It’s Time For a Hero

Exploring Scars in Pop Culture

Heroes are Greater Than Villains


In the movies we watch, characters with burn scars share the same damaging stereotypes. They are evil, ashamed of their scars, masked, alone…and these are just a few examples! We see the same stories over and over again, but how often do we pause to think of the impact they have on real people with scars?

These negative stereotypes create a deep cultural bias against burn survivors, resulting in social isolation, shame, and bullying for those living with facial scars. As young burn survivors look for role models in movies and TV, they find only villains, vigilantes, and victims with scars like theirs. They don’t see burn survivors save the day, make friends, or fall in love.

So we think it’s time for a better story. It’s time for a hero.

Campaign Goals

  1. Empower Survivors by celebrating the strength of real-world survivors and providing tools to fight for better media representation.
  2. Build Acceptance by showing the real stories behind burn scars and decreasing stigma against burn survivors.
  3. Increase Awareness by calling attention to negative stereotypes and their impact on those recovering from a burn injury.

Spread the Word

Here’s how you can help bring awareness to this issue and join the conversation about better representation:

  • Follow Phoenix Society on Facebook to share stories, graphics, and videos throughout Burn Awareness Week.
  • Attend our Grand Rapids panel, It’s Time For A Hero: Scars in Pop Culture. You can join us in person or via Facebook Live.
  • Join the conversation by posting a message about media representation of burn scars on your own channels. Tag Phoenix Society so we can share with our followers.
  • If you’d like to do a fundraiser or employee engagement campaign during Burn Awareness Week, contact us for more information.

Burns On the Big Screen

To learn how burn survivors specifically are portrayed in film, we embarked on a research project to put data behind the problem we’ve all identified. Our findings were grim, but unsurprising.

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Me, a Monster?

Michelle Lauren is a Minnesota native. At 2 years old, she was burned over 91% of her body. She learned how to navigate life with her scars on her sleeves. 

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