Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Female Celebrity Role Models (or not)

I just wanted to take some time to mention a few girls in the music industry that I think are bang up role models (or not), and give you some insight as to why. I've been thinking about this post for a long time, as new music comes out and as I see more young women gaining success and as I think about some not-quite-so-young women who have become celebrities and their public personas. I'm focusing on a few whom I've been following via social media or via their new music and subsequent promotional spots on tv and in magazines. I've really only got beef with one artist, as the rest are women I think who are worth considering as far as celebrity role models go. I recognize that I do not know these women and that I'm going based off of a small selection of what they present to the world...but then again, that's all we really get, isn't it?

TAYLOR SWIFT : I know we all know I love her! But the main reason I love her is for her consistency in her image and her dedication to herself. From writing her own songs at a very young age, and releasing songs that were very appropriate, to her recent foray into full-on pop music and even making fun of her own awkwardness in her video; Taylor Swift is far and away a celebrity with integrity. She pretty famously ditched a large record label to go independent and make her own choices. She writes all of her songs and shares writing credits on a few. She manages her own career and makes her own artistic decisions. All of this, despite constant hate in the press. Whether she is mocked for being not-feminist enough (and then lauded for finally having a feminist friend) or talked about because she, you know, dates; this girl takes the heat in the press...and all because she is very much herself. Taylor Swift is an excellent role model because she has gained success by remaining true to herself...and if modesty and virginity, age appropriateness and clean lyrics are your thing then she very much fits the bill.

MILEY CYRUS : I know Miley is still new to the game, being fresh out of the Disney cult, but I'm into what she's doing. I'm not really sure if Miley will show consistency in behavior over time, and I might change my mind. As of the release of Bangerz, and despite her twerking to a super sexist and mysoginistic song, I'm very into what Miley is presenting to the world. I know a lot of the reaction to her current decisions are generally shock or disappointment...from surprise that she would go from Disney sweetheart to overtly sexual behavior or even dismissing her behaviors as "trying too hard". But I like what she's doing. She's behaving just as any girl her age might. I like the way she's open about partying and having sex. I also like the time she took from the VMA's to bring up a political issue. I feel like public reaction to her behavior is total bullshit, honestly.

RIHANNA : I will admit that the whole domestic violence thing is really disheartening. I think her role in that situation over the years is not a great example at all...but there are other things she's doing that I really like. I followed her on Instagram until it was deleted. During that time, I saw just exactly how she likes to smoke weed and has no issues being naked, but I also saw how much love she has for her family and friends. I think there is something to be said for a woman celebrity who doesn't hide herself or try to make herself smaller because the public would like her to. I also think that smoking weed and having sex and being naked are not bad things and that more women should understand they have a right to their own bodies and it's not the job of society to police them. I think Rihanna's confidence is awesome.

ABIGAIL BRESLIN : I follow her Twitter and Tumblr. OK 1. She's TOTALLY a teenager and 2. She's completely fine being awkward and strange and having feelings. Abigail's social media isn't a ginormous promotional tool, it's just her. She writes blog posts about her feelings and tweets about her hatred of kale or love of pumpkin spice lattes. She's awkward and sweet and funny, and it really doesn't feel like an act at all. There's something relatable about her, and I'm enjoying watching her grow up.

BEYONCE : I gotta admit, I'm really annoyed at the press Beyonce is getting yet again. Every time that girl makes it in the spotlight, I find myself annoyed or even angry. I wouldn't say it's because of her success, so much as all the hype surrounding her success. I really dislike how the public seems to perceive her and this idea of her being the queen of something. I'm especially angered when anyone tries to make her out to be a role model. It's like you all forget that Beyonce is active in woman-on-woman hate, from getting rid of her band members in Destiny's Child to regularly cropping them out of #tbt photos on Instagram. Beyonce has always struck me as a very created pop star. Her albums are inconsistent in sound and lyrics, and I can't forget an hilarious tweet I once read that said something like; Beyonce got all you girls dancing in a circle to "Single Ladies" when she's walking home to her husband. (That is not a direct quote, but you get the gist.) And even now, with the VMAs, she's trying to claim some sort of "feminism". (Read an excellent response, that really sums up how I feel about her, here.) I just look at what she's doing, what she has done, and it all feels very generated and her woman-on-woman hate is pretty well documented. I'm not gonna pretend like I don't own her albums and wouldn't have a Beyonce dance party in a second, but I just feel like there are a lot better women to look up to...including Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. There are women who are still generated music acts with some sort of integrity or character. Beyonce just isn't one of them.

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