Louise Hutchison

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Are woman in mainstream music good role models for young girls?

I am so puzzled why so many young girls seem to think that female pop stars who are plastered on the radio and TV are considered role models in this day in age? I certainly wouldn't look up to them and certainly wouldn't want my children (if I had any) to be following their action.
Although that is just my opinion, do you think that there is any good coming from these so called "role models"


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    Sep 15 2013: Thank for the question! I had a question (clsoed now) that I think is closely related to this question (http://www.ted.com/conversations/18502/should_we_expect_anyone_in_the.html). Most of my thoughts are most likely reflected in this conversation, but I'll give you an abridged version of some of my thoughts. I think that that entertainer in mainstream music should only be looked up to as entertainers, not people or role models. In fact, I don't think anyone should be looked up to as *the* role model. I think—if we should try to model ourselves after anyone (which I don't think we should)— we should sort of make a mosaic of different people that we like different aspects about, and try to do what this frankenstein would do. Essentially, this means just observing what other people say and do, and then picking up what we like and saying/doing that.

    Hopefully this helped and please ask questions regarding to this comment or just other questions!
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      Sep 16 2013: Kai, I seem to remember that you are a high school student. Would you say that the girls at your school actually do consider female musicians and reality stars as role models?

      I ask this because I wonder whether people may under-estimate young girls by assuming such things about them.

      My daughters are in their twenties, but I am fairly certain that if you put portrait photos of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Snooki, any Kardashian, Beyonce, Taylor Swift or any other contemporary entertainment star into a "line-up" of one hundred photos of women of that age, neither could pick out more than one.

      Thinking back to my youth, I could have picked, say, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Carol King, Diana Ross, and Mama Cass out of a line-up, but there is no way I would have thought to consider them as role models. I am not criticizing any of these women, but the idea of them as role models never occurred to me.
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        Sep 16 2013: Good memory! I'm currently a high school senior.

        I would say most girls at my school wouldn't consider femal entertainers (if you consider reality stars as entertainers) as role models. There is some possible error from generalizing from the females I know at my school however. Most of the girls I know are fairly serious about school and/or education, and I would predict that there would be more girls that see entertainers as role models if they cared about education. (Hopefully that was intelligible.)

        I'd say most "older" people have a fairly bad image of young people in general, as it seems are mishaps and idiots get the attention rather than the 'average' and 'above average' teenagers. But that's is a side note.

        I would say that many girls at my school could identify most of the people in the first line-up you mentioned (and I could pick out about three in your line-up), just because of the large usage of technology and social media by many people at my school.

        When I hear people idolizing entertainers (or really anyone), I never really understand what they mean, since their reasons are usually faily superficial. Thanks for the comment and questions!
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          Sep 16 2013: I don't think most older people have a bad impression of young people. I think older people just worry, particularly when potential causes of worry tend to be sensationalized in popular culture.
  • Sep 28 2013: Are mothers good role models for young girls? Are teachers? Are soldiers? Are doctors? It depends on who the individual in question is. No profession is monolithic in the nature of its influence. Who gets to determine what a "good" role model is and what are they going to do about it once they've made that determination? The world is and always has been filled with a wide array of choices as to how to live our lives. Teaching children how to think critically is much more important than protecting them from any set of "bad" influences. They're going to be exposed to those no matter how you try to shield them. The best we can do is teach them how to make self-empowering choices without restricting the freedom of others which is what your question implies.
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    Sep 23 2013: I am so thankful for all your comments this is really helping me with my research, I appreciate your opinions!

    It does anger me that it all just gets spoke about then moved on, it seems that it is never questioned more than it should be that lyrics and sexual content in these songs are music videos are allowed on to be played and viewed online and on TV.
    It astonishes me that the number one in UK recently ( I am from Glasgow) is or was Jason Derulo's new single "Talk Dirty to me" this does bother me as they charts are counted down during 4-7pm on the radio and young kids are listening to this and wondering what it means and also just repeating and singing the lyrics to their parents and friends which is very disturbing.

    Who would you say is an inspirational role model in the music industry for young girls to look up to?

