Source: io9

Apparently today’s superhero role models just don’t measure up to the ones of yesteryear. According to a psychology professor, boys exposed to superhero stories are learning that men “exploit women” and don’t have “the virtue of doing good for humanity.”

The BBC says:

Professor Sharon Lamb surveyed 674 boys aged four to 18 to find out what they read and watched on TV and in films. With her team at the University of Massachusetts, she then analysed the types of male role models the boys were exposed to. It showed two main types of man – the aggressive superhero or the slacker who does not even try.

“There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday,” said Professor Lamb. “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 exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.”

Boys could look up to and learn from comic book heroes of the past because outside of their costumes, they were “real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities”.

Read more here

Superheroes of today are all muscle, colorful costumes and bad ass weapons. What is so wrong with that? Well, back in the day Batman and Robin didn’t use guns and they didn’t swear. Didn’t Superman of yore even save a cat from a tree? Try catching him doing that today. It would never happen.  Also, I agree with the BBC that male superheroes today are so caught up with their fancy machinery and menacing enemies, we never get to see them in day to day existence.

If you notice too, in these types of action films, the guns keep get bigger as the years progress and the violence has gotten more prevalent. I understand they need weapons to defeat they’re enemies, but the movies are usually all about the violence and techy gadgets. The males never show fear, pain, and emotion (well maybe Toby Macguire did in Spiderman, but less so in the second installment).

Superheroes today aren’t really role-models. They’re basically killing machines in flamboyant costumes, IMHO. However, this doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good superhero flick by any means.

What do  you think? Are superheroes bad role models?