After Rebecca Adlington's revelations this week in 'I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here', it got me thinking about role models. Rebecca became a national treasure after winning us a gold medal in swimming last year in the Olympics, and is a superb role model for any young girl. She is one of the very few females in the public eye who is liked and appreciated for her talent rather than anything aesthetic.
In the past she has come under attack on Twitter for her appearance. Sadly she has a complex about how she looks, which she may have had before she received Twitter abuse, but either way it is worrying. How can I find a living role model for my daughters when one of the few we have is on national television crying about the way she looks? I'm not having a go at Rebecca Adlington, it's really not her fault. An athlete of her stature, a gold medallist who has travelled the world for her career and swam in a swimsuit with millions of people watching her, you would think she would be immune from all this. How can she be, when she has the same images of women shoved down her throat like we all do. Skinny, with fake boobs, fake hair, fake nails is the image of a 'normal' woman that we are exposed to on a daily basis.
Whether it is in music videos, adverts, in soaps (most women in Eastenders have perfect nails and hair extensions even though they can't even afford their rent, how and why?) in films or in magazines, the women we see are not real. We know they've been airbrushed and retouched yet we still wish we looked a bit like them. Superstars like Rihanna who has over 79 million followers on Twitter, is idolised by young girls worldwide. With lyrics like 'Stick and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me', what are young girls supposed to aspire to? In a world where twerking, sexual provocativeness and wearing underwear as normal attire, is applauded all in the name of feminism and creativity, where did it go wrong?
In a bid for attention, female celebrities from Beyonce to Miley Cyrus have taken the feminist movement backwards by years. By wearing next to nothing in their music videos they are sending the wrong message to young girls and boys. What impression will my seven year old son get of women if he sees that on television all women do is twerk in skimpy clothes? It is now the norm to show lots of flesh. As viewers we have become normalised to seeing beautiful women doing sexualised things in an apparent innocent video or on a program like X-factor. Who's to blame for this exploitation? Men, women or both? Is it even exploitation? Seeing young women being exploited without even knowing that they're being exploited, is tragic. Lily Allen's new single 'Hard Out There' is exactly about this. The pressures of the music industry on women are immense and seem to be escalating with female artists trying to shock and out do each other by being as provocative and lewd as they can. Is this an artist 'expressing their creativity' or just simply the age old winning formula of sex sells? In the video, women in teeny tiny clothing are dancing obscenely but this is to make the point of how they're being used. But ironically they are doing exactly what Lilly Allen is speaking out against.
We, the audience are not blameless in this and I know what the solution is. If you want to find decent role models for your children then you need to use the process of elimination. By that I mean, don't watch music videos, don't watch Xfactor, don't watch Strictly Come Dancing and don't watch I'm A Celebrity and a whole heap of other programs. As Lady Gaga says in this interview, if you don't like it switch it off.
Absolutely right, if young people are not exposed to such things, it's won't be a problem. Obviously you can't monitor your children all the time, but whilst they are in your care, don't help corrupt their minds. I for one want to savour every bit of innocence my children have and only show them strong individuals who are famous because of talent and their hard work, not for what they look like.