Where Have All the Female Role Models Gone?

A few nights ago, a Friday night to be precise, I decided to rent two DVDs from Redbox. It had been an extremely long day, the hubs wouldn't be home until past midnight because he was out on a guys night, and I had been alone all day long with my two very good, sweet, but very loud, wild little boys. I was worn out. I promised them we could have a movie night that night, but I rented myself these two movies to watch after they had gone to bed; "Sisters" starring Tina Fey and Amy Pohler,

and "Brooklyn". I decided I needed a mindless, funny movie, and then something more serious and sincere.

I let the boys stay up a fraction past their bedtime. We had pizza, ice cream, and watched some of Goonies, which was way over their heads and had way more swearing than I remember as a kid. Yeah, we probably won't be watching the rest of it any time soon. In any case, my boys were extremely wired and uncooperative when I was trying to put them to bed. I tried to be patient, then firm, saying I would take toys away, warning them I was about to lose it ... and then I did lose it. Big time. What was supposed to have been a fun night ended on a really bad note with me yelling, them crying, and then all three of us crying while I held them in the rocking chair.

Needless to say, I was more than ready to sit down by myself, eat some ice cream, and watch my movies. I admit, renting "Sisters" was just a stupid thing for me to do. My defenses were down, I wanted something mindless, funny, dumb ... and holy crap did I get it! And much more, minus the funny part! I didn't even make it half way through this movie before I thought, "Why in the world am I subjecting myself to such stupidity?!? And to such blatant, beyond crudeness, crassness, profanity?"  Yeah, it was a real work of art, let me tell ya! I turned it off and threw it across the room, literally, then put in "Brooklyn" and had a much better movie experience. Much!! (I do highly recommend the movie).

It made me start to think about female role models in our society. I'll be honest, I've liked Tina Fey and Amy Pohler for a long time. I LOVED "30 Rock" and even more, "Parks and Recreation". But I have read both women's comical memoirs and have walked away feeling, I don't know, let down. Not that they owed me anything. They are hilarious when it comes to a lot of things. I love their sarcasm, I love Amy Pohler's sincerity, I respect how amazingly hard they have had to work for their success, especially as female comedians. But I suppose I felt let down, and I feel let down with A LOT of present day female comedians, actressess,writers, and directors. I used to think that maybe they were disgusting, crude, and very profane in order to try to keep up with their male counterparts. But that was a pretty sexist thing to think, and I realized, no, these women are just genuinely disgusting, crude, and very profane in their real lives. And many, many, many women in our society are exactly the same.

I tried to read "Gone Girl" a year ago for my book club, got about 1/4 of the way through and had to text my book club peeps to NOT read this disgusting, profane, weird, crude, messed up book. I am not a book or movie prude, by any means (I mean, I got my first BA degree in Film Studies from the University of Utah - there are many things seen that cannot be unseen through that program), but the 'F' word was literally on every other page. Literally. Sometimes several times. To me this just shows an immense lack of talent and ingenuity on the part of the author. The main male character's sister said some of the foulest, most disgusting things I have ever read in a novel. I remember talking to my husband, saying, "This book is really disturbing to me. This is written by a female. The females in this book are absolutely disgusting and messed up. It makes me wonder, does the author speak like this in her daily life? Does she hang out with other women that speak this way? What is wrong with the women in our society? Have we tried so hard to break that glass ceiling that we have left behind any trace of femininity or class in our speech and conduct?"

He told me that some of the foulest things he has ever heard from coworkers have come out of female coworkers' mouths. All of this has made me think: where have all the female role models gone? Seriously! Who or what is it that we have to actually look up to, to see as an example? I feel like we either have moronic, self-centered, materialistic Kardashian-ish women to look up to, or disgusting, profane, crass women to look up to.

Being a member of the LDS church, a mormon, I know several of my peers would suggest that I look up to the General Authorities' wives, the women leaders of our entire church, women from the bible, etc; But I'm going to say something completely honest here. I feel like those women are so extremely far removed from who I am as a woman, in 2016, in her 30s with two young children, who quit the job she loved to be a stay-at-home-mom (and doesn't regret it, and is planning to go back to work some day), who is trying her best day to day, who struggles with depression, who needs to lose weight, who obviously has a yelling and temper problem with her kids, that when I look at all of the above mentioned women, I know I will never measure up. Ever. And I'm okay with that. That doesn't mean I'm a slacker, lazy, or giving up on myself. Far from it!

I'm not a complete jerk. I completely admire and respect these women with all of my heart. They are phenomenal Women of God, angels on earth. Really. I will just never in my entire life be a woman like that, wearing Nancy Reagan suits and pearls to General Conference (I'm a jerk I know, but let's be serious, it is what it is), speaking in sugary-sweet, perfect voices. These are wonderful women, that I know are probably expected to speak and dress a certain way in public, and really do offer their true authentic selves in person and one on one. But I am too sarcastic, a little too irreverent (I get that from my Mom and Grandma, who I happen to think are pretty amazing), make jokes that are probably a little too inappropriate, and many more things, that I will never be like these women. And I don't know if it really bothers me all that much. So then I feel a little bad for that!

So where do we look? I don't have a lot of answers here, honestly. There are actually quite a lot of normal, every day women out there that I admire and look up to. I'm just not sure what we have to look to in the public spectrum. I will say the kind of female role models I hope for are women who aren't afraid to let you see their reality, who aren't obsessed with their physical appearance, who aren't obsessed with maintaining an image of perfect goodness all the freaking time. Women who are real, honest, funny without being profane or disgusting, women who admit to their weaknesses and laugh about it, like maybe yelling or swearing at their kids, all while hoping to do better the next day.

I remember talking to a woman from my church and neighborhood at the park one morning, and she said something to the effect of, "I don't know what it is about becoming a mom that has turned me into someone with a mouth! I never swore before I had kids! I sure do now!" It made me laugh so, so hard. And it gave me a sense of relief. Because from the outside looking in, this woman is a saint. She has been a leader over all of the women in our ward, she is extremely kind and thoughtful of others, she has a compassionate heart ... and she swears. She tries not to, but she does sometimes. And I love her all the more for it.

I suppose what it comes down to is becoming the kind of 'female role model' you want to be. For me that would be someone that is not afraid to voice her opinion, someone that makes others laugh and feel comfortable, a teacher, an educator, (this doesn't mean you actually have to be a for-real teacher to be these things), a volunteer, someone that is strong, brave, healthy, maybe eats a little too much chocolate, swears a little too much, yells at her kids now and then, but is trying her absolute hardest to make it through, one day at a time.
Me being my 'real' dorky self with my family, and pretending to be eaten by a dinosaur at the Dinosaur Park.


Monica Packer said…
You are my female role-model! Great thoughts, Suz!

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