On role models
So often people talk about what terrible role models Rihanna and Nicki Minaj are, and what great role models Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift are. To which I have to say…really?
Taylor Swift writes most of her songs about men she’s dated. She is cunning and saavy, especially when it comes to manipulating the media, but she hides that in order to maintain her sweet, “all-American” image. Selena Gomez is most famous for her relationship with Justin Beiber.
Rihanna has long maintained that she does not want to be a role model. She is young and living her life, and she owns her mistakes. She is unapologetic about her success. Nicki Minaj, whether on Twitter or in interviews, constantly reminds girls to succeed in school. She has made it clear that she is first and foremost a businesswoman looking after her family. After being betrayed and raped by ex-boyfriends, she has remained single for the past ten years. She started writing rhymes and rapping as a means to cope with her life, and she was eventually discovered when she posted her music on MySpace. Her life story is one of resilience and perseverance despite the odds.
The problem isn’t that Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are role models. The problem is that we don’t allow women to be complex. We don’t allow different women with different life stories to be considered role models because we fear that complexity. God forbid they define their lives in terms other than men.