Miley Cyrus. Britney Spears. Selena Gomez. The Kardashians. With stars like these earning most of the headlines, it's only natural to worry that our tween and teen daughters will spend their formative years idolizing women who aren't necessarily worthy of worship. But here's something that might calm you down -- a group of high school girls in a Chicago suburb started a feminist club and made a list of eight women in media whom they consider role models.
Here's whom these girls look up to. Spoiler alert: None of the aforementioned worrisome celebs made the cut.
- Emma Stone
- Zoe Saldana
- Mindy Kaling
- Amy Poehler
- Tina Fey
- Tavi Gevinson (teen founder of Rookie)
- Zooey Deschanel
- Wanda Sykes
While we've been so worried that Miley's weight loss or Britney's meltdowns or Kim's life, in general, have been negatively influencing our daughters, truth is, our girls know what's up, and I'd argue that this group of teens in Illinois is not unique -- I'm sure plenty of teens around the nation realize that there are women who earn headlines and Twitter followers and bikini spreads, then there are women who make us laugh, start businesses, and make news for accomplishments, not nip slips.
In what might be the most positive sign for the future, maybe this is evidence that our teens are smarter than we give them credit for. They're attune to the difference between popularity and paragon, and though they might read the cover story on Miley's gluten-free marriage, they choose to soak in, wheat and all, the second to last page of the publication in which Tina talks about her unruly Greek eyebrows and what it means to run a goddamn TV show all the while, gasp, being a woman.
The list is inspiring. Not only are their role models smart and funny, but they're of all shapes and colors, too. Plus, none has ever had to explain to a judge that the white powder coming out of their shoes wasn't what everyone thought it was. Nor have they starred in a reality TV show.
Like Whitney, I believe the children are our future, and today, for once, I feel pretty good about it.
Do you worry about whom your teen idolizes?