Ever since I can remember, like even in grade school, there’s been debate about “girly” – what is it, where does it come from, is it bad or good… etc
Because girls comprise half of the population, there’s enough variance among us all that it is impossible to have a consensus about… any aspect of this subject. However there is one thing everyone agrees on and that is the question of who influences little girls and how can we get them to be influenced by “positive role models”. Obviously there’s lots of debate and dissension about what “positive role model” actually means but that’s not my issue right now.
The one thing I do know no matter what without a doubt, the thing that influences little girls more than anything else, regardless of culture, nationality or religion is… older girls.
We talk a lot about content exposure and values and other lofty adult ideals but we don’t actually talk much about the practicalities of role models. In fact its seems as if there’s so much focus on defining our roles that we don’t care who is modeling them. And I don’t mean who as in which hollywood star or teen singer, I mean the *type* of person we want as models, the environment they are in and how they fit into the society at large.
Witness some very popular models of the past: Hannah Montana, Dora, Strawberry Shortcake, Britney Spears, Disney princesses… they all have one thing in common regardless of how you judge their morals or values or whatever, they are all girls who are older than their fans. Little girls (and I”m betting little boys but I’m not as educated about their social development and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of heated debate about it) look up to older girls. Pre-teens look up to teens . Teens look up to college kids. College kids look up to “grown ups”. Every section of society and culture has different ways of portraying the idealized version of The Feminine at different developmental stages but the truth is, the age differential is probably the most important demographic of all.