Who’s The Hero?

Watch The Video…

Do the heroes look like you?  Thinking about and defining stereotypes…

Understanding the Language…

Read the Merriam-Webster page for a definition and examples of the following common terminology when it comes to talking about race and racism.

Activity #1: Who are your favorite superheroes or heroes?


  • Name a hero or superhero you like.
  • What do you like about this superhero?
  • Think about superheroes in general on TV or in movies: What roles do different ethnicities typically play?

Activity #2: Am I represented?

1. When I watch or read, there are heroic characters who look like me:

  • Always
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Almost never

2. When I watch or read, there are villains who look like me:

  • Always
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Almost never

3. When I watch or read, there are heroic characters match my gender expression:

  • Always
  • Often
  • Sometimes
  • Almost never

Reflect: What did you learn?

  • If white, most characters look like you, right?
  • If you’re not white, probably not, and many will have negative qualities, right?

Activity #3: Read This

➡️ Gender Differences in Movie Superheroes’ Roles, Appearances, and Violence

Key quotes:

“In the entire sample, 101 characters were White, 17 were Black, 4 were Latino, and 4 were Asian.”

“Although both genders frequently have special abilities and use weapons, male characters are more likely than female characters to have more than one special ability and use more than one weapon. Males more often had super strength and resistance to injury, while female characters more often were able to manipulate elements (e.g., fire). Males were significantly more likely to use fighting skills, fire/flame weapons, and guns than females.”

Superhero stereotypes can reinforce national identity, but also exclude those who don’t fit the dominant narrative

Mystique – technically no gender and can change at will but most often appears as a white woman.


Does this match your experience of superhero portrayals?

Did you know?

Superheroes portray stereotypes but can also be used to fight injustice in real life. For example, a 1940 Superman radio program revealed the secrets of the KKK and helped turn sentiment against them.

Activity #4: Reflect & write

  • Do you think diversity in media is important? Why/why not?
  • Why do you think certain groups are well represented and others are not?

Activity#5: The Rep test

Pick a film or TV episode and take this test to check how balanced representation is.

What did you learn? Write a brief reflection.


Excerpt from The Battle for Representation Starts in Childhood