually men. The media wants us to admire people we have never met based on appearances and second-hand information. In this regard, the concept of a hero is irrelevant. It forces us to regard a false idea and to respect a celebrity or leader because of what they seem to be. When the word “hero” is mentioned, the word “famous” comes to mind. Society has made a mistake by teaching us that to be worthy of the title of “hero,” a person must be famous or male.

Far too often the term hero has been stereotypically associated with someone who gains recognition, support and substantial popularity. These defining characteristics are often misleading as the majority of heroic acts are seldom noticed, inadequately supported and rarely acknowledged. 

The real heroes are the teachers who provide students with an education and moral support. The school bus drivers who transport kids from here to there every day. The firefighters who showcase selflessness. The social workers who dedicate their lives to solving problems that aren’t their own. And those who fight for our country, exhibiting courage and sacrifice. 

Heroes walk among us whether we notice it as a society or not. They don’t need validation for their altruistic acts- they do what they believe is right no matter what. 

Gender shouldn’t factor into whether you’re a hero. Admiration for a celebrity shouldn’t be turned into heroism. You can’t tell whether a celebrity exhibits hero-like qualities based on their Instagram feed. Instead of honing in on social media and what we believe is “real,” as a society, we should focus on those who are dedicating their lives to make a difference within our communities.

Sometimes the most important heroes are the everyday people in our lives who go above and beyond, do what’s right even if it hurts them and are determined to fight to help people. Heroes walk among us.