Thursday, January 26, 2012

Role Models In YA and Real Life

So, last night I was working on my new WIP and query while having the show Toddlers & Tiaras on in the background. Normally, I really don't pay attention to the show. It's just on for noise while I work. Something that won't distract me so I can get what I am working on done. This time however, I was totally distracted and mad as a bull seeing red!

If you didn't see last night's season finale, you didn't miss much. Just watch any of the shows and you've got it. The only thing that got me was mother's putting their young daughters on diets just for a pageant! Not because they were unhealthy. But because they wanted them to be thin enough to win. Then the pageant director actually said, and I quote, "Nobody wants to see a chubby child on stage. We want the Barbie." I was in shock! Then it got worse when she added, "Pageants aren't for the poor." And, "You have to be a pretty girl to win a pageant. If you're not a pretty girl, then you need to find something else." That's when I decided that I was ashamed to be from the same state as this woman.

After calming down, I began to think about role models. I've heard people talk about how YA author's don't write great role models for teens. That we are giving them the idea that it's okay to do the things we write in books. Well, if I write about a girl who is strong enough to be herself, I think that's a great role model.

If we as authors wrote about a girl being put on a diet for a pageant, parents would throw a fit. But when it's done in real life, it's ignored. To me, that's damaging a child's self esteem. I can't wrap my head around how a made up character can be a bad role model when a parent forcing their child to be like Barbie is only helping their child's self esteem. I may be wrong, but isn't that only telling your child that they have to be perfect and have money to be somebody?

YA characters can help a child who is going through the same thing that the character is to accept what is going on or see a way out. They can identify with the character and realize that just because somebody tells them that they're not beautiful because they're the chubby kid, that that person is wrong. They don't have to be Barbie to be somebody. They don't even have to have money to be happy.

YA characters can tell a child all of that. So can real life people. I'd love to see a world where what people looked like or how much money they had didn't matter. Where little kids can eat that slice of pizza without somebody yelling that they're going to get fat. I want the role models of my youth. Like my Mom who always told me that it didn't matter what everybody thought about me. That it only mattered what I thought about myself. She always told me to be a good person and treat others with kindness and respect. That's the role models I like to write and like for children to be around in real life.

What do you think? Who was your role models?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everybody!!

1 comment:

  1. I tried watchin' that show,n it just pissed me off!I can't see this bein' done to a child,I myself,think really most of thee kids don't even wanna do it,they will have to be adults soon enough,let em be kids!