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Heroes, Heroines and Celebrities

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Heroes, Heroines and Celebrities
Characteristics of Heroes and Heroines in Popular Culture
The characteristics of heroes in popular culture can differ from the usual defined traits of heroes. A hero is generally defined as a person who is brave, intelligent, strong, moralistic, a martyr, fearless in battle, a fighter for a cause or a combination of all of these factors (Defining Heroes and Villians in Literature, Pop Culture and Current Events). Moral examples also are also what describe someone as a hero or heroine, when their deeds exemplify courage and self-sacrifice.
Characteristics of Celebrities
Celebrities have notoriety for various reasons and circumstances. Celebrities can be persons who possess a prominent profile due to their professions, such as the entertainment field, or being a public figure, while others are sports figures, or may be known because of reality shows. Some are well known simply because they are wealthy, some are known because of their connections to others, while others are famous for just creating attention in the media. Very often celebrities are automatically stereotyped as being wealthy and living a glamorous life.
The Cult of Celebrity
People are undeniably obsessed with celebrities, and often follow their every move and statement made on Twitter, Facebook, tabloids and entertainment reporting site for example. Celebrity worship in some ways is a reflection of a need or desire for societies to elevate them to a mythical status and foster a sense that they are perfect, have extremely exciting lives and have ‘magical’ powers of a sort. The cult of the celebrity is a huge influence on people’s thinking and creates a sense of envy in people, to the point that they believe celebrity life has no negative sides to it. It is a held belief by some that people’s worshipping of celebrities even helps to encourage narcissism in celebrities. It is further believed that narcissism of celebrities becomes accepted in society and is actually viewed as just being confident and knowing one’s worth or value (Blakeley, 2012).
The Similarities and Differences Between Heroes and Celebrities
A person can be a celebrity but this does not tend to make them a hero, whereas a person can be a hero and may or may not hold the renowned fame that a celebrity does. As a rule a celebrity is someone famous for reasons that are not the same as the behavior of a hero. On the other hand there are celebrities who do heroic things, such as humanitarian deeds or support social programs that benefit others. To exemplify this distinction, here are a few examples:
• Angelina Jolie (and Brad Pitt) is a celebrity but she also directs the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, whose goal is to eliminate poverty, protect natural resources and conserve wildlife. She (they) donate money to Doctors Without Borders. Her (their) efforts are heroic in her quest to make changes in the world to benefit others who are less fortunate (Angelina Jolie-Charity Work, Events and Causes).
• Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (Dr. V.) and David Green. These two people use what they see as “compassionate capitalism” to give sight and hearing back to poor people in India and the United States. It is the belief of Dr. V. that we humans are not on this earth to get rich and that instead our purpose in life is to serve mankind. Neither are famous but they are indeed heroes to a multitude of people whose lives they have enriched (Meet the New Heroes).
Importance of Heroes in Society
Heroes are very important in society because they (should) inspire all people to give of themselves to make things better for others. A hero can be common, non-famous people who make a difference in society by their actions, such as soldiers, teachers, firemen, even parents who strive to raise their kids in a positive way. Heroism often creates more heroism, by being virtuous role models, which is another value their positions create in society. Heroes can eradicate cynicism by bringing out the best in people and inspiring them to lead more gratifying lives. By their selfless acts they exhibit and teach us lessons concerning love for our fellow man and highlight what is truly important in the world. Some celebrities are seen as heroes, such as an athlete who inspires young people to reach for the stars, or entrepreneurs who show by example what hard work can result in.
Conclusion
Our culture often reaches out for heroes and celebrities for inspiration, excitement, and guidance. Society admires celebrities and heroes for their accomplishments and in some ways may live vicariously through their lives. People can emulate the morals, courage and ethics of heroes in their attempts to become better people, and set good examples for others to follow. Sometimes in today’s culture, the words celebrity and heroes become interchanged with each other, but heroes as a rule are not seeking notoriety as celebrities often are. In the end the best way to define heroism is to comprehend that heroism ends up defining itself.

References
Angelina Jolie-Charity Work, Events and Causes. (n.d.). Retrieved from Look to the Stars: http://www.looktothestars.org/celebrity/angelina-jolie
Blakeley, J. (2012, October 12). The Cult of Celebrity, Narcissism & Paedophilia. Retrieved from deLiberation: http://www.deliberation.info/cult-of-celebrity-narcissism-paedophilia/
Defining Heroes and Villians in Literature, Pop Culture and Current Events. (n.d.). Retrieved from BookRags: http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/5/13/12226/3765/
Meet the New Heroes. (n.d.). Retrieved from The New Heroes: http://www.pbs.org/opb/thenewheroes/meet/green.html

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