Who Are the Real Action Heroes?

I saw a much-shared Facebook post recently lamenting the fact there aren’t more female action figures. The post went on to criticize Disney because most of their female figures were Princesses and not Superheroes.

The premise, I guess, is that little girls need to be able to identify with brawn in order to accomplish great things.

I respectfully disagree.

I personally knew a woman who rerouted a freeway. She wanted to save a legendary tree in her town, so she used her brains to convince authorities to redesign the route around it.

I’ve written about a historically famous woman in the town I grew up in who stopped a speeding train. She didn’t have the best of motives, but she was able to stop the train without anyone getting hurt.

We all know Rosa Parks founded a movement by not rising from her seat on a bus. Before her, Florence Nightingale defied tradition, tended wounded in the Crimean War right on the battlefield, and founded the nursing profession.

The list is endless and every one of you can name a famous woman who is a superhero in her own right.

Women usually don’t fight hand-to-hand battles with super criminals. They outsmart them. Even modern Disney Princesses have been known to lead movements to make things better for their people. And scrolling through the Disney store’s action figures, they do offer a half dozen females based on films they’ve sponsored in addition to their princesses, some of whom have heroic characters.

If the person lamenting the lack of female action figures like Wonder Woman is advocating the development of a Susan B. Anthony figure, so be it. There are lots of females who founded movements that changed the world.

In our own communities we can all name locally famous women who started organizations to right a wrong, or solve a problem, or make their communities better. They didn’t do it by pounding their opponents into pulp. They did it by standing up for their ideas, repeating them, and winning advocates one by one.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Superman and Spiderman and Ironman, Captain America and Wolverine. I also like Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Storm. But if we’re looking for role models for little girls, and little boys, maybe we need action figures of women and men who changed the world for the better, using their heads, grim determination, and a lot of heart.

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