Shrinks Slap Supes
Psychologists at the 118th Annual Convention of the American Psychology Association have come out against superhero role models being marketed to young males. Indian television reports: “Psychologist Sharon Lamb says, “There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday.
“Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. When not in superhero costume, these men, like Ironman, exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns. “
The comic book heroes of the past did fight criminals. “But these were heroes boys could look up to and learn from because outside of their costumes, they were real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities” she said.
To understand how the media and marketers package masculinity to boys, Lamb surveyed 674 boys aged 4 to 18, walked through malls and talked to sales clerks and came to understand what boys were reading and watching on television and at the movies.
Lamb and her co-authors found that marketers take advantage of boys’ need to forge their identity in adolescence and sell them a narrow version of masculinity. They can either be a “player” or a “slacker” – the guy who never even tries – to save face.
Lamb adds, “In today’s media, superheroes and slackers are the only two options boys have.
“Boys are told, if you can’t be a superhero, you can always be a slacker. Slackers are funny, but slackers are not what boys should strive to be; slackers don’t like school and they shirk responsibility. We wonder if the messages boys get about saving face through glorified slacking could be affecting their performance in school”