Zuko: how the deconstruction of his masculinity made him a hero

Although the ideas of machismo have always been present, it has been until more recent years that it has become a quite controversial issue thanks to the social openness on the subject. Although it is true that sometimes there is a sin when judging stories or characters that were developed in a completely different time, we must recognize those productions that have sought the best path.

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It is true that it is only fiction, but the mass media have the power to reflect its social context and thus show some alternative to leave something positive in its audience, in the case of movies and series (animated or in live-action) there are two important points that must be taken into account beyond entertainment, which are training and education.

Currently there are some analysts who have focused on these issues of toxic and positive masculinity, with the intention of highlighting the most important traits of each in large productions. Part of this is found in the analyzes carried out at the Institute for the Development of Anti-Hegemonic Masculinities (IDMAH), who this time gave an opportunity to a character from Avatar: The Last Airbender: Book 1 – 100%.

Keep reading: Here’s The Way: Why The Mandalorian Is An Example Of Positive Masculinity

Who has been the subject of this study is Zuko, a character who had everything to be enveloped by evil, resentment and hatred. However, despite his past and the pain caused by both his father and the people of his village, he found a path that would help him build a positive masculinity, and this was not achieved alone, but with the help of Uncle Iroh. . Below you can see some of his masculine deconstruction.

Since he was a child, Zuko suffered abuse from his father, in addition to being manipulated by his sister Azula. His father, in particular, kept reminding him that he was ashamed of him and that he would never become a true firebender because of how weak he was.

One of the strongest and physically painful punishments he had to face was the fact that his own father injured his face in a battle in which Zuko refused to fight out of respect. All this for having shown a supposed lack of respect when giving his opinion regarding the war chamber where many soldiers died in ways that he considered inhumane.

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Having refused to face his father, both the Fire Lord and the people themselves made the decision to exile him for showing himself as a weak man. In order to regain his honor, he was tasked with finding the Avatar; it was his last chance.

As expected, the mission would not be easy at all, which cost him three years at sea. But he was not alone, he was accompanied by Uncle Iroh who turned out to become the father figure he did not have in childhood. His uncle also had pain in his heart due to the death of his son in war, yet he was always looking for the positive side of things.

Throughout his search, Zuko encountered several people, and meeting more people who had suffered similar things to him or who had been affected by the war brought about a certain empathy. Encountering Team Avatar on several occasions, he had the opportunity to introspect to learn of his own vulnerabilities. Being aware of this, Zuko manages to end his internal war, leading to him being crowned the new Fire Lord and ending the Hundred Year War.

Without a doubt, the positive masculinity of this character is reflected in his goodness and his capacity for transformation, without forgetting how noble he is.

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