(With all due respect and acknowledgment to DC comics and all those involved in the xmen franchise)
I confess I love the xmen and avenger movies. It’s true. I love the sheer escapism and the ability to forget, for a moment, the realities of life and enter a world of imagination and CGI. It is a well needed break.
However, it is always on the drive home that I find myself reflecting and thinking once again…
The problem I have with the likes of the X-men and the ‘mutants’ in this series of blockbusting movies is that people are clambering and cheering for ‘mutants’ and respecting their ability to fight and overcome the fear and rejection of the ‘normal’ world AND to go on and be admired and respected for being different.
Does this really happen though? Of course not!
Do you think a bald man in a wheelchair would be given the respect and dignity he deserves from the average person, by the government and by the world at large if he didn’t have the powers of mind control? No!
He would be unnoticed and certainly not regarded as a leader. However Charles Xavier is also the first hero we see in a wheelchair at all! How many presidents and leaders can you name with a disability?
The messages that I take away from such movies is that ‘different’ is only treated with a modicum of respect and dignity when it appears in a movie or as entertainment. But not in the everyday. Not in the real world. But it doesn’t have to be…
Even the actors can walk off and into a new role. But those of us who are different and challenged everyday, without the assistance of special powers, it’s a hard battle and a life long fight just to be accepted as ourselves let alone heroes.
More and more movies are emerging about different people and it is my hope that as people accept different characters and heroes. Ie vampires, aliens, mutants etc that the public minds and hearts will also expand to accept the real life differences within our own real worlds and realities.
Colour could become irrelevant. Sexuality would be respected. Diseases would no longer be a burden or embarassment. Differences could be regarded with respect and dignity and character and individuality would be our defining features. If the world chose to see this way and think this way.
Some of messages I like in such movies are that, in the case of the mutants, they were all encouraged to think beyond their appearance and mutation and to admire their own individual ‘gifts’ and their real personalities. To recognise and celebrate the real person inside. I think this is perhaps the most important and life affirming message to anyone and everyone out there who finds that they don’t meet within the usual and acceptable blueprint of what people deserve to be valued and celebrated. Our bodies are mere vessels for all our feelings, knowledge, experiences and abilities to reside; no matter what those vessels may look like.
Another wonderful message was the wonderful strength and solidarity that the xmen (and women) achieve by joining together. They each draw stength and stability from working together. Many such movies share these same themes so I am always asking the chronic world and the ‘fighters’ to remember this also. There is much more that can be gained from working together, connecting and supporting each other then can be achieved alone and in isolation.
We have much to gain from connecting, helping, supporting and encouraging each other even though we have our own paths and challenges. Strength can be found in our empathy and understanding.
There are a lot of messages and feelings that can be gained from a little trip to the movies, but the most valuable ones that I enjoy the most are those that teach me something and encourage me to think while being able to escape the everyday challenges of life.
I hope that one day we will all see the extraordinarily in each other’s differences and the strength from joining together and supporting each other.
Just as I have learned and valued from all of you…