This is such a silly question to ask, don’t you think? Like, why wouldn’t a man pick a woman as his role model? Why wouldn’t a man see qualities or traits or habits in a successful woman and want to emulate them?
Yet, every time I ask a guy I know if he has any female role models I hear answers like:
“Yeah, I totally do. Wonder Woman.”
Or the more common answer, “My mom is my role model.”
Aw, that’s so sweet. But that’s not at all what I mean. Our parents are usually role models, that’s kinda how that works. But once you’re out of the house, learning to be the person you want to be, as you gaze across our culture looking for inspiration and examples, and you see someone and say to yourself, “There! There’s someone I want to be like!”
How often does a man pick a woman as that person?
The other day I was walking with a friend. During a lull in our conversation I asked him who his female role model is. I decided to assume he could or should have one and skipped ahead to the question of who is she?
Most of my friends expect out-of-the-blue questions from me. And they usually don’t balk at them, either. They don’t shrug them off. It’s like a game we play — a fun distraction from whatever adult concerns presently cloud our minds. But not this time. My friend shrugged me off. So I asked him again when we were a little further down the block.
This time I rephrased it. “Growing up, who were the women you wanted to be like?”
My friend started to speak. Hesitated. Thought about his answer some more. He knitted his brow in thoughtful consternation. After a few more paces, he turned, looked at me. There was a somewhat embarrassed look in his eye.