Guest Author - Brandi Rhoades
In light of recent news about Miley Cyrus, one of the “good” role models purportedly out there for teen girls, I began thinking of ways I can, as a non-celebrity, run-of-the-mill, woman can influence the girls in my life.
Most of us likely know a teenaged girl or two who could use good role models, and that says nothing of our daughters. I’ve been brainstorming about ways to stem the tide of negative influence to help our nation’s daughters grow up to be more confident and successful. Here are a few ideas I’d like to share with you:
Limit exposure to commercialized media.
Media images of girls and women still tilt toward objectification. Current television shows offer little in the way of ambitious, successful girls. These images rarely show the types of images we need to be providing for our daughters. While adults often can filter through media images, children and teens don’t have the life experience to do so completely, and reducing the exposure to these powerful messages helps girls develop their sense of self.
Introduce your daughter to successful women.
One of the best ways to show your daughter what she can be is to offer her proof. Many women in male-dominated fields are happy to talk to young girls interested in these types of careers. Find a female engineer who will talk to your science-minded daughter or a woman doctor who may give her pointers.
Encourage your daughter in the pursuit of her interests.
Nothing bothers me more than people who stress about my toddler daughter’s love of trains. Particularly for girls interested in traditionally male pursuits, a push into these areas may help her shed any inhibitions she has remaining about her interests. Gently guide the girls in your life to explore whatever interests they may have.
Limit gender stereotyping.
Most of us, despite our best intentions, are products of gender indoctrination. Limiting the control you wield over the gender-appropriateness of your daughter’s play in particular is beneficial. Get her a tool set along with a doll as a preschooler. Encourage her to read Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great along with Hatchet.
Model the type of ambition you’d like to see.
Be the mother, grandmother, aunt, or friend who represents what you want for young girls. Living up to your own potential and removing obstacles from your path will give the young girls in your life a real-life example of how they can lead their own lives.