In her bio “Ladies First : Revelations of a Strong Woman,” Queen Latifah writes that she wants people “to see me as someone who is proud and comfortable with who I am…. Be secure in yourself.
“You don’t need me – or any other public person, for that matter – to validate you.”
[Her more recent book is Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom.]
Marisa Tomei on Gena Rowlands
But role models can be inspiring.
Marisa Tomei has said that as an actor she has long admired Gena Rowlands for her work, and as a woman: “Her performances are so detailed – no color is left out.
“She’s ferocious, beautiful, elegant, compassionate, funny, sexy. A broad in the best sense of the word – that’s what I aspire to be.” [InStyle, Oct 2004]
Positive female role models
But how many positive female – rather than male – role models are really prominent in the culture?
Kathleen Noble, Ph.D. points out in her book The Sound of a Silver Horn: Reclaiming the Heroism in Contemporary Women’s Lives that “while women and girls can derive strength and inspiration from stories of heroic men, the dearth of similar stories about women leaves many of us believing that should we strive for adventure and self-awareness, we have no alternative but to model ourselves after – or be rescued by – men.
“The stereotype of the heroine reinforces the restrictive attitudes toward women in patriarchal cultures.
“The power of this myth makes it extremely difficult for women to be seen as strong, resourceful, courageous, and real, the ingredients of true heroic stature.”