What's in a Role Model?

When I was younger I had two very distinct role models.

I wanted to be Barbie or Janet Jackson.

To me they both possessed what I wanted. Janet Jackson to me was absolutely gorgeous and I didn't know then why I liked her so much but I see now that it was because she LOVED what she did and put her all into her work. She was an amazing performer and actress and to say that I wanted to be a singer or actress would be wrong (o.k. maybe I did for a little while...). I think the reason why I looked up to her was because she had a passion for something and with that passion came success and confidence- all the things I wanted.

And like so many other girls out there, when I was little I had TONS of Barbies! I was a girl obsessed. To me, while Barbie wasn't real she gave young girls endless hope, possibilities and incredible and significant dreams of achieving and obtaining the impossible. I mean, think about it- she had long hair, an amazing body, ENDLESS amounts of shoes and clothes, she had a beach house, a dream house, a convertible, tons of friends and could be anything from a doctor to a flight attendant.

We all had our role models when we were younger, and we all have our role models now as we're older and while I had a chance to really think about this two questions arose- What is the difference in the Role Models we had as kids versus the ones of the younger generation? And are role models like Barbie or a famous pop singer "realistic" or still considered "positive" role models to have?

A few days ago whilst in conversation I heard a comment that I found surprising. As it turns out, kids and young teens have replaced idolizing pop singers with Snooki and Nicki Minaj.

Being a young woman, I for one respect another woman's hustle. And as long as she doesn't have a problem with what she is doing, is independent and responsible with her hustle and grind then I commend her. But in all honesty, if these are our role models of the younger generation, what does that say about the role models of today? And where does that leave our future leaders of the country?

When I was younger, along with Barbie and Janet Jackson, I loved Britney Spears too. And to so many young girls she was considered a role model. But fast forward a few years and Britney had managed to go from hot to hot mess. Her actions and behavior was not just alarming but dangerous. I once watched her in an interview where her being a role model was addressed and she felt very uncomfortable taking that responsibility on. But it's pretty much assumed that once you become a public figure- you take on that unspoken responsibility. And with today's pop stars and with reality t.v. taking over becoming a public figure and assuming that role possibly is a bigger deal than expected.

But whose to say who you choose to look up to? When I was younger I looked up to a doll who, I've come to discover is every bit as unrealistic as they come and an entertainer who was one of the biggest sex symbols of her time (and partially mine).

So when today's kids say they want to be like Lindsay Lohan or Snooki, is it the same thing as when we said we wanted to be like a Barbie Doll or a pop singer?

What is in a Role Model? And does that give us the right to judge?

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