Photos taken by Maddingly Cotton
How having female characters as role models positively impacts girls throughout their childhood.
A role model is a powerful thing. Wherever one finds a role model, from family members to fictional characters, it is a guiding light as one goes through life.
A role model provides a unique perspective and someone to identify with. Especially during childhood when development is happening rapidly, outside influences can help with goal setting and finding a sense of self.
The entertainment industry is filled with possible role models whether that be in TV shows, music or other mediums. The development of the entertainment industry is positive in this regard, and will surely bring comfort to many young girls who may not have a positive role model in their own life. Even with positive influences in one’s personal life, a role model on screen can provide a new perspective for young girls.
Anna Eason, a freshman studying Communications, offered her insight into the female characters she looked up to growing up. Eason shared how she looked up to characters such as Katniss Everdeen, Hermoine Granger, Mulan and Princess Leia.
“These characters taught me to be myself and be strong. Something I liked about [them] was they could be sweet and feminine, but still be really cool and take care of themselves. Mulan specifically impacted my view of being a woman because she did so much on her own,” Eason said.
Eason’s role models had a few important things in common to note: strength and independence.
Both Katniss Everdeen and Princess Leia had help throughout their journeys, but both characters were strong, driven women who showed countless other little girls that they could be strong and driven too. Characters like these gave girls someone to look at and think: Wow. She’s a strong woman, and I want to be too.
Shelby Tauxe, a freshman studying Psychology, offered her insight as well.
“A female character I looked up to when I was growing up was Fallon Carrington from the new version of the TV show, Dynasty. I looked up to her because she knew what she wanted and how to get it. She never gave up. She was also very confident in who she was. This showed me that I could do that too,” Tauxe said.
Tauxe mentioned confidence being one of the identifying factors in why Fallon Carrington stuck out to her. This experience relates to a lot of young girls and continues into womanhood.
Confidence is something everyone struggles with at some point, regardless of gender, age or interests. A role model that inspires confidence, especially for young girls, is a powerful thing.
Qualities such as confidence, as Tauxe mentioned, and finding strength in femininity, as Eason pointed out, are what many young girls build themselves up on, from their childhood and into their adult lives.
Disney Princess movies have stayed popular for a similar reason— empowerment. In addition to Eason’s mention of Mulan, girls all over the world can be seen dressing up as their favorite Disney princess for Halloween or their birthday.
Think back to your childhood.
When was the last time you saw a little girl, eyes bright and excited, running around in a princess dress? Surely she looked happy, likely even confident.
Role models can provide confidence that sticks with us throughout the rest of our lives, and we can pass on what we learn from them to the next generation and the one after.
Who knows? Maybe a little girl dreaming of being a sword-wielding princess today will use that same imagination and determination to brighten everyones’ future.