The obsession society has with scrutinising young women in the public eye for their ability to be role models is nothing new, and is perpetuated even by women who consider themselves feminists. Wanting women to be empowered and free is surely at direct odds with wanting them to conform to a host of standards that make them 'appropriate' for the consumption of others...
So it seems that Disney has moved with the times, as it is the more recent princesses that symbolise true female role models. Merida, a new princess from Brave, shows that Disney has tossed aside the snow-white, angelic style. Instead, the bushy, ginger-haired scruff ball, is a free-spirited and powerful girl...
For those of you who have not seen True Detectives, the series starts in 1995 in Louisiana at a time when only 2% of police officers in the whole of the US were women. Indeed as befits the time much of the writing focuses on life through the eyes of the two lead male detectives so in fact I don't think it is surprising there is not a lot of focus on strong female role models.
Globally, women are under represented at the top in politics world-wide by 85%and over represented at the bottom; we make up 70% of the worlds impoverished. But when you aren't actively part of either of those demographics and reside in a world as 'progressive' as the creative industry, you can be lead to think that inequality is something that happens to 'other women'.
I keep hearing the words "role models" in the press and it got me thinking about who were mine when I was growing up. I am constantly hearing about how bad role models Rihanna or Miley Cyrus are, with their fannies out and their drug advocating. It made me think back to when I was an impressionable 15 year old, and who could influence me.
I don't believe in protecting people from the opinions of others. In fact I find it faintly ridiculous that people devote so much time to worrying on the behalf of other people. Acting like addicts are a bunch of unruly 5 years olds, likely to go off on the tear after reading a well-versed piece of prose on drinking. It's not dangerous to display these views. It's eye-opening.
In a world of twitter, news feeds, facebook and live streaming it's become very hard to know our children's role models. It is no longer true that a footballer or a singer with dominate the mind of the majority of teenagers: the media world and our access to the celebrities within it, through personal devices, has become bespoke.
It's not Rihanna's job to live up to our ideal of the perfect role model for young women. She expresses herself for a living. She's very good at it. Right now she's young and spends a lot of time going out. She's really no different from other girls her age in that respect. She just does it on a bigger scale - and we all get to come along for the ride.
We do need to be careful about what our children are exposed to. No, we cannot protect them from everything all the time but we do need to be aware of what they see because children are sponges and they soak it all in - the good and the bad. Unfortunately, good role models and positive influences in modern media are rare.
As the world evolves, so humanity remains essentially emotionally the same. All of it crystallized in sharp relief within the hellish prison of childhood. I always said I'd never forget...and yet now I have children, I find myself getting annoyed because their drama doesn't meet my criteria for what merits hysterical crying and slammed doors.
Girls is littered with examples of overindulged, entitled twenty-somethings, unable to hold down a job for more than a few months due to personality clashes and boredom, while being entirely self-obsessed and overly concerned with every aspect of their own lives from fashion to food. It paints a picture of an age group trapped in arrested development, desperately unable to grow up.
As a child growing up in my grandmother's house in Liverpool, there was one name that always made my grandmother excited: Rose Heilbron. Rose was an advocate, and when she was arguing a case before a jury at the Liverpool Assizes my grandmother would follow her cases avidly, sometimes even from the public gallery.