Role Models are Overrated

“We teach girls that they can not be sexual beings in the way that boys are. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition but not too much. You should aim to be successful–but not too successful, otherwise you will threaten the man.” ~ Beyoncé’s 2014 VMA Performance

After I finished watching Beyoncé’s VMA performance, I had several thoughts running through my head. Initially, I thought “What a beautiful, strong amazing woman. Such an incredible performer.”

Then I thought, “She really validates my desire not to wear pants. Have I ever seen this woman in pants?”

And then, “I’m really tired of hearing people say that she’s not a good role model.”

People are just naturally judgmental creatures and when we aren’t walking in someone else’s shoes it’s much, MUCH easier to say what we would have done, or would do. The reality is, when faced with similar circumstances we could really surprise ourselves.

Yes, Beyoncé drips, oozes and hair flips, sexuality. So, the fuck, what? I’d be prouder than hell if I produced offspring with the kind of work ethic that chick has.

In defense of Beyonce, Miley, actors, athletes and basically public figures everywhere, here are my:

3 Reasons Why Role Models Are Overrated

Everyone Has Flaws

There is no such thing as the perfect person. We all have shortcomings and some of them are really, really ugly. You might like somebody for their positive qualities, but what about their flaws? Are you blind to them, and if not, do you embrace them? If you think someone is the perfect role model then suddenly their flaws are splashed around, do you trash them?

There is an inherent flaw in the idea of role models, and that would be that they are flawed themselves. We seem to forget that role models are human, too.

Everyone Has a Past

I may seem like an upstanding citizen now, but if you’ve read my book then you know that I haven’t always been on the highest of moral ground. People fuck up and make mistakes all the time; it’s what makes us human. There are plenty of us that make changes for the better and there are others that don’t. Just like the flaws, you’re going to find very few people that don’t have a past.

Mistakes or ‘growing pains’ are a part of life. Very few people have lived in a bubble of purity until they reach a successful place or ‘role model status’. That means that eventually those flaws are going to be made public, and will you still love them then?

You Don’t Know Them

Think about that for a second. Just because someone is in the public spotlight, because they are a great singer, dancer, actress, or athlete doesn’t make them a role model. They are simply someone making a living off of their talents. All you see is the one side to them where they excel. You know nothing about who they are as a person, what their likes are, how they handle arguments, how they speak to their friends, their significant other or the waitress. You don’t know them, so why would you want your kids looking up to someone they (and you) don’t know at all?

Real Life Role Models

While it’s perfectly fine to admire qualities and traits of celebrities and superstars, the person who really needs to be setting an example for your kids, is you and other people they know in real life. Teachers, coaches and personal mentors, people they know and have access to should make them starry eyed. Are you setting the best example?

Don’t worry about what Beyoncé is doing. Sure your little girl might like shaking her butt to Single Ladies, that just means she’s got great taste in music. It’s inevitable celebrities will be admired, but if they’ve suddenly become a household role model, it’s up to you to show her the difference between real life and fantasy.

Who are your real life role models and why do you look up to them? 

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Chrystal Rose
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