This article provided some really good “food for thought” ( especially as our team embarks on our 1st Annual Beauty In/Beauty Out Tour that celebrates the beauty in women in leadership. While we are definitely living in a day and age where the term “role model” has been greatly skewed (most teens are “looking up” to L’il Wayne or Justin Bieber, or Rihanna, instead of aspiring to be the next great scientist or doctor), there is yet another level of “skewedness” (hmmm…not sure if that is a real word…but I will use it anyway) that is happening:  Are men programmed to be ASHAMED of recognizing a woman as a role model?

Going back to the article above, the young male writer candidly and bravely talks about admiring women such as Hilary Clinton, but she [Hilary Clinton] was often thought of as a “ball-buster” by many of his male counterparts. Some men are even immediately called “gay” if they openly regard and admire women for their works and efforts. Are we back in the 50’s where a woman’s worth and “efforts” were solely tied to how much time she spent in the kitchen or in the laundry room?

However, it is A-OK for women to admire and even want to emulate MALE role models.  To admire Barack Obama or Tim Tebow, or Quentin Tarantino is fine, regardless of gender. What message does this send to men as they view their own wives, daughters, or mothers? Are we doing more damage to the minds of future husbands and fathers and creating a “backwards thinking” generation? Is the work of past trailblazers who fought hard to give some equality to women, at risk?

While it is VERY important (and getting harder and harder to find) for young women to have other POSITIVE women to look up and for young men to have POSITIVE men to look up to, let’s not be short-sighted. In a current society where the minds of young people are being constantly fed that bad behavior is acceptable if you are young, rich, and famous….the real ‘valuable commodity’ is a person — male or female — that still values the mindsets and attitudes of others and understands that their actions influence not just one generation but MANY generations to follow.