    I have many of my own that inspire and influence myself, but would even like to discover and find out who people believe would be a great role model for young girls to look up to.
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      Oct 11 2013: Your conversation is about to end........and only recently Miley Cirus put out a video that supposedly is a terrible example for young girls.
      I don't think things are changing for the better.
      And I don't think it is mutually exclusive to women in mainstream music.
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    Sep 19 2013: of course they are not.

    the real problem stems from a vacuous media and their reporting of pop culture folk in a way that somehow holds them up against a yard-stick of morality that does not even exist in the media world.

    there are some female musicians that have desirable qualities - songwriting/poetry being the main one. unfortunately, this is overshadowed by an audience that has come to believe that karaoke-style singing is talent (it is not, it is a skill) and a music industry that follows a formula for churning out mediocre entertainment that supposedly appeals to the widest audience when in fact, it is the simple act of saturating TV, radio and internet with their product that guarantees sales.

    every now and then a supreme talent comes along that blows all competition away and ultimately, ends up re-writing the formula as the music industry slowly catches up and churns out carbon copies of the original. needless to say, these people are few and far between.

    keeping in mind that mainstream music is not something to look up to but something to entertain, then it is not really a big deal. it is strange to me that screaming girls tend to make up the majority of Beatles, Rolling Stones, One Direction (and so on) fans.

    it is a phenomenon that music industry moguls cottoned onto a long time ago and exploit mercilessly.
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    Sep 16 2013: Louise, First I do not consider them role models. It is up to us to separate the music produced from the entertainer, and often the antics of the individual themselves.

    There are always some who live exemplary lives. They do not make the news.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Sep 16 2013: Media is a great influence for young people if ever I have a child I will be monitoring what kind of shows he/she is watching in their young age. However if they are already and mature enough who can discern which is right and wrong then I just let them watch whatever they want. Influence, pressure and temptation cannot shape our life if we will not let it.
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    Sep 15 2013: It doesn't matter whether "good" is coming from these women. They are shaping society, and that is the deeper issue. Our daughters are going out into a world where they are measured against those women, whether they look up to them or not.

    However, I'm continually irritated that all the pressure seems to be on female role models in pop culture, when it's not looking like the boys have much to choose from either.
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    Sep 15 2013: I think in nowadays women in mainstream music should be fun for young people. I think young people just like the stars' fancy appearance and the power in setting fashion trends or doing other things. Those stars attract people's so much attention that makes young people adore them. But after the young girls grow mature in mind, most of them will think it's just a good memory in life, those stars are far from their real life.
  • Sep 14 2013: If we believe that anyone in the public eye should be a role model for our children, we as a country are lost. Every person has strengths and weaknesses, we have to teach our children to admire the strengths and avoid those weaknesses. Any parent knows there are things they want their children to emulate from them, but there are things they want their children to learn from parental "mistakes" - guiding advice (sometimes it takes, other times no).

    "I am not a role model" -- Charles Barkley
  • Sep 13 2013: The wrong behaviors are being paramounted, ie miley cyrus. We are elevating reactionary behavior, and usually reactionary behavior is akin to criminal or immoral activity.

    Legitimate talent is processed, but even if you are trying to make an argument about what miley cryus did as something of legitimate you can't analyze what is talented about it because you view it in instantaneous actions which you reacted to.

    It's an obvious band-aid for lack of talent and i only hope it incites a movement toward respect of the craft.
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    Sep 13 2013: I think Adele is a good role model, if she dosen't fall prey to using the pain of normal partner heartaches to fuel her creativity too much. There's this saying that is quite apt " Great pain makes great art"
    • Sep 13 2013: It would be nice if music could step outside of human relation dependency (love and/or loss of individuals). I'd like some philosophical music devoid of specific emotion and more emphasizing sensations.

      Sometimes you can't relate to a piece of art and that is perfectly acceptable (visual pieces usually) it would be nice if more music was like that so we could get some differentiation.
  • Sep 13 2013: What happened to the days when they're was dignity, respect, when people fought for what they stood up for, when musicians talked about love, peace, a world in which there is equality. Young girls of today mimic the characters of main stream musicians thinking that it is how life really is. The main stream musicians are far from role models to young girls. First of all you need to figure out the true meaning of the word role model and realise that these musicians have no qualities in terms of by the way they live, the things they say. In music videos the provocative ways they dress make young girls think that it is ok and the way their parents dress is of the old days. That life...life is just about partying, drinking. Terms like YOLO come up and end up being misinterpreted. If you only live once why not use it in a righteous way but the mainstream musicians twist it and make it seem if you only live once then go ahead and be careless with your life. Personally i do not think there is anything good coming from this so called role models.
    • Sep 13 2013: impulsive society reflected by impulsive mediums, when reflection and substance becomes hip again this will end.. hopefully it's soon, I think a large chunk of the population (even within mainstream target audiences) is sick of the entertainment devoid of thought and respect of the craft.