I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the media lately to name Taylor Swift as the “best” role model for kids to look up to. I find myself wondering, “Do they not know what a role model is supposed to be?”. A role model is a person to look up to and strive to be like. Do we really want our daughters striving to become the woman who was so obsessed with boys and popularity that she spent most of her time writing songs and singing about it?
This is also a woman who’s either forgotten or just doesn’t care about the people who got her to the top. She tells fans that if they can’t afford to purchase her albums they don’t deserve to listen to her music, while leaving her music videos freely available on YouTube. Personally, I’m not looking for my daughter to grow up to become someone who lies to get her way (those YouTube viewers aren’t paying to watch her videos), manipulates everyone around her for money, and forgets her roots once she succeeds.
Out of all the celebrity potential role models, Taylor Swift could be an excellent role model; if your child is looking at her songs about empowering people who are bullied (Mean and Shake It Off). However, I would caution approving of your child saying the words, “I wanna be like Taylor Swift when I grow up.” I will continue to listen to her music as long as I enjoy it. I will even point out songs to my daughter that I think she will enjoy. At 15, my kid is old enough to know why Taylor Swift isn’t a role model she wants to emulate.
Personally, I like the idea of fictional characters as role models. Rory Gilmore was an excellent role model for my daughter. Even when Rory screwed up, she made it right eventually and felt bad when she lied. I want my kid to look up to someone like that. However, if we’re looking for a real life role model, what about J.K. Rowling? She followed her dreams until they came true, and even though she now has more than she needs, she gives back rather than holding on with a death grip. I want my kids to grow up like that.
Who do you want your kids to look up to?