Return of the heroes?

Heroes… Dominant figures of the spoken cultures for whom pledges are made, monuments are dedicated… In an era where nature was still the driving and dominant force, they had sacrifised themselves to save their people. Returning from warfront with pillage they were hailed as immortals by their own tribes.

The cult of heroes are relevant in modern cultures as well. In fact, the features attributed to the modern -male, brightened, powerful- bring the classical hero to mind. We want our heroes to bring us people together and be able to intimidate other nations, if needed.

However, just like ever, female heroes are hard to find. Unless they are the ideal candidates for marrying our heroes they have to settle for the secondary roles. Accordingly the children are represented to lack the necessary wisdom and strength to reach the point that is set for them. A dominant male character is essential when it comes to the stories of women and children. Maybe that is why a child’s hero is always his/her father.

However postmodernity offers a different set of rules. Women, children and the characters with various sexual orientations claim to be the heroes of their own stories now. Time is ready for them. The groups that are neglected in history are given their eminence back. However in the unhierarchical, pluralist world that postmodernity offers, the paths of the heroes are usually undetermined. We witness our classical heroes to collapse. Moreover we see a new type of hero emerging; a hero that leaks the dark secrets of the states. Before grasping their own statuses, which can either be a hero or a victim, this new kind collapses into a ‘has-been’ position and strikes back in unexpected situations. A hero is not a warrior but a confident mediator now. However, both snipers and emirs who command the most furious armies of the world can be declared as heroes as well. As Marvel moulds the female heroes’ bodies for the male gaze, women groups who encode nudity as a mean to reach for a more egalitarian society can be given the hero status, as well. Yesterday’s patriarchal families have already given their lead to the children. Yet, what kind of responsibilities does this type of heroism entail? Will they ever pay for their statuses? Do they have followers who are ready to give out everything for them? Or is it only them that benefit from their heroism? Will the hero ever return? Will s/he transform in an era where everybody is full of her/himself?

Akın Tek