There has been some discussion in the media about role models for young women.
In previous columns, I have stressed the importance of having worthwhile role models for youngsters and, in particular, how we steer society away from the notion of the All Blacks being New Zealand's ultimate figures to look up to.
But I admit, being a bloke, I couldn't help but think of male-centric role models.
Part of the difficulty is that young women - and these days, down to children level - are bombarded with far more "you must do/be" messages than men.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Men are basically told you shouldn't cry, be staunch, drink beer and get loads of dates. The "be staunch" message has its own pitfalls, considering the suicide issue in New Zealand among young men. But generally, a Kiwi guy can be someone who says "yeah, nah", be a bit rumpled and overweight, and indifferent to advertising his waist size on the outside of his jeans.
Sure, men do get some advertising pressure. Perhaps gay men are more susceptible to it. I can remember debating in the'90s whether to get a full wax like a Calvin Klein model, but then was reassured that if James Bond had a hairy chest, then it was okay. Men would not say no to looking like today's Bond, played by Daniel Craig, but we shrug our shoulders because we all know it's unrealistic.
So, who are the role models for young women?
There is the worry that some of the extreme female behaviour seen on Jersey Shore and Keeping up with the Kardashians is something to emulate, but I think (and hope) that youngsters watch it more to have a laugh and ridicule it - and feel glad they don't behave like that. There is imagery out there that makes women feel bad about themselves, but I think those shows do the opposite.
Our Facebook page responses showed that women considered their mothers and older siblings to be their role models. It suggests women like role models who exhibit stability and a sensible maturity, and are above petty pressures and consumerism.
Kipling once said that if you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs, you'll be a man. But women are leaders as well, and it's wonderful when one comes into your life.