The new definition of hero

The new definition of hero

For the first time in years, I decided to buy a
Glamour magazine last week to read through. I was bored, I figured, why not? I’d stopped reading magazines like Glamour and Cosmopolitan because I had started to find them boring, cliched, shallow, vapid, and completely empty of anything that could remotely connote intelligence. Every issue to me seemed the same: clothes, make-up, hair, boys, sex, the caveats of being a housewife and/or having kids too early, and celebrities. Oh, and an occasional story about a “deep” topic, although they were all really the same topics being recycled over and over again: dealing with a death in the family, domestic abuse, rape, coming out, etc., etc., etc.

I don’t really know what compelled me to read the magazine, now that I think about it.

Anyways, this issue is the “Heroes” issue, apparently, just chock full of celebrities and us “ordinary people”, doing heroic things. So I checked it out.

The first section I came across was filled with celebrities, the first of which was Eve Ensler, notorious feminist and writer of the controversial play, The Vagina Monologues, which features women shouting the word “vagina” over and over and over again, as well as a scene in which a 24-year-old woman gets a 13-year-old girl drunk and then rapes her (the girl’s age was later changed to sixteen). The girl’s response is, “If it was rape, then it was a good rape. I’ll never need to depend on a man.” This play is somehow supposed to make all women everywhere erase the shame we supposedly associate with our vaginas, but I guess that’s another post for another day. Eve Ensler also has “crusaded” against domestic violence by saying we need to get rid of Valentine’s Day and re-name it V-Day, for Victory-Over-Violence Day (because, you know, Valentine’s Day is the number one cause of domestic abuse). I’m sure this will make me a woman who does not support the fight against domestic abuse, but that’s not the truth, and I know it, so oh well. Eve Ensler is a hero, and that’s that.

So, here is a sampling of the oh-so-heroic actions and quotes from our oh-so-heroic celebrities:

  • “My friend Dilyn, who wrote a love letter to her body after she gave birth. She decided to thank it instead of beating herself up for going back to her regular size.” – Actress Tracee Ellis Ross, on what woman inspires her most.

  • “I’m paying for my brother to go to college, and I have two godchildren I help support. They are family, so I’d automatically give them my time and energy, but now I can help them financially, too, which is really incredible.” – Actress Rosario Dawson, on the most heroic thing she’s ever done.

  • “Learning to be capable of intimacy with a man. I’m very brave, except in the area of emotional intimacy. I’m approaching 70, and I can finally say I’m breaking through those barriers.” – Hanoi Jane Fonda, on the most heroic thing she’s done lately.

  • “Speaking at today’s event. If all these powerful women are fighting on behalf of others, I will try to get over my fear of public speaking!” – Actress Marisa Tomei, also on the most heroic thing she’s done lately.

    Only in Hollyweird would helping your family financially when you strike it rich be considered heroic, or becoming emotionally intimate with a man once you hit your 60s, or overcoming stage fright. Helping your brother through college is incredibly generous and a great thing to do, but heroic? Not so much. Maybe just more… the decent and right thing to do. If I were to strike it rich, and had unlimited money at my disposal, you can bet your life that I’d be paying off all my parents’ bills and signing my not-yet-born sister up for Florida pre-paid tuition. It’s just what a decent, good person would do, but it doesn’t make you heroic.

    They also featured the following lovely interview with Pioneer Pelosi and her lovely daughter, Alexandra:

    Alexandra Pelosi: You’re my hero.
    Nancy Pelosi: Why, because I’m the first woman to be speaker of the House?
    AP: No, because you had five kids in six years. How did you get from our kitchen to Congress?
    NP: I never thought I’d run. But back in the 1980s, when my friend Sala Burton, a U.S. representative from California, was on her deathbed, she asked me to run for the seat.
    AP: Who are your heroes?
    NP: All the women who paved the way for me. I remember in 2001, I went to a leadership meeting at the White House. Of course, those meetings had always been men only. But I felt like there were ghosts in the room — Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Shirley Chisholm — women who had helped me get there.
    AP: I get tired just watching you in action.
    NP: Politics is a difficult line of work. But if I had one piece of advice for women, it is this: Just run. Run for student government, local office, higher office. Anything is possible.
    AP: So tell me, what gets you out of bed in the morning?
    NP: Chocolate ice cream for breakfast. That is just one of the reasons my grandkids love staying at my house.

    Now, for the “ordinary women”. While some of them could indeed be called heroic — like 22-year-old Jessica Gaulke, who gave up her beauty queen title to fight in Iraq as a Black Hawk gunner — some were just as disappointing.

    There were three girls who — gasp!! — left their sorority after 22 girls were taken off active status, which is obviously a heroic act. There was a girl who surfed a monster wave in Teahupoo, Tahiti. Then there was a girl who got pregnant in college, and — brace yourself — didn’t have an abortion or drop out of college! I know, that’s an unbelievable feat in liberal circles.

    But are those acts of heroism? Let’s see, by these standards, let me name some heroic actions I’ve taken in the past few days:

  • I overcame horrible pain, but bravely worked through it at my job as I waited for the aspirin to kick in, refusing to let the headache run my life.

  • I got mad at someone the other day, but held in my anger rather than letting it overtake my emotions, and eventually learned to forgive her for… well, whatever it is she did to make me mad.

  • I was selfless at Target the other day, thinking of my unborn sister instead of myself. So I bought her a “I love my big sister” bib and a Precious Moments plush doll.

    Man… if I keep this up, I could win the Nobel Prize!

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