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Arrow And The Flash Essay

Many people want to be a hero to someone or themselves, either by using the law rightfully or going above the law. Through character and plot, the television superhero shows Arrow and the Flash influence adolescent viewers and their behavior in society. These television (TV) shows can be positive and negative influences on a young viewer’s life who want to become their own superhero. The alternative universe displays influences of our own reality as the women are treated differently and men of color are pushed to the sidelines while the male protagonists achieve their own goals for their city hroughout the television shows.

The way these characters are depicted in the TV shows affects the way young viewers think of themselves, how they choose their role models based on superheroes and how they interact with society. Superhero shows provide an alternative universe where characters act out their identity differently from reality and the dystopian setting opens possibilities for characters to develop qualities or identities that would not be able to happen or exist in our reality.

In the TV show, Arrow, Oliver Queen tries to get rid of crime and corruption in his city that displays a common heme found in this type of character which is often referred to as a vigilante that seek personal justice to right a wrong, people “who takes the law into his or her own hands without permission from legal or governmental authority,” (Marazi 69). As such, Oliver Queen as the vigilante Arrow coerces a corrupt leader to confess in the murder of a woman when he realizes an innocent man is being framed, (“An Innocent Man” Arrow).

During workout montages of Oliver, young viewers are given an idea of how males are supposed look with defined muscles and large chests which lead to “many adolescent males think[ing] hey are underweight” (Anderson 110). The Huntress is a female vigilante in the show seeking personal justice and a vendetta after her father showcasing that women are their own strength and able to seek for justice but that women are also power hungry as the Huntress does everything in her power to get revenge on her father. This character archetype influences viewers who want personal satisfaction when a crime is committed against them.

A 14-year-old girl in London accused a man of rape and “after police released the man based on insufficient evidence to charge him, the girl allegedly went to the ttacker’s apartment and stabbed him to death,” (Juliano 57), proving that real people will go out of their way to seek justice when an authority figure cannot much like the vigilantes in TV shows. This establishes that vigilantism is more than a symbol for justice but also a symbol of need. Moreover, superheroes such as the Flash work within the law and even team up with local police to help diminish crime activities in their alternate reality.

Barry Allen, from the TV show The Flash, gains the superhuman ability of extraordinary speed that he utilizes to olve a crime, unlike the Arrow that trains to be great at archery. In the episode “Power Outage”, Barry loses his power of speed and can stop another superhuman from terrorizing the city with the help of his team, Cisco and Caitlin (“Power Outage” The Flash), proving that viewers do not need superhuman abilities to solve their problems the right way with the law. The Flash is viewed as an invincible hero and nothing can harm him, a stereotype most commonly found in superheroes.

However, Barry is often seeking the advice of his mentor, Harrison Wells, and his adoptive father and police detective, Joe West, that reminds [the viewers] that heroes are not born but made, and like the rest of us require nurturing and guidance,” (Rubin 416), proving that young viewers are able to overcome obstacles by through the guidance of these heroes. Young male viewers are “attracted to characters by physical strength, violence, activity, and supernatural powers” (Anderson 110) such as Oliver and Barry which leads viewers to want to attain those qualities.

Heroism provides adolescents with a solution to solve their problems and realizing that asking for help is not a moment of weakness. Furthermore, the women of the TV shows play a significant role in helping the lead protagonists whenever they need help either technically or medically. The love interest of Oliver Queen, Felicity Smoak is an intelligent woman that has been building computers since she was seven (“The Odyssey” Arrow) and later in the TV series, the Arrow, explains she graduated from M.

I. T. and had exper would digitally deface criminals and expose government actions to the public. Caitlin Snow, from the Flash, is a bio-engineer that is often seen giving Barry medical attention whenever he is hurt nd helping create cures for illnesses. Both women are highly qualified for their jobs, giving the viewers a refreshing perspective of women in the work field but the characters are often left alone in their lab and away from harm, keeping the characters in a restricting box.

One characteristic that is more noticeable than others and common in Felicity and Caitlin is their maternal qualities when scolding Oliver and Barry, respectively, when they are doing something wrong, hence allowing the viewers to think that women can be intelligent and helpful but need to be protected and out of harm’s way. In contrast, the love interest of Barry Allen, Iris West, is a woman of color that has ambitious and leadership qualities establishing that women in general and women of color can be respected and achieve success through diversity in these TV shows.

