Friday, December 19, 2008

Roger Bissell: "Be Your Own Hero"

 Musician and psychologist Roger Bissell has an essay entitled "Be Your Own Hero," which I originally read on the Rebirth of Reason forum. It's a good read. You can read it in full here. 

 The theme of the essay revolves around gender relations, and how women traditionally see men as "my hero," and are let-down when their "knight in shining armor "fails to arrive." Here are some of the tasty bits to chew on:

When Objectivist women express their disappointment and/or anger that the Objectivist men of their acquaintance are not being heroes (“where are the heroes?”)...[t]hey are judging those men for not “coming through for them” as champions and defenders – and thus revealing instead their sexism, male chauvinism, insensitivity, etc. 

I think the antidote for this is a good dose of Kahlil Gibran (“I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, nor you to mine” – or those approximate words.)  

That’s a lesson we should all take to heart. Be your own hero, and stop expecting others to do the job of defending you and championing your values. And above all, stop berating them because they haven’t picked up the yoke on your behalf. 

If someone actually does ride in on a white horse and kills a dragon or two for you, by all means express your gratitude. But also be prudent enough to regard him with a cocked eyebrow and a mind focused on discerning an important factor: did he defend you as part of his wider self-interest, or was it part of a felt obligation to “save” you?  

This part is probably my favorite:

But a real hero doesn’t want a simpering, clinging little weakling draping herself on him or throwing herself at his feet. He wants a real heroine, a woman of achievement and character, who yet swoons with anticipated ecstasy at the sight of a metaphysically potent male. Now, that’s a victory for a man, to have that kind of effect on that great a woman!  


Mike Vardoulis said...

That last bit is perrrrfect, Joe! A woman of achievement and character will get a real hero!

Joe Maurone said...

Heh, you know Eartha Kitt wouldn't have had it any other way, rest her soul.

Joe Maurone said...

As they say..."sisters are doing it for themselves...".