Dawn LOFB Badge“Hero”, for having so few letters, is a really big word. An important word. One of those concepts like art – hard to define, but you know it when you see it. The people who brought down United Airlines flight 93 on 9/11 rather than let it crash into some building in Washington DC – right there, heroes, no question about it. No gray area there. You sacrifice your life for the greater good, you’re pretty much a hero, regardless of what else you’ve done. That’s heroism associated with a specific action. But there are other types of heroes, and each of us have our own definitions. When I started thinking about this month’s theme, I discovered that I haven’t had a real relationship with the word “hero” in the grand sense for some time.

I think I had heroes when I was a child. To be honest, I don’t remember who they were (but to be fair, I don’t remember much of my childhood). When I started pondering the issue, all I could come up with were Meg Murray from the Wrinkle in Time series and Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H. Can a fictional character be a hero? He or she can be the hero of a story, sure, but a person’s hero… my hero… I don’t think so. At least, not for me. Your mileage may vary.

I don’t know who my heroes are in the grand sense. But I know that I have role models. I recently wrote here that Amy Poehler is my hero, and that’s not untrue. She’s a woman who is similar enough to me that I recognize her life, but she’s achieved so much more than I ever will that I admire her immensely. She’s never saved another person’s life or endangered herself for someone else (that I’m aware of, at least – I mean, she could have, she’s Amy Fuckin’ Poehler), but she makes a difference in the world in a way that I wish I could. I think she’s either a really big role model or a minor hero for me.

Audrey Hepburn is another of my role models. A graceful, intelligent, beautiful woman who had a beautiful soul as well. On top of being a wonderful actress, she was a tireless ambassador for UNICEF later in her life. I wish I were that selfless. Joss Whedon, mastermind of Buffy, Angel, Firefly, and Avengers to name a few, writes spectacular dialog and fantastic, strong female characters and is an avowed feminist and all around bad-ass. He’s the type of person who inspires the people around him to say “yes” to whatever he’s asking of them before they even know what it is. I want to inspire people like that.

My role models are people who exhibit an aspect of myself that I would like to be more of, that I want to hit harder. Are those heroes? Maybe they are. Maybe it’s six of one, half a dozen of the other, and I’m just being angsty over semantics. Regardless, I think I need more heroes. Who are your heroes, or your role models, and can I borrow them for a while?

Dawn LOFB BadgeIn August, I found a Facebook page called A Mighty Girl, after a friend shared a link to a story about Mo’Ne Davis, the badass 13-year-old baseball pitcher who “became the first girl to pitch a shutout game in the 68-year history of the Little League World Series”. The post lists a number of her other accomplishments and goes on to offer suggestions of websites with more information. It was a hell of a lot more thorough and informative than most things I see on Facebook, so I clicked “like” and went on my merry way.

I’m glad I did.

A Mighty Girl now shows up in my news feed almost daily with a post about the Mighty Girl of the day. They can be anything from suffragettes to scientists to activists to kids raising money for charity or changing the way corporations view and depict women. I’m now exposed daily to stories about real people who made or are making a difference in the world, and it encourages me to get off my sorry ass and do something, to reach out, treat people better, be the change. The non-Facebook website is a resource for Mighty Girls and their parents. Full disclosure: I don’t have kids and don’t plan on having kids, but this feed is one fantastic source of people to look up to and emulate. If you’re looking for new and different heroes, this is a great place to go.

UOne little act can change someone’s day. It can change the way they see themselves, the world, and the people around them.

One little nice word can switch someone’s day from good to bad.

One little kind smile can keep someone from slipping into the realm of assholes and ruining everything for everyone ever.

It’s the holiday times, folks, and time for a PSA from ol’ Noa Geez.

DON’T BE A FUCKING DICK.

That’s right. Service people are here to help you, but not to wait on you hand and foot. They are working jobs that you didn’t hire them to do, so be fucking kind to them.

People driving in cars want the same thing that you do–to worship the idol of consumerism and spending. Remember that as you careen into another Prius that merged with you against your will. Be kind.

People in the mall, in stores, are just shopping–JUST LIKE YOU YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE. You can’t be mad at people for doing a thing if you are also doing the thing. Maybe they’re buying gifts for their mom’s last christmas, or for their baby’s first. Maybe that person is Jesus in disguise. OH UH OH WHAT NOW. Be goddamn kind.

Don’t be a dick, you guys. One nice thing changes the tide. One nice thing begets so many, and makes heroes of us all.

Be kind as shit.

 

UIt’s not easy to be a woman in entertainment–especially if you’re funny.

There’s a lot of weird stereotypes of funny women: that they’re inherently catty or slutty, that they’re ugly, that they’re lacking in self-esteem, that they just aren’t as funny as men. We get movies like Bridesmaids and criticism like, “funny for a chick movie!” and “not just a regular chick flick!” Worst of all, we see stereotypes like those on 2 Broke Girls, or, I shudder to type the name, Big Bang Theory.

Funny as to sell as being on the same level or identical to ‘men’s humor,’ has to be sexy in some way, has to be held to impossible standards of perfection.

In that, we lose a lot of what women’s lives and relationships are really like. Primarily because a lot of female-driven entertainment vehicles are written by men.

And then, you have Broad City.

Originally a web series that got picked up for sitcom, the show is written and performed by two friends, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. This show is my hero because it tells real stories of real 20-somethings, and it’s the funniest goddamn thing on TV right now. If you’re not watching it, you’re dead to me.

This show is perfect in how it shows the weirdness of life, the weirdness of friendship, and the weirdness of relationships. Sometimes it’s really ugly and strange, sometimes it’s fucking great and wonderful and everyone’s happy. Sometimes you fight, sometimes you wear a bangin’ dress to a party and everyone loves you.

These bitches made their own web series, it was so goddamn funny it was picked up by comedy central, it passes the fucking Bechdel Test, and…also have I mentioned it’s fucking hilarious? They dick-punched the glass ceiling, and I love it.

Broad City, Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer, you are my heroes.

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UDawn and I share similar heroes, which is no surprise because we both met through improv and also Dawn is the best and I am pretty fucking cool too.

Amy Poehler is the goddamn best and if you disagree then why are you here? Do you not like laughter and joy and awesome women? Are you a robot? If you are a robot will you contact me, please? I have some stuff that needs done.

I talk A LOT about improv, because it is legitimately the best thing I have ever done with my life, and Amy Poehler explains it better than I ever could.

A good team is important in improv, and it’s important in life. Don’t bail on your team. Don’t bail on your partner. Go in headfirst, and see what happens.

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