05/01/2015

Lowering the pedestal

by  Rogin Losa
Art by Elle Shivers
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Everyone has their own hero. We all have someone to look up to, someone who guides us, sometimes even going as far as molding their life around this person. It’s only natural to put someone on a high pedestal and shower them with the adoration we think they deserve. This someone could be our mom or dad, a teacher we once had, your local celebrity, or maybe one of earth’s mightiest heroes. We can’t deny our love for them. From the heroes themselves to the ones that play them, the Avengers mania hits us one way or another. You could be the kind who lives and breathes all Avengers/Marvel content or the kind who just enjoys the cinematic universe and doesn’t even know that’s what it’s called in the first place. Love is love whatever the lengths are, although some do go the extra mile. It’s natural to shower someone with adoration and bestow upon them the title of “my hero.” But would adoration this big cloud a fan’s judgment to think that their hero could do no wrong? That this pedestal they have placed them upon is so high that even faults can’t reach them?

It’s natural to shower someone with adoration and bestow upon them the title of “my hero.” But would adoration this big cloud a fan’s judgment to think that their hero could do no wrong?

Heroes rise and fall. If there’s anything that the hero’s journey teaches us, it is this simple fact. This goes for all people. A hero doesn’t have to wield a star-spangled shield or be a highly skilled marksman. One’s hero could be the ones that get paid to use the star-spangled shield or act as a highly skilled marksman — actor, in other words. They fall under the category of humans, too. Everyone knows that. Yet we tend to forget this simple fact. Maybe even associate them too much with the heroic characters they play. Avengers fans were suddenly put to the test in a Digital Spy video interview with Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner. In this interview, they were asked about their opinion on Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow) having Bruce Banner (The Hulk) as a romantic interest instead of Hawkeye or the Cap, which what most fans expected, basing these characters’ chemistry on past Marvel films. They jokingly responded like bitter suitors who’d been rejected. Renner called her a “slut.” Evans laughed and called her a “whore.” The interviewer also pointed out that it seems like whatever movie it is, she’s always on the side. They agree with this assessment rather than coming to the character’s defense. Renner continued and said, “She had a prosthetic leg anyway.” Evans ended their answer with “(Black Widow) leading everybody on.” Although they did this as a joke, it doesn’t make it less offensive and a lot of fans thought so as well, though some fans brushed it off. They view it as just a harmless joke or acknowledge their heroes’ faults and say, “My favorite problematic strikes again!”

Love your problematic, but never, ever forget the problematic part. Art by Elle Shivers.
Problematic faves: Fans of Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner were suddenly put to the test after watching their faves in a recent interview. Art by Elle Shivers.

Ignorance of what made their statement offensive is bad. Knowing why it is offensive and acknowledging it as though it was some quirk is way worse. This is what a “favorite problematic” is to some. It started out as a term to point out that some media sweethearts have views or opinions that are deemed problematic. It is a term to acknowledge that even your hero could sometimes be the villain of the story. But when given the chance, some use it to defend or deflect the offensive actions of a celebrity or rather their “fave.” There were loyal Renner and Evans fans that came to the actors’ defense even though they knew what their heroes did were offensive in the first place. The major defense varies in wording but not in context: “It was sexist and able-ist but they meant it as a joke.” Their defenses came in tweets and text posts like others who thought otherwise, regardless of their adoration. Both parties at this point acknowledge the fact that what the actors did was offensive — why would the other half still defend a lost cause? Blind admiration is why.

Defending someone you have invested a lot of emotion in is an expected reaction. But to blindly follow them even though it is blatantly clear that they are at fault is never a good sign.

Defending someone you have invested a lot of emotion in is an expected reaction. But to blindly follow them even though it is blatantly clear that they are at fault is never a good sign. The actors’ comments were meant to be lighthearted but it didn’t come out that way. It is offensive, derogatory even. It is hard to disassociate celebrities from the characters that they play at times, so when an incident like this happens, it’s a bit hard to digest. But celebrities can be as similar to their characters as they are different. This goes the same for people who place them on a high pedestal thinking that their heroes have no faults. Disappointing as it is, they’re still human and they make mistakes from time to time. Idolizing celebrities is fine — just don’t let your adoration cloud your logic. Pull a Romanoff and not be easily compromised in situations like this. Love your problematic, but never, ever forget the problematic part.

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