X-men and the Danger of Envy

From this blog post that analyzes how X-men teaches us about stereotypes:

If the ultimate goal of total mutant eradication running through the X-Men series evoked an unsettling mental parallel to the Holocaust, there’s a good reason why – and it’s not just the fact that sometimes-villain Magneto is a Holocaust survivor. Envy is the most dangerous emotional base for stereotypes; it fuses begrudging respect with intense dislike, which is a volatile, complex mix of emotions that can lead to passive admiration under nonthreatening social situations and violent attacks as soon as your surroundings become slightly unstable. In fact, envied groups are the most frequent targets of genocide and mass murder. People don’t necessarily want to eradicate the groups that they pity, or even the groups that make them angry – they want to eradicate the groups that make them jealous. 

Read the entire post (link above) and comment:

1. If mutants really existed in our world today, would you envy them? 

2. What are some real world parallels with the X-men? How does human psychology relate to prejudice and discrimination? 


7 thoughts on “X-men and the Danger of Envy

  1. I would envy or rather be in admiration for they would have abilities that exceed our normal capacity. Thus naturally, I think everyone without such abilities would somewhat look up to these X-Men. Yet it is likely for many to also develop a deep rooted hatred and disgust for such people for we are usually afraid of what we know little of, or cannot explain.

    The continuous political unrest amongst the middle-east states mirror the warped envy that one might feel for the X-Men if they ever do exist. In some states being envious of others that are richer in natural resources like oil, wars and political unrest have occurred. Causing it to be one of the most war-torn regions in the world.

  2. I really wanted to comment on this but I dont really know how to answer the second qn. So all i shall say is…

  3. I will not envy people with such powers such as displayed in the movies. As Spiderman’s uncle once stated: “with great power comes great responsibility”, and I believe this quote applies greatly to this issues. When one has superpowers, the expectations of him automatically become higher; he would be expected to protect and help more than others just because he has the ability to do so. The failure to do so would cause him to feel immense guilt, whether is it due to external pressure or from himself. Hence, I do not envy them because having such super powers come with a lot of responsibility and pressure.

    One parallel to the real world is the people who are extremely wealthy. The society would expect them to donate their money to help the poor; reporters are constantly on their backs, ready to publish any ugly doings they’ve done. Though it is not the case of prejudice and discrimination, they definitely come under a lot of stress and expectations.

  4. To be completely honest, I’ve always wanted some awesome power so if mutants really did exist, I would be like “DARNNN WHY NOT ME!” (or maybe I’d be one of them ^^) but what I would mostly feel would be admiration. It would depend on what the mutants used their power for though. For example, like Professor X, I really admire him. He truly wants to help and he controls his power so that he wouldn’t disrupt anything, only trying to achieve harmony. Even though Magneto wanted the “best” for his kind, he, however, strived for it in a different way, using his powers in ways that harmed people.

    This can actually be mirrored in leaders in our world, as well as Chengyu’s example about the rich. For example, leaders have “power”, not in the X-Men sense but yeah, you get what I mean. They desire the best for their country or their “kind” but might aim for it in different methods. Hitler can be a good parallel, in my own opinion, he had power and like Magneto who wanted to eliminate all humans to create a purely mutant race so there would be no more need for the acceptance that many mutants desperately seek, Hitler wanted to create a “pure” race, and he hence wanted to exterminate those he found “dirty”. Having power can be both a good or bad thing, depending on how you use it.

    I feel that the minds of humans has been morphed over the centuries into one that unconsciously WANTS. Even if they don’t show it, I am certain that everyone has something out of their reach that they desire, or has things that they dislike because of stereotypes that have been constructed and engraved into our minds. Prejudice, although not wholly prevalent (I hope), is a problematic issue because it is persistent in many societies. However, prejudice is just a mindset and discrimination is the act of showing your prejudice. I feel that prejudice, because it is almost a second nature, although not completely acceptable, has to be, in a way, be understood, as long as it remains in the mind and stays harmless. Once it crosses to discrimination, however, that is where the line should be drawn.

  5. From small, I have always envied those with higher power, or “greater beings” Who does’nt idolise them? Marvel superheroes were created as we humans are unable to obtain this extraordinary power, thus it is made to inject us with dreams of a parallel dimension. Being a mutant would be so “freaking awesome”, imagine having teleportation skills, or maybe the ability to shoot fire or ice…and many many more. These powers are so attractive yet it reamins so distant. I would certainly envy those with these mutant powers. Just like what was mentioned in the earlier post, the modern leaders of the world hold such power, even though its not as attractive. Leaders now hold the authority to manipualte the modern world through finance. Through their leadership, they can bring the country to glory or demise. However, having such power would require the same or more than required responsibility. If the mutants were to use their power for evil doings, then I would not envy them at all. Humans are constantly reaching for greater heights, meaning more power. Discrimination and prejudice is very prevalent in our world, as most people would not be able to accept something different. Difference between people will always invoke some emotions of unease.

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