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In praise of female celebrity role models

Date: February 12, 2013 | Posted By: Stacey

I think we’re due for a piece full of praise.

Photograph of Wanda Sykes

One of the teacher’s students who is struggling with coming out views Wanda Sykes as a role model.

A high school English teacher in Chicago, Ashley Lauren Samsa, shared on Bitch magazine’s website a list of positive female role models in pop culture, as drafted up by her students.

She wrote, “The list is a good insight into what interests teen girls these days, as well as hopefully a helpful resource. We talk a lot about degrading and regrettable portrayals of women in media, here are eight actresses and comedians my high schoolers are excited about supporting.”

The list includes Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Tavi Gevinson, and Wanda Sykes, to name a few, each with a brief description of why that particular woman was chosen.

As one commenter pointed out, it’s great to see that there are three women of color included on this list of eight. The comment said, “Kudos young feminist women for not ignoring the contributions of WOC to the feminist movement!!”

I’d like to also say kudos to this teacher for even having this discussion with her students. It’s important to get young people talking about positive role models in pop culture, and what makes these individuals stand out in a swarm of bad reality television shows and “news” stories that degrade women

Photograph of Tavi Gevinson.

Tavi Gevinson is praised for all the wonderful content on her website, Rookie.

Of course it’s so important to critique all the sexist bull$h*t we see in the media, and in the world, but it’s just as important for us to acknowledge and celebrate the good.

I think we should keep this list of positive female role models in pop culture going.

I’d like to add Scarlett Johansson and Anne Hathaway for calling out interviewers when they’re getting asked ridiculously sexist questions, and Rosario Dawson for being involved in so many great organizations and campaigns.

What about you, About-Face readers? Share your suggestions in the comments below!

Stacey earned her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies at San Francisco State University in May 2012. While she waits to discover her calling in life, she enjoys utilizing the tools she gained as a student of Women and Gender Studies to critique media and the world around her from a feminist perspective.




What Do You Think?

One Response to In praise of female celebrity role models

  1. Wordphreak on 02-15-2013

    Kudos to all of you for the good work you are doing. I would like to say that I am also a "woman of color." My color is not brown, or black, or orange or purple. Nor is it white. I am a woman of many hues, including pink, brown, tan, beige, and many others. Boxes of any kind are restrictive and isolating.