What is a role model? Webster’s dictionary defines it as a person whose behavior in a particular role is imitated by others. Role models play an important part in developing social skills, behaviors, and attitudes in both children and adults. As a child, I remember having a number of role models. I wanted to be like my mom and dad of course, but I also wanted to be a teenage mutant ninja turtle, the little mermaid, and at one point, Paula Abdul.
As is apparent, pop culture plays a significant role in influencing girls’ behavior. It also plays a large role in the lives of women in the form of popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan, People, and Vanity Fair or popular television shows such as The Bachelor, Desperate Housewives, and True Blood. So, why are pop culture icons such as Hannah Montana and Lady Gaga idolized over amazing women such as Condoleezza Rice and Indra Nooyi? The answer is obvious. It is the availability of information and the entertainment value of that information. Everyone loves to be entertained. However, upon examination of movie, radio, and television stars I am hard pressed to find good role models. They are few and far between.
Therefore, it rests on the shoulders of those involved in the lives of other women to counteract negative media influence. A person’s behavior affects everyone around them, even that of friends and family who are not necessarily younger. It is important to always conduct oneself as a NeW woman. I, for one, wish to be a role model that emphasizes respect for everyone. I want others to see that every person has a natural beauty that does not need to be surgically altered. Aging is not something that needs to be fought tooth and nail; it is a natural progression, and we should embrace all the stages of our lives. I want people to know that healthy is attractive, and healthy is not emaciation. Sex is not for sale to the highest bidder, nor is it a meaningless, trivial act.
I challenge you all to think of what kind of role model you are and what kind of role model you want to be. What does your behavior say about you? When I began this blog entry, I did not plan for it to be a self evaluation. It only seemed inevitable, though. Every person is a role model, even if it is only influencing one person through one encounter. I would encourage you not to limit your own role model choices either. Model yourselves after all the moral, upstanding, and respectable people you meet be they young, old, male, or female.