Monday, March 12, 2007

Pussycat Dolls: Good role models? Right.

One of the most terrible things that could happen at the gym happened to me the other day -- the batteries died on my music player. Due to this, I channel-surfed through the whole four channels on gym-TV. One of these channels was Much Music, airing at this time was the Pussycat Dolls show. The only snippet I caught was the Dolls claiming that they are "feminists" and "positive role models" for young girls. Right.

Apparently grinding on poles on buses like strippers and throwing your leg above your head between gyrating obscenely is role model behavior. Sure, sex sells. These girls are making a whack of money not because their talented, but because they dress in skimpy outfits and gyrate around.

Here is the article from NYtimes.com. The following snippets are clues that you're not a good role model.

1. When you serve as the role model to Lil' Kim. “Everything the Pussycat Dolls are is everything that I’ve developed myself into being,” said the rap star Lil’ Kim, who is a judge on the show and who served a prison sentence for lying to a federal grand jury about a shooting outside a radio station.

When you want to pick someone who convinces others that your gang of women are good role models... you may be better off not to choose Lil' Kim. I don't know of any woman who would consider Kim a positive role model.

2. When teenage girls believe that you represent a step backwards for women. When one reporter said his 17-year-old daughter looked at the group and their antics as a giant step backward for women, the Pussycat Dolls’ founder, Robin Antin, became defensive, invoking female role models who follow the Dolls. “There’s a reason why people like Scarlett Johansson, Gwen Stefani, Cameron Diaz have all been so interested in what Pussycat Dolls is all about,” she said. “They feel that it is empowering to get up there and dress up like a Doll. It’s fun, and it’s something that every girl in the world — she may think one thing, but I think inside every girl in the world wants to do it.”

In my humble opinion, I don't think anyone is verified to make broad statements about "what every girl in the world wants to do". That would be like me claiming I know what all everyone wants. Complete ridiculousness. And, actresses are generally not your best bets as role models either. While it may be fun to dress hoochie and dance around, that by no means makes it the action of positive role models.

The sole thing I did to celebrate International Women's Day last week was to talk briefly to my mother. Though we haven't always had the cheeriest of relationships, she has been the greatest role model I could have ever asked for. This is why:
  • She always told me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, but encouraged me not to sell myself short. Though she didn't necessarily agree with what I went for school for, challenging me to ensure it was the right choice for what I wanted, she let me do my thing and supported me throughout my university career.
  • Though we debated almost endlessly, she encouraged me to stand up for what I believe in. This was stressed when we left the church near our house, where my mom was Sunday school superintendent, and went to another one due to differing beliefs between Mom and the Pastor. She believed in God, he believed he was a god.
  • Also, through discussions on religion, philosophy, the world... she taught me to base my beliefs on solid foundations and research. Don't take for truth that which you are merely told.
  • She got involved in municipal politics when I was young. It was empowering to see a bright woman making change in society. I firmly believe it was the dinner table discussions on municipal politics which spawned my love of politics today.
  • As the sole woman for over a decade on municipal councils, she also taught me that women were just as good as men in this arena. She is confident, well-informed and hard working. Yet as busy as she is with meetings, she made time for us as well.
  • And, farm women work their asses off. My mom didn't merely cook and clean. When we had dairy cows, she was in the barn every morning and every night for chores, she was throwing hay/straw bales in the mows, she was helping in the fields. And then she did all of the housework on top of that. And she kept track of all the finances. She was a regular superwoman.

For me, my mom embodies a lot of what feminism is about. It's about knowing what you believing in and standing up for those beliefs. It's about being informed and confident. It's not about having to choose between a career or a family, but about partnership which enables you to have both. It's about being able to do what you desire to do. It's about making a positive impact on society be it through your children, through your career, by being involved in your community or through any other way which may seem small to you but is a big deal to others. It's about realizing that society/life is unfair but not letting that hold you back from your dreams. It's about not giving up.

Feminism, for me, is not even a little about the Pussycat Dolls.

2 comments:

Melissa said...

I definitely agree with your views on The Pussycat Dolls. I feel that these girls only serve the purpose to make REAL women feel like utter sh*t about themselves. They further propagate the popular culture mantra that you aren't beautiful unless you're 5'9", 110lbs with giant boobs. I find it hard to believe that these girls have any sort of tangible talent whatsoever, aside from an uncanny ability to act like total sluts in front of a camera.
I find it really disturbing that young females are looking at the Pussycat Dolls as role models; a newer trampier breed of "girl power". Anyone can be a Pussycat Doll...it takes a real woman to NOT be one.

Anonymous said...

i randomly bloghopped and landed on your blog, and applaud you on this particular post. being fresh out of the teenage stage myself, i can't believe that some people actually consider the PD's good role models for girls. sure they are role models for something, but i think that's to be role models of something *worse*, or representing something young girls shouldn't even try to be.

once again, i applaud you, and hope there are more women like you in the world :)

~ em