noun: hero; plural noun: heroes; noun: hero sandwich; plural noun: hero sandwiches
1. a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. “a war hero”
synonyms: brave man, champion, man of courage, great man, man of the hour, conquering hero, victor, winner, conqueror, lionhearted, warrior, paladin, knight, white hat;
Who is your hero?
Perhaps the mistake was to Google the definition of ‘Hero’; to say I am a little disappointed with the misogynistic result is an understatement. Surely we have moved on culturally past the small-minded limitation of regarding a hero to be only a man? I believe we have numerous ‘women of honour’, ‘women of the hour’; brave women and so on.
To me a local woman called Adele Bellis is a hero. Viciously attacked by an ex-boyfriend who paid a low-life to throw acid over her face while waiting at a bus stop, Adele has overcome so many life-changing hurdles; she speaks for other victims of abusive relationships and demonstrates to young women in our community that you can overcome scars and remain beautiful.
Vera Rubin was a hero, pioneering space exploration for women; becoming the first woman permitted to observe at the Palomar Observatory. A strong role model for other women determined to be scientists, proving to her generation that you can be female, brainy and successful while still getting respect and a husband!
Mo Mowlam was a hero. In government she pioneered what others (men) failed, to achieve – peace with Northern Ireland with the signing of the Good Friday Peace Agreement in 1998. She battled a brain tumour, but rather than retreating from public life when the press started printing patronising jibes about her appearance; she overcame them by dealing with her illness with great dignity.
There are numerous other examples of courageous, heroic women throughout history – Florence Nightingale; Edith Cavell; Eleanor Roosevelt; Susan B Anthony; Emily Pankhurst; Amelia Earhart; to name only a few.
What makes a hero? A person who is able to overcome adversity, sets a good example to others, a person who campaigns on behalf of others to improve everyone’s quality of life. It takes great courage to achieve those things as well as self-belief, without belief in yourself you are unlikely to convince or inspire others.
Does a hero have to be human? No. During a time when I was losing confidence and struggling to be the person I want to be as a professional because I was having difficulty working with a colleague, a friend once gave me advice to be the person my dog believes me to be. When I think about my dog Meg I am inspired by her – she was very badly treated before I adopted her and I have watched as she has overcome her fear of people and other dogs and shadows. I have watched her recover from cancer, learning to eat again after part of her jaw was removed. She certainly inspires me to be the person she believes me to be when I am interacting with other humans. To me, Meg is my hero.