Is Superman Unrelatable?July 2017
By Tina Murray
People say that Superman is unrelatable. I think when people say that, they are referring to his powers. Of course no one can relate to that but the human side is very much relatable. Feeling like an outsider. Not knowing where your place in the world will be? Who can't relate to that?
So many people these days are being raised by adopted parents, grandparents. I was raised by my grandparents and always felt a little lost. Clark Kent always blamed himself for his father's death in the "Smallville" TV series. I find that part very relatable. I feel somehow guilty and that inadvertently caused some of my late grandfather's strokes because, well, I was a wild and full of energy kid. My grandmother tells me that it was not my fault, but I can't shake the feeling of some of it being my fault.
The human side of Superman and the trials he goes through we all go through in some way or another. Whether it be being raised by someone else, feeling different or trying to find our place in this world, the Man of Steel has been through it.
So to say that Superman is unrelatable tells me you haven't read the comic books and really don't know the Superman inside of the outfit with the shield and cape. So to those who say he is not a relatable character I say this, pick up one of his comic books and read it. Dig deeper past the "S" shield and he just may surprise you.
You may find something relatable to big blue!
I have been asked many times how in the world do I find Superman relatable? I know I have talked about how he is relatable in general without specifics so here this goes. Bare with me here.
Superman was sent from a world where the technology and intelligence was far advanced from ours on earth. Kal-El would have loved the rest of his days as a normal kid but we know that is not how that turned out. Instead he was sent to Earth and was raised by good old country folk who gave him is morale and character. I'm sure ma Kent and pa Kent wondered the reason why he was sent there to live. Then Clark Kent growing up just wanted to be normal but everyday he was reminded he was abnormal. As a child he was just supposed to understand that he has powers and is also an alien. I imagine that is something he found hard to comprehend at times. Why? Because he was just a child.
I was not raised in an ideal situation either. My mother's parents where very intelligent. My late Grandmother was a college professor and my late Grandfather attended UMass. He later transferred to Yale where he finished his engineering degree. Later when I was about 3 years old my Dad moved with me to Alabama and I would be raised by his parents. Grandparents who were just good old country folk who had to drop out in Grammar School because they were poor and had to help pull their own weight. They worked hard all day long for everything gained. My Grandmother who raised me would always wonder why I couldn't be raised by the Grandparents who went to college and were educated. I wondered that myself and I quickly learned that my situation was not ideal. All I ever wanted was to be normal. I was always reminded everyday that my situation was not normal. Then I had a huge bomb dropped on me and was expected to understand it. Even though I was a child. I was expected to understand that my mother had schizophrenia. To understand everything that came with that diagnosis. That's something I just don't go around announcing to everyone. I was like Clark reminded everyday that my situation was not normal. That I was not normal. Normal people don't have a mentally ill mother. Normal people are raised by a mother and a father not by their grandparents.
But just like the Kents my grandparents were so loving and kind. They were exactly what I needed. Just like the good country Kents were exactly what Clark needed. Superman/Clark Kent helped me come to terms with that.
It's okay to be different. If anything we are lucky. Why? Because unlike some people we had four parents who loved us and cared for us. That made us stronger. Strong enough to share that strength with others in hopes of helping others. That is how I personally relate to Superman. He has also taught me that, "You are stronger than you think you are. Trust me." - Superman. That gives me some motivation to always keep going forward and that in my eyes Superman is, has and will always be relatable to me.