However, even though Iris as a high achiever places herself in danger when completing her job as a journalist, puts her character in the damsel in distress stereotype as Barry often ced vigilantism when she created a virus that saves her when she is in trouble. This establishes to the viewer that women are always going to need a man supporting her in imes of need, which negatively affects female viewers and their own self-esteem as some female adolescents struggle with their problems of being restricted in leadership roles along with meeting certain physical attributes.

The superhero’s costume functions to emblematize the character’s identity” (Scott 155) which gives the viewer the ability to recognize the alter ego being played but also understand that what the superhero is wearing is what is needed to be perceived as super by other. A secondary love interest for Oliver Queen is Laurel Lance, a awyer that defends the underrepresented in her community who becomes Black Canary, who wears a revealing and tight black leather outfit when she joins the Arrow’s cause.

While Laurel’s character allows women to be perceived as trustworthy and logical through the profession of law, her outfit as a vigilante pushes young women to believe that they should reveal aspects of their body society finds attractive; “social comparison processes could lead to dissatisfaction with oneself,” (Anderson 108). Killer Frost, the doppelganger of Caitlin Snow, features a black corset under a leather jacket which rovides young female viewers with “images of thin women… that are unrealistic, especially for females” (Anderson 110).

These television shows highlight that even though women can be smart and helpful, women should either be protected or wear revealing and thinning clothes to accentuate their curves. Many TV shows are becoming more diverse in the casting of characters which allows minorities to view themselves on the big screen but the treatment of these characters also views the minority as less. “Superhero representation have expanded to consider whether creator and audience demographics are epresentative, and which superheroes are privileged or marginalized in media” (Kirkpatrick et al 122).

John Diggle, an African American man on the show Arrow, is Oliver’s sidekick and bodyguard ready whenever Oliver needs him. John is a respectable military man proving that men of color can be respected by others but when John has the opportunity to settle his vendetta with his brother’s killer, Oliver makes an executive decision to help Laurel instead (““Home Invasion” Arrow). Which gives young viewers of color the pretense that their opinions and cause does not matter to the majority.

However, John erves as a “social symbols that represent the intersection of race, science, speculative fiction, black culture, and … as ideological place-holders for … expressions of black racial identity and black futurism” (Nama 136). In the Flash, Cisco Ramon is a Hispanic inventor and successful scientist which brings diversity to the show and recognizes that people of color and of Hispanic backgrounds are intelligent and can offer insights in scientific communities.

However, Cisco is always a source of concern to Barry, since his character is depicted as sensitive and weak when put on the battlefield. This depiction is opposite of the macho-man stereotype Hispanic males grow up with and can push them away from scientific professions so they do not appear weak to others. The representation of people of color in these superhero shows through lead characters of Iris West, John Diggle, and Cisco Ramon provides young viewers of color with role models of what they see in reality and allows them to view themselves and strong leaders in society.

After Arrow and Flash save the day, they emphasize that helping people is what makes their lives fulfilling. The adolescents that iew these superhero television shows “are more likely to identify with its characters and subsequently to choose these media figures as role models” (Anderson 109). These viewers tend to want to become more like these heroes who serve as a role model to help others and be filled with compassion that is “a vital path to releasing the human mind from the effects of harmful negative emotions” (Mongrain et al 963).

Teens who are interested in a topic are likely to select television programs about that topic, and they are likely to admire the people who exemplify excellence” (Anderson 116) in superhero television hows since they offer insight about the real world, even though superheroes are part of an alternative reality that is influenced by society in our reality, which makes the viewers more likely to choose heroes or vigilantes as their role models to achieve personal satisfaction and follow their perspective on life to deal with their own problems in society.

The characters of the superhero television shows Arrow and the Flash depict women and men color with strength and resourceful qualities but their stories are dulled by the main protagonist solving their problems. These depictions lead young female and people of color viewers to perceive themselves as useful but not important in society which causes them to interact and behave differently with others.

While these characters have many positive qualities, they are shoved into stereotypical and archetypical boxes that reduces their worth to the viewers. The female characters provide strong examples of women towards young viewers but is followed up with a reason why the female character should be put in a corner. The characters of color have noble intentions and are respected but pushed to the sidelines when their cause gets show time by the male protagonists.

Thus, while these characters do provide positive and influential examples to adolescent viewers, the characters have easily definable qualities that can negatively affect the viewers. As such, young viewers can follow either the vigilantism or heroism route since they are impressionable by huge media figures. This suggests that directors and creators of superhero television shows should diversify their cast with a purpose to express that women and minorities can and are important to society.

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