A Classic Study in Narcissism
A narcissist is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power and prestige. A narcissist complex typically leads to a Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). As defined by the NPD, narcissism is usually linked to a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.
My goal as a writer is not to identify and attempt to offer a solution to the many individuals suffering with this disease. Rather, I tend to focus on this issue and apply it to particular television shows I have grown up with. Sound strange? Good, that’s the whole point. Plus it’s really, really entertaining to analyze things that are not meant to be scrutinized under a microscope.
In regards to my focus on narcissism, I can find no one better to fit the bill than a character who has self-proclaimed himself, “The most powerful man in the universe”. For those of you who don’t know, I am talking about He-Man and his ‘Masters of the Universe’ television program from the 1980s. The television writers may have you believe that He-Man is fighting for democracy in his homeland (the fictional planet of Eternia), but in reality, he is a closet narcissist (and a bit of a fancy boy if you ask me).
Though He-Man doesn’t display every personality trait/tendency typically associated with NPD, his actions are quite troubling. First off, his clothing attire is mind-boggling. He-Man wears some sort of shorts concoction around his midsection, while his top half is covered by a very flimsy looking breastplate. In my understanding of it all, He-Man desires very minimal clothing in order to accentuate his overly-produced (chemically assisted?) masculine features. His choice in attire clearly identifies a complex. Instead of properly protecting himself during battle (from swords, arrows and magic), He-Man desires (demands?) to be the centre of attention. How else can you explain that mostly every other warrior in the program episodes wears proper battle gear (or some sort of attire that helps to protect the body?) Just compare He-Man’s wardrobe with Man-At-Arms, one of his loyal sidekicks, and you will see the light. You know, just because he believes that he is the most powerful man in the world doesn’t mean he should dress like he knows it. Strike one.
I have noticed that He-Man always has to be the hero. In fact he craves the spotlight, and this is readily apparent because every time he accomplishes a task, he feels the need to call attention to it. Case in point-in one particular episode I was watching entitled The Deflection, He-Man and his friends are attempting to find Gorgon, one of the many evil creatures that inhabit Eternia. When Gorgon blocks all of He-Man’s entrance ways, he believes that he is safe from apprehension. Gorgon’s arrogance is only overshadowed by He-Man’s insatiable lust for himself and his abilities. In one instant, He-Man bashes a wall down with his fist, and then in a cocky gesture (waving his hand forward as to say, ‘Was there ever any doubt?’) ushers his non-believing friends through the wall. In another instant from the same episode, He-Man destroys a door made up of steel (of steel!) with one punch and one dose of overt egotism. There is no suppressing the inflated self-image of this ‘so-called hero’. Strike Two.
For those of you who don’t know, He-Man is the alter-ego for Prince Adam (He-Man’s real name). An alter-ego is usually created as a result of a person’s insecurity with their own identity. So what better way to identify the love you have for yourself than to create a persona that identifies you as the most powerful man in the universe? In keeping with this, why even have a team of warriors? If you are who you say you are, then a team is unnecessary. This again goes back to the idea that He-Man needs an audience to congratulate him when he succeeds. I think my friends would get very tired of me if I constantly said I was the best at everything.
So, my question is this…if he is the most powerful man in the universe, why can’t he just bring freedom to Eternia? Well, the answer is quite clear, my friends. If he did that then there would be no other way to show off his amazing physical features. His high in life comes from situations that seem impossible to endure. When his sidekicks are at a loss of what to do, he always steps in and solves the situation. His goal is not to merely answer the problem emphatically through the use of violence, but rather to receive positive reinforcement/ acknowledgement from his peers. He needs the attention because his ego demands it. His deep insecurities are readily apparent as a result of his whorish ways. In a sense, he is an exhibitionist.
He-Man may want the best for his land, but at what price? Is he still a hero when his motives are self-congratulatory? Even his name, He-Man, is a very narcissistic man’s man sort of name. Why can’t his name be Kenneth or Julian? It’s because those names are too common. He needs to stand out, and as a result, his narcissism accelerates to the surface. So, who is the real enemy here? He-Man’s foes or himself?
You may have fooled me as a child, He-Man, but as I have aged I have seen the errors of your ways. You are a juice-head who cares only about the perfection of his own body (oh, and to constantly proclaim to your friends that you are the most powerful man in the world). Someone really needs to knock this guy off his high horse. Go take another steroid, jerk! Strike three, you’re out.