November 26, 2007

Nominate a female role model?

Apropos of the post below, maybe it's worth devoting a whole post / comment section to this topic, since it must get boring to hear guys talk about how wonderful 20 year-olds are -- what are females supposed to do when they reach their mid-late 20s? Off the top of my head, I suggested fashion editor Giovanna Battaglia, just because she looks like she has her stuff together, is elegant, and seems amiable. Danica McKellar, who you know as Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years, turns out to be a math nerd, and she also looks put together and confident. There is also human geneticist Pardis Sabeti, who you can watch speak about recent human evolution here -- again, poised, elegant, pretty humble, and plays in a rock band. Blogger / commenter Thursday will surely nominate Gwen Stefani.

There must be many others I don't know about, as well as some I'm blanking on this moment, so in the comments, can readers nominate more role models for females who (like most of us) aren't exposed to many examples of women who age gracefully? The basic criteria are simply these:

- Is at least 27 years old, preferably not one of the few who still look 20.

- Has accomplished something in their field, no matter how seemingly trivial (she could be a professor with no publications, for example!). Just to show that she's set her mind to something difficult and achieved it.

- Is not flaky -- no committed believers of astrology or psychoanalysis.

- Treats strangers with a pleasant, agreeable temper.

- Puts sufficient effort into her personal appearance, whether traditional or more contemporary, but something feminine that younger women would want to emulate.

- Tends toward modesty and humility rather than bragging and attention-whoring.

You get the idea. I want to have lots of names I can suggest, since the need to do so arises all the time. The NYT ran a story not long ago showing that high school girls know that most of the celebrities they see are drugged-up skanks, and though that awareness is encouraging, we still need a positive alternative to provide them with. Ditto for college-aged and early 20-something girls. One or two of the readers fall into this demographic -- last time this topic came up, we kicked around general qualities that any civilized guy would prize, but since then have you found concrete examples of women who others should know about?


  1. this is a tough one, but any pretty elementary school teacher with a strong maternal instinct will work as a role model.

    realistically, she'd have to be famous, hot, and young before any impressionalbe girls will look up to her, and that really limits the choices because satisfying those three criteria means she will likely be an attention whore. (i'd nominate cindy crawford, but she was a supermodel and it doesn't get more attention whorish than that.)

    perhaps tori amos?

  2. tori amos, lisa loeb, alanis types, i agree.

  3. Not Alanis. She's a wierdo.

  4. julianne moore... i mean she's not skanky and she's very pretty, carries herself well.

  5. Hedy Lamarr.

    Movie star. Glamorous Seductress. Co-patented a basic form of spread spectrum communications technology.

  6. thandie newton . she has an audrey hepburnish quality. aishwarya rai , also majored in architecture.
    alicia keys .

  7. 1. Musicians
    In addition to Stefani, I'd like to nominate both Sade and Sheryl Crow, good artists who have avoided the usual entertainment industry scandals. They are both pretty and have a certain style. I might include Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries too.

    Don't forget Hope Sandoval.

    I wouldn't rule out country artists. I'd like to include Emmylou Harris, though she's had a couple divorces. I might include the likes of Faith Hill and Shania Twain too. They aren't nearly as good of$ artists, but they still have some achievment. A lot of great female country artists from Patsy Cline to Loretta Lynn to Dolly Parton to Tammy Wynette to Tanya Tucker to now Gretchen Wilson have all been pretty trashy in their own ways, but those two have done well to avoid the traps of fame.

    90s female artists I'd like to include, but can't might be:

    Liz Phair (quickie marriage with child, foul mouthed)
    Shirley Manson (bit of a wierdo)
    Tori Amos (wierdo)
    Bjork (wierdo)
    The Deal Sisters (Kelly was on drugs, Kim now looks awfully matronly)
    Sarah McLaughlin (now annoyingly mooney and feministy)

    The 90s had a lot of good female artists, but I exclude the not particularly attractive or the obviously crazy. I have great admiration for Courtney Love and the Veruca Salt girls for example, but as people they are complete trainwrecks.

    Last, but certainly not least, is amazing Portuguese fado singer Mariza. She is fabulously beautiful and an incredible singer. I can't absolutely vouch for her character, but I couldn't find anything scandalous about her on the internet. I attended a concert of hers in Toronto a couple years ago and it was the most amazing performance I have ever seen. Every movement was perfection. As far as I'm concerned, she is the sexiest female artist out there working in any medium.

    2. Actresses and models
    I wouldn't nominate anyone in this category. I don't know as being either of these things is really an accomplishment.

    (As an aside, Julianne Moore has good looks but also has to be about the chilliest, least sexy actress out there.)

    3. Professors
    The best looking, yet accomplished female professor I know of is Amy Chua at Yale.

    Mariza 1
    Mariza 2
    Mariza 3

  8. Carrie Underwood. An all-American girl.

  9. also, in the same vein as danica mckellar - mythbusters kari byron (youtubed here ) & jade raymond -some video

  10. oh, i forgot to add kirsten "kiki" sanford who's almost as cool an academic as pardis.

    agnostic - actually, that website in the link,, seems to feature tons of profiles of smart, accomplished, and attractive young women. You might find some good candidates there.

  11. The best looking, yet accomplished female professor I know of is Amy Chua at Yale.

    harvard's lisa randall (physics) and columbia's maria chudnovsky (math) are very attractive too.

  12. Cate Blanchett (that description: "She's a grownup, radiating an aristocracy that has no fancy airs, just a warm, alert intelligence" says it all) & Kate Winslet - It's always a good sign when you ask a woman her favorite actress & she picks one of these two who are mostly lionized for their prodigious talent & grace rather than for any tabloid antics.

    BTW, I disagree with the earlier comment that being an actress isn't an accomplishment. Just having the job title isn't, but developing the talent & skill involved in turning in a great performance (which can be as potent a work of art as any song or painting) certainly is.

    And let me add GNXP favorite Mélissa Theuriau.

  13. Mélissa Theuriau

    How could I have forgotten her?!

  14. they aren't quite on the(visual) level of the incomprehensibly attractive theuriau, but some reporters that have done really impressive work and are very lovely in manner and appearance are cnn/pbs/bbc's daljit dhaliwal , who might have as many crazed fans as theuriau, bbc world's mishal husain , and 60 minutes foreign correspondent lara logan .

  15. tina fey - smart, talented writer & performer, very accomplished w/o being a famewhore or putting out trashy work and has cred among (and more accessible to) the target demographic

  16. She's too old to impress girls now, but Meryl Streep is just a superior human being:

    13 Oscar nominations
    4 kids
    1 husband

  17. streep might be too old to impress the average girl now, but she's definitely still a role model and example for many female actresses who are actually young enough to have an impact on girls. the aforementioned blanchett & winselt have both cited streep as a role model.

  18. Anousheh Ansari - she gave a talk at my university & we all thought she was amazing. Very humble and down to earth too despite all her fame and achievements.

  19. Marissa Mayer is probably the most well-known female engineer/techie in the US due to being one of the public faces of google. Anyway, she's lovely, inside & out, and in addition to her work at Google, serves as a role model to college age girls through her work as a professor & her science/tech undergrad education activism.

  20. "Dolores O'Riordan of The Cranberries"

    Disqualified for "playing" a prop piano onstage during concerts in the past.


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