What we can learn from the rise of the caped avenger.
The hero, it seems, will never die. From the ancient empire-creating adventures of Odysseus to the poetic quests of Sir Gawain, masterpieces that have truly stood the test of time have been tantalisingly heroic. Why? People like them.
Fast-forward a millennium or two and the narrative world is overrun with neon spandex and flying shields. Almost forty superhero blockbusters have been released since 2000. One has even made it into the top ten most popular movies of all time (according to the IMDb). Guardians of the Galaxyis already at 8.5 (at time of print) placing it on the same rung as Taxi Driver, American Beauty, even Citizen Kane. And this is a movie that features Bradley Cooper (two-time Oscar nominee) as a talking raccoon.
I saw her before she saw me. A proud affect but generous smile, a turquoise wrap, a blonde shoulder-cut: not too long (not too young). I could hear her admission in my head, spoken with a wink: There are certain things one must accept with age. From the blurred corner of my eye I could make out the bright red of her lips, the dark contour of well-made eyes. She paused at the table over my left shoulder, thanking the waiter like an old friend, the kind of woman who owned a dog, a small dog, a city dog as they say here.
If you didn’t have a chance to watch the live broadcast of the Oscars yesterday because you were, say, at work during the hours of 9-5 and didn’t have time to check twitter on your phone under the desk every five minutes, then you may still be catching up on all the huge news. Such as hilarious mispronounced-name gags and mortified ladies wearing identical outfits. You know, world-changing stuff.
In this modern age of open-mindedness, equality and freedom for all (cough), you would think that the ‘feminist movement’, that nasty concept with hairy-armpit connotations, should be well and truly behind us. It isn’t, of course. And it’s not just in the Middle East where having a vagina makes you a second-rate person, it’s sadly still a mindset that women the world over must tackle on a daily basis as they get sidelined in work promotions, condemned for choosing career over family, or leered at for wearing high heels. Yes, even after Hermione Grainger’s stirring UN address, the problem of gender discrimination persists.