Heroines Multitask; Heroes Show Off

An article in Psychology Today urges us to think about heroism. "One of the major requirements for heroism seems to be a willingness to face physical danger," writes Kathleen McGowan. Studies show that women find risky acts of daring very appealing in a man, which might be one reason why dudes do stuff like that. But studies also show that men also find "valiant behavior" attractive in females. The difference? While men tend to commit to in-your-face, overt acts of heroics, women lean toward "private" and empathy-fueled (though no less death-defying) risks. McGowan notes that mostly females harbored Jews during the Nazi occupation, for instance, and women like Harriet Tubman and Mother Theresa prove that female heroics may not be flamboyant, but they are still risky — and no less inspiring.

In fact, to be quite honest, I had a moment recently when I was walking the dog, picking up the mail, talking on the phone and balancing a large beverage and toting a shopping bag when suddenly it hit me: My mom was a superhero. She did everything I was doing, with three kids, no cell phone and brownies in the oven. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, a hero has a thousand faces.

It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's a Girl? [Psychology Today]