Create a hero – create a stereotype!
Louise Livesey // 3 March 2008
Some interesting reflections arise out of NBCs “Create a Hero” exercise. Perusing the results has got me thinking. For example, Week 1 asked about looks, nationality and location and created these results:
Birth Place: 43% The Americas (43%) 34% Europe (Asia and Africa far behind)
Current Locale: 52% The Americas 20% Europe (19.4%) (Africa and Asia far behind)
Appearance: 33% Rugged (33.2%) 27% Blends in 20% Gorgeous 19% Exotic (19.7%).
Body Type: 41% Large 38% Medium 15% Extra Large 6% Small
Birth Place: 39% Europe 28% The Americas 22% Asia 10% Africa
Current Locale: 47% The Americas 23% Europe 15% Africa 14% Asia
Appearance: 40% Exotic 32% Gorgeous 14% Blends in 14% Rugged
Body Type: 57% Medium 18% Large 17% Small (17.4%) 7% Extra Large (7.6%)
So the voters for this wanted an American man who was rugged and had a large body shape and an “exotic” European female with a medium body shape. And whereas 15% of the voters wanted the man to be “Extra Large” only 7% of them wanted that for the female character and, in fact, the “Small” body shape polled more than extra large for the women.
The rest of the four week voting patterns continues in the same vein – emphasising the traditionally feminine for the female and the masculine for the male. For example, when asked what the superpower should be the preferred option for the male character was greater physical speed and for the female the ability to affect the speed people (I am assuming “speed” was the networks theme for these characters. What is strange is that the only point where the writers didn’t stick with the vote was with the female character who’s “living in The Americas” has become “never left Europe” – obviously it’s harder to incorporate female geographical mobility!
Sadly the backstories then created to include these characteristics are also traditionally gendered – “Santiago” (the male character) is a Peruvian football star and a good catholic boy whilst “Audrey” (the female character) is looking after her sick mother and running the family business and being tempted to use her power for evil.
Ho hum – plus ca change I suppose…. NBC have one final trick – only one of the characters can enter the programme so now it’s a battle of the sexes – follow the link if you want to vote.
Here’s my prediction – football, catholicism and rugged looks will win out.