Sunday’s Wisdom #51: Heroism is a Choice

“I’ve seen giants. Up close. And the privilege cost me nearly everything. But the good ones, the real deal, they’re not heroes because of what they have that we don’t, it’s what they do with it.”
– Phil Coulson, Agents of Shield
Season 1, Episode 1, “Pilot”

I recently came across an article that basically argued against female superheroes. It was an interesting read, and had some valid points, but ultimately, I think the author misunderstood something vital. She – yes, it was a woman making this argument – started out her argument based on the fact that superheroes are strong, as in, they have greater physical strength and prowess than normal people, like Superman and Thor, and this is what made them a hero.

That is simply not true.

Just look at every super villain ever. They have capabilities others lack, but they are not heroes. Meanwhile, Batman is one of the greatest heroes ever, but he doesn’t have superpowers. There are other super people strewn across fictional worlds who don’t really do anything with them, just living normal lives. In our own real-life world, normal people do heroic things every day, either by devoting their lives to such as a soldier, a police officer, a fireman, a paremedic, etc., or just by stepping up when the situation requires.

In every example, it’s not, it’s absolutely not, what someone is capable of that defines them as a hero, a villain, or anything else. It’s what they do with those capabilities, their choices, that define who and what they are.

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