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LEAVING A THUMBPRINT ON THE WORLD

young girls and the mothers and fathers who support the organization’s desire to have their daughters be in the company of strong, confident, winning athletes. And Teach for America challenges potential participants to be tough enough to do some real good: “Before you go to Harvard Business, Yale Law or Stanford Med, consider applying to a really tough school.” The ad concludes, “Take two years of your life to change a few kids’ lives forever. Not to mention your own.” Other ads identify the consumer as a Hero and offer props for the journey. An ad for beef, clearly aimed at the working mother, shows toy soldiers—every one of them female—in various contemporary female activities: running, doing laundry, going to work, shopping, and holding a baby. The copy reads, “Your kids need you. Your office needs you. Call in the reinforcements”—the reinforcements being the nutrients in beef. America’s pharmaceutical companies see themselves as conducting wars on disease. One ad reads, “Cancer. It’s a war. That’s why we’re developing 316 new weapons” (i.e., medicines, gene therapies, and “magic bullet” antibodies). Anything associated with liberation for women can be marketed as a heroic product, even tampons. An ad for Tampax (“The revolution continues”) reads, “It is a symbol of strength. Beauty. Resilience. Spirit. It is a representation of body. It is a frame of mind. It is progress. Advancement. Innovation. It is your sister, your mother, your daughter. It is woman. It is you.” Nike ads aimed at women often counter the cultural stereotype that heroism is for men only. The company’s famous campaign—“If you let me play”—attempted to influence not only women, but society at large, by pointing out that girls who are involved in athletic pursuits are much less likely to get pregnant, use drugs, etc. Another ad says, “Why are too many muscles manly? We were all born with muscles. They don’t belong exclusively on men, any more than skin belongs exclusively on women. Isn’t it possible for femininity and physical power to coexist? Isn’t it possible that the more we embrace our bodies, the more womanly we become? Embrace your body. And find out.” Of course, Nike apparel helps you do so. Whether for men or for women, the Hero archetype is associated with exacting standards, perseverance, and the ability to set bound-

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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