Day 9 - Who do you look up to? Why?
I look up to strong intelligent females because they fight the gender bias and show that, male or female or trans or whatever you identify as, you can still kick ass and take names. I believe we live in a highly patriarchal society that puts down these exceptional people in favor of the unexceptional, and that’s absolutely criminal. The Huffington Post recently published an article titled “Female Role Models: The Absent Conversation“:
…we’re up against powerful cultural and media currents. The great post-feminist irony is that in an age of hard-won female opportunity, media is channeling that opportunity to a place of hyper-sexualized stupidity. It’s not who you are — it’s how hot you are.
Ask a young girl about the females she looks up to, and chances are good that — after family members — her list will be crowded with celebrities.
Young women at the most emotionally malleable time in their lives will naturally turn to celebrities for cues on everything from love to dress to sexuality. You don’t have to spend a lot of time wading around in the media muck to see that young females are represented by a collection ranging from sad to frightening — whose claim to celebrity is becoming a coarse side show.
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I know I’ve mentioned this before but I volunteer at a local elementary school where I am constantly seeing girls forsake the decades of fight and sacrifice by playing into these expectations of being a dumb bimbo – and they don’t even realize it. Today, a third grade girl was sent to the office for wearing a mini skirt and tall high-heeled boots. THIRD. GRADE. You can’t put all the blame on the child; someone had to buy her those clothes, someone allowed her to leave the house like that. The fact that this child – this eight year old – was dropped off at school by an adult in such inappropriate clothing is indicative of the message our culture sends to girls: to dress provocatively is not only okay but also normal and, in fact, expected.
Girls are taught through our society, culture, and media that they must be passive, submissive sex objects in order to get any sort of recognition or attention. To go against that – to be an independent, intelligent woman – is seen as threatening and therefore bitchy, unattractive, and probably (gasp!) a FEMINIST. This sends an absurdly mixed message to our girls and sets them up to fail from the get-go.
So, who do I look up to?
Women who abandon the expected societal norms of big breasts and pumped-up lips, women who serve as positive female role models, women who are celebrated for their achievements not because they are women but because they made a difference - THEY are who I look up to.