Saturday, September 11, 2010

A need for awesome women as role models

I was thinking the other day, that I never really had any strong women in my life to look up to. My mom left when I was pretty young, and it was just my dad and brother and me. I didn't have anyone to tell me important things about what to wear or how to act or what it means to be a confident young woman. Sometimes I feel like I still don't know these things.

In my teens, like a lot of people, I didn't like the way I looked. I didn't know how to behave in certain situations. The coping mechanisms that I chose were not very healthy. I had an eating disorder for many years. I went down a self-harm route. I became very depressed. I adopted a bad attitude with boys and when I did start dating, I was attracted to people all wrong for me and let others treat me badly. I didn't have anyone in my life to emulate, to think 'this person would never stand to be treated this way.' I didn't have anyone in my life to tell me that I looked OK, or that I was worth something. That the things happening to me weren't my fault.

When I fell pregnant the first time, I was very afraid of having a girl. I didn't want the responsibility and pressure of being some little girl's model of what it is to be a woman. Because I didn't feel like I'd done very well of it on my own. The very thought of raising a girl still terrifies me. What would I do?

It's been struggling my entire life to be a different, better and stronger person. Someone more adjusted and self-aware. Someone who can cope and deal with things, someone who keeps a level-head. Someone interested in learning. Someone who can ask for help. I want to be someone that I can be proud of. Someone my boys can be proud of.

I'm sorry that this post is all over the place, but I think having strong female role models and being aware of awesome women is something that's important to me and in my life. So I'm hoping that in the near future, I can share with you all some of the awesome women that I have found during this quest of mine.

I'd like to share some of my favourite female authors and fictional characters. I'd like to highlight some women from all areas of life - from athletes to politicians, women in entertainment, artists, scientists, human right's activists and historical figures. Women that I wish I'd known more about during my difficult teen period. I'd like it be a regular feature, maybe every other week?

Here's where I'd like your help. I will obviously be writing my own woman spotlights, but I would love it if people would like to write guest posts about highlighting your own favourite female author/s or fictional character or any awesome woman you can think of (though not family members/friends) and why these women are important to you, how they've influenced you. A list, if that's easier though I'd prefer it on an individual. Something about how that changed you or helped you in some way during your lifetime.

And authors: I would love to have interviews or guest posts from you about role models and which women you look up to both growing up and in the past.

Does that something you'd like to read about? Does that sound like something you'd like to a part of? Please comment with an email address below or send me a message. I'd love to hear from you.


  1. What a terrific idea and fabulous personal post.
    I can see how you were drawn to psychology a bit more now.
    I too wanted boys but it was more from external pressure than a fear of my own.
    As I have 3 girls, I dont really think of myself as a role model to them (except with the reading). I am just their slightly eccentric book mad Mum. They are aware that I am just a person as well.
    I am lucky I feel really close to them and hope they have the confidence to talk to me about anything. Thats all I can ask :D

  2. This is a great idea. My mum was a great role model so I didn't really have to look for public figures... but I also grew up in England when Thatcher was PM, so I knew women could do anything. I'm a scientist and there still aren't that many women in the sciences.

  3. What an amazing post!
    Thank you for sharing this with us!
    I usually took book characters as role models (I'm that weird)... Every book is a new way for me to become a better person.

  4. i will muse over some historical figures for you! The inital one that comes to mind is Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (first female doctor in the UK - sister to the leader of the suffragist movement Milicent Garrett Fawcett)

  5. What a wonderful idea. There are two particular women that have been real role models for me throughout my young life - one an author and naturalist, the other a scientist - the latter whom I was lucky enough to meet. In recent years I have met yet another woman who is a constant source of inspiration to me. You are so right that it is important for young people especially to have role models, and I think a series of posts would be very interesting to read. Let me know if I can help.

  6. I can empathize with what you say. I have always been longing for this special relatioship with my mum, but our relationship has it's limitations and it pretty much comes down to: trust. She is just not trust-worthy, she is not a very good listener, I just can't rely on her when I need her most. She is a very unstable person with low selfesteem and that has had a negative effect on our relationship all my life. When I found out I was pregnant with a little girl I wasn't happy. I'm not sure whether I can be a good rolemodel myself. It is sad, but I feel as though I am not bonding with her the same way as I am bonding with my son. And I wonder whether the shaky relationship to my own mother has to do with it...

  7. Thank you for all of your wonderful comments!

    Emma - I hope that my boys realise that I'm just a person too, I just worried that my constant attention to my body image would rub off on little more girls more readily than boys. I'm still conscious of it and I don't want to send that message to the boys either, so I'm working on it!

    Rachel - Margaret Thatcher! Yes, I can see that being really empowering having a female prime minister - you wouldn't want to write a guest post about that? Or women in the sciences, would you?

    Caroline - I probabaly did that as well, only subconsciously. I always turned to books. Would you like to write something about your favourite main characters? Please?

    Kirsty - I would LOVE that, thank you :)

    mariel - yes please :) That makes me very happy!

    Milena - thank you so much for writing such a personal comment. I'd like to send you hugs.

  8. The most influential woman in my life has been Anita Roddick, the founder of the Body Shop, who had a great influence on me as a teenager and still does - I'd been happy to write a guest post for you if you want.

  9. Oh Janette, I would LOVE that. Please do!


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