The need for a good role model

Published 10:35 am Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From the time we become aware of our surroundings, girls are being sent a message — one that’s hand-delivered by society and sent straight to the forefront of our minds. It begs us to question who we are, but before we ever have the chance to answer, it tells us what it wants us to be instead.

Advertising and media are littered with inaccurate portrayals of beauty, while television securely fastens in our minds the imprecise depiction of a woman’s character, motives, and overall disposition.

Young minds are bombarded with false ideas — striving to meet a standard in which they are guaranteed to measure up short.

In the great search to find ourselves, it helps to have assistance from someone who can assure us the standards being set for us are nothing more than sales pitches and the covers of magazines lining the cash registers are as real as Jessica Rabbit.

When navigating the cloudy waters of adolescence, I was very fortunate to have parents that only ever expected me to be human, who encouraged me to be smart, honest, kind, and loyal, and never passed judgment on my mistakes. They reinforced to me that I could never measure up short as long as I was striving to be myself.

Let’s lift up the daughters of our society and teach them to be pitted against the fake ideas of mainstream beauty. Remind them that Barbies and Disney princesses are fiction. Show them what’s real. Allow them to take solace in knowing they are truly enough.

A few examples of strong historical women are Dorthea Lange, Jane Goodall, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Toni Morrison, Madeline Albright, and Joan Didion. May the differences they made encourage girls to grow up strong and confident.

There’s a lovely old saying that goes, “The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.”