What Makes a Good Female Role Model?
My newest obsession Caitlin Moran, author of How To Be A Woman, says that the Spice Girls ruined feminism.
And I totally agree.
She said on CBC's Radio Q that their idea of girl power was being friends with your girlfriends and wearing a short skirt. They sucked the forward thrust out of the feminist movement. Girl power dressed up feminism in tarty outfits with huge platform heels, so you couldn't even walk up the steps to the power, let alone storm the barricades.
Now we have Katy Perry, who celebrates everyone's freedom to be weird - with sexualized Candyland characters. But Katy Perry is a role model for many little girls these days, just as Ginger Spice was before her. According to a survey conducted by the self-esteem soap pushers, Dove, young women cite celebrities as their role models right after mentioning their own mothers.
Role models have a strong effect on self-esteem. I just can't think that worshipping doe-eyed Katy Perry is going to make anyone feel better about themselves. Even if she does cry real human tears in her movie.
In a celebrity-obsessed culture, how do we find good femal role models? Ones who are making a difference without a sparkly microphone? There must be a lot of women out there who are doing incredible things that we don't know about.
Dove started the campaign Women Who Should Be Famous to inspire young women to look up to women who are leaders and groundbreakers.
I want to be cynical about this campaign, but it's hard. I cry everytime I watch these videos. And I have watched them more than once. Who is my favourite? The mathematician? The Somalian-Canadian surgeon? The Hip-hop artist who is "all that"? Many of these women are in science and they are amazing! (Though, I can be a little cynical about the line: "every time you buy Dove you help a girl's self-esteem", I do think their self-esteem programs are genuine.)
My role models were always dorky writers like Gloria Steinam and my mother and grandmother. But I can already see how celebrity culture entices and enthralls little girls (and boys). I hope my daughter picks strong, powerful, smart, funny rule-breaking, ground-breaking women to be her role models. These women are a great start, but there must be others out there too.
Who is your role model? Who do you think is a good role model?
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked if kids' TV has to be so bad. And I guess the answer is yes, because it is still so, so bad.