Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis




Superheroes have always been a large part of my world. For too many Halloweens than I’d care to admit, I donned the same pink Power Rangers costume. Watching the costumed heroes never failed to entertain and inspire me as they protected their city and often times the planet. When the Power Rangers were busy, the X-Men took their place alongside Superman and the Justice League. My Saturday morning cartoons were filled with a myriad of characters clothed in brightly colored spandex beating up evil monsters and caring for the innocent who couldn’t protect themselves. That's what I most loved and strived for, that selfless compassion and ability to help those in need.

Growing older did not dull my hero obsession; it merely changed with the heroes that were presented to me, though I continued to favor those who spoke for the voiceless and shielded the weak over seeking glory. These heroes, such as Dr. Seuss's Lorax and Marvel’s Spider-Man, were also far more complex than the Power Rangers of my childhood. With age also came the realization that I wasn’t the only one who loved these and other heroes for different reasons. Heroism became an increasingly amorphous concept for me, but I believe Bruce Meyer said it best when he wrote, “... the broadest statement that can be made about heroes is that they are emanations of what we value and what we find fascinating” (14). As the we of that continues to change, so too do the heroes of each new and varied society. Studying these differences in heroes can help scholars differentiate between regions and time periods.

Year of Submission



Women's and Gender Studies Program

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


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