Never Meet your Heroes

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

You know that saying "never meet your heroes" the one that is supposed to show you that we are all human and we all have flaws and that placing people on pedestals can only end in disappointment? I think we need to update it for 2018.

Social media is a wonderful tool, one that I genuinely enjoy using, it opens the world up way wider than I ever thought possible as a young girl who grew up with Encarta discs as my only "internet". It brings people together, and puts the world's knowledge at our fingertips, and even in our pockets-and it allows you a glimpse into the lives of your so called heroes. All of these things sound wonderful, until you realise that a person you have admired for years is not a person you could actually like in real life.

I could go on and on about the countless actors, bigwigs, and celebrities who for whatever reason have attracted admiration only to turn out to be the absolute worst kinds of people- in fact I'll mention the fact that I went to college and university chasing a dream based on the job of a man who turned out to not just be a dick, but also an actual, bona fide, (and later, convicted) sexual predator-it leaves a horrible taste in the mouth, and genuinely left me hating the idea of following in his footsteps. But this post isn't about the insidiousness of predatory men, or the systems that allow them to perpetuate their crimes. This is about following someone on twitter, and admiring their work, and being grateful to them only to find that you disagree so fundamentally on the things that mean the most to you.

It is well known to anyone who knows me, reads, this blog, or even someone who has just glimpsed at my header that I am a huge fan of Harry Potter. Those stories reignited my love for reading, when I was at an age where football and boys were at the forefront of my mind. They are a warm blanket that makes me feel safe when I flick through the pages of whatever version of the book I've picked up that day. Harry Potter is home, and for a long time J.K Rowling was a hero to me. She created this amazing world where so many of us feel welcome, she has done more for childhood reading than any other person I can think off, and I adored her. I even met her once, I was friends with a member of her family and she joined us for dinner- she was pleasant, funny, and whip smart, and only too happy to sign the copy of Goblet of Fire I carried everywhere with me at the time. I met my hero and I was not disappointed, it was a miracle!

But now, now I've watched as it has become very clear that the woman who created the world I love, doesn't have the same view of how to make the world we share, a place that everybody can love. The real world is not safe for everybody, it is not somewhere where we always feel welcomed, and it is full of people with differing opinions.

Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, their own politics, and their own lives. But everyone is also entitled to not associate with people or follow people, or fund the millionaire lifestyle's of people with whom they wholeheartedly disagree with.

Be it a disagreement over the support of abusers, the public (some might say influential) backing of of one side in a referendum- the outcome of which would affect millions, or the use of or agreement with, disparaging, transphobic tweets, and countless examples of cultural appropriation and disregard for people who call it out.  These are not the actions of someone I am willing to continue to call a hero.

I think if you have a voice its is important to use it, use it to elevate those without a voice, use it to be heard, and use it to change the world. But heroes are personal- and my heroes use their voice for the greater good, they use their platforms to inform, and to spread love and light. My heroes will no longer be people who who throw their money and influence around in a selfish manner. My heroes will no longer be people who hide behind "I'm sorry if you were offended..." publicist written apologies, and they will no longer be people who do not use the platform they have been given to make a difference.

I will always be grateful to J.K Rowling for giving me a world where I can retreat away from this one, I will always be thankful to all of the people I have admired in the past who I may look at differently at now-because the fact of the matter is that at some point they have given me something to believe in, something to be passionate about. But it has come to the point now where I will not continue to follow them, admire them, or fund their millionaire lifestyle with the money I work my ass off for.

And as much as I've mentioned her in this post this is not all just aimed at J.K. Rowling, I feel this way about so many people I used to admire-that man who made me passionate about PR was a scumbag, the man who created my favourite show of all time turned out to be just another jackass who used his power to make women feel uncomfortable or unwanted, the list goes on and on. So many people say you should "separate the art from the artist" but I can't agree with that, I just can't. I could try to explain that further but I'll never be able to articulate it as well as the indomitable Laura Jane Williams did in this piece so I'll leave you with her

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