If you’ve stuck around this whole week, then you know that we have teamed up with Anne Chaconas (ABC) to do a series of posts and replies talking about antiheroes in literature and film, specifically the role (or lack thereof) of the female antihero, leading up to a BIG reveal tomorrow and two weeks of giveaways!
Today, in Antiheroes: The new heroes ABC argues that we need an antihero to root for. And as usual, she is NOT WRONG.
What we need is to be shown the way by those who have lived it previously, made the tough choices, taken the rockier roads. And perhaps not come out squeaky clean at the end. What we need is reality, as opposed to Photoshop.
What we need–what we all need–is an antihero.
What is the draw of them? Why an antihero and not a hero? I think because the world feels darker for so many, and we are drawn to the real, the gritty, the non-Disney, non-photoshopped protagonists who are NOT ALWAYS GOOD. They are bad, dark, angry, sometimes selfish, but they are redeemed by something. By brilliance or love or charm. And they often use that to do one strikingly unselfish thing that saves someone else. Because when a character you know is in it for himself really gives that up for someone else, that one act redeems all of humanity for all of us. Because then we know, if THEY can do it, so can WE! Because most of us won’t ever be Superman, but we can probably do as well or better than Severus Snape or Jay Gatsby.
And because, as ABC points out, the ‘heroes’ of our current world order leave much to be desired. If the Kim Kardashians of the world are the new standard of hero, if Honey Boo Boo is the new pop culture god, then the antihero HAS to be the new hero, because all of our heroes have fallen. Our antihero is Zorro. Our antihero is Robin Hood.
And I would say we specifically need a FEMALE antihero. Because we actually have lots of male antiheroes already, in television (Dexter, Walter White, Damon, the entire cast of The Originals, House, Sherlock), in literature (Jorg in The Prince of Thrones, Dr. Gideon Box in Bad Doctor, Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, Lucifer in Paradise Lost, Severus Snape in Harry Potter), in movies (Eric Draven in The Crow, Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man ((God bless Robert Downey Jr)), Sherlock ((Again, bless you, RDJ)) and so many other.)
In the lists I used to research antiheroes, I would say roughly 99% of them were male.
Where are our badass female antiheroes? Where are the women who have broken through the walls of life, torn up their skin, gotten dirty, and shown their flaws? Where are the non-photoshopped women who aren’t perfect, but are relatable? Who aren’t always good, but are redeemable?
This. THIS. Is what we need.
Because right now with the Kim Kardashians and Honey Boo Boos and Paris Hiltons, we have a cast of heroes who would have been the antiheroes in the paradigms of old. Or not even that, they wouldn’t have been ANYONE in the paradigms of old. But now they are. And they are whitewashed tombs that are photoshopped to a shine on the outside but are rotting on the inside, and are bringing that disease to our culture.
We need a Robyn Hood. A Zorra. A Dextora. (Okay, I’m just making shit up here now, but you get the idea, right?)
We need more counter-cultural antihero females to rise against the photoshopped, whitewashed newly risen gods of our modern era.
After all, well-behaved women seldom make history.
Tomorrow you’ll meet one. Are you ready to embrace her?