WHAT MAKES THEM SO IMPORTANT?
Growing up in the digital age can be tough for many children. On top of the traditional pushing of societal gender norms on children, there is also the unmentioned urge to find someone to look up to. Although children wanting to look up to someone isn’t a new topic, it is now easier for them to look at their devices to find this type of mentorship.
Whether it be a little girl loving Keke Palmer for her fashion sense or a little girl looking up to Zendaya for her work on the Disney Channel, children look up to these celebrities and see them as role models. The terminology of role models has a tough definition when it comes to children’s admiration. Children will always admire celebrities to some extent, but may get to a certain age where they realize their role model might not be the best one for them.
The digital age has created a new type of childhood interest in celebrities. So much information is in our pockets because of the internet, giving children plenty of opportunities to find a celebrity to look up to. Childrens admiration is typically off looks, but they may grow up and realize that they don’t really know who their role model is as a person. Ultimately, it’s more important to choose a role model based on what these individuals actually do for society rather than based off of looks. A great example of role models that do things for society are feminist role models.
Feminist role models are people who use their celebrity power to share their love of feminism and women’s rights within their platform. The most important thing to remember when discussing feminist role models is that not all feminists are female. Let that sink in – not all feminists are females. Examples of some popular feminist men are Will Smith and John Legend.
Another example of a male feminist is Bollywood star Farhan Akhtar. Akhtar is an Indian film actor, director, screenwriter, singer, producer and television host who created a social campaign named MARD (Men Against Rape and Discrimination) to raise awareness against sexual assault and discrimination against women. When the #MeToo movement made its way to Bollywood/India, Akhtar was a loud voice for feminism. Akhtar believes that men need to reevaluate on behalf of how unequal the sexes still are in society.
Zendaya, known for her work on Disney’s K.C. Undercover and Euphoria on HBO, is a strong feminist voice in the United States’ Hollywood community. She does not hesitate to speak out on “hard to talk about topics.” Zendaya is one of the Disney stars that seamlessly transitioned from being a child actor to taking more adult roles. Before K.C. Undercover aired, Zendaya went to the headquarters of Disney and demanded that her show was not a typical one. She didn’t want her character to be musically inclined (like other shows); she argued to make the main character talented in martial arts. Zendaya is credited as a producer for the show.
Why feminist role models? Feminist role models are those that people can look up to because they are actively working to change the wrongs of how our current society. People like Farman Akhtbar and Zendaya are bold, brave, and confident. They believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally in society and they will do whatever within their power to make sure that they’re aiding in the process of change.