Steve Biddulph, a renowned child psychologist and author, has turned his attention away from his usual topic of ‘how to raise boys’ and is now focusing upon the charming and chaotic world of how to raise girls. In an extract from his new book “Raising Girls”, published in The Sunday Times, Steve cites various reasons for his change in topic, the key one being how he feels the world is a much more challenging and confusing place for young girls trying to become women than it ever has been before. With celebrity culture dominating our news, and tabloids criticising young women at every turn, it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. His solution to this? Simple - women! The crux of his advice is to ensure that young girls have a wealth of strong, female role models, who they can look up to, admire and ask for help from. He calls them “an army of aunts”. So here at HCX we thought we’d ask those who have already made it into so-called “womanhood” for the best female role models they had and what advice they really listened to! The answers range from the inspiring, to the hilarious!
- “I met Clare Francis when I was 26, she was the first woman to sail the Atlantic. She was tiny but had balls of steel. The best piece of advice she gave to me was to have a goal, focus on it, and don’t let anyone stand in your way! At the time I was applying for a new job, I was the only woman to be interviewed and I got the job! Great advice!
- “It has to be my mum. She has always been an advocate of being yourself as a woman; she worked as a transport manager from the age of 19, and despite working with lots of grumpy male lorry drivers, she never took any rubbish from them. She was also a single, wealthy woman who didn’t feel the need to marry young which was the done thing in those days”
- “My English teacher was a strong, independent woman, she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind but she was happily married with an amazing family and beautiful house. I admired her for how honest she was with us, taking inspiration from the Romantics ideology of free love, she encouraged us to sleep around, to make the most of our lives and our youth. She left having a child until later in life, she had travelled the world, studied for a masters, everything. Now she’s doing a job she loves but also has an amazing family.”
- “My nan is in her nineties but is so forward thinking and liberal, she can talk about anything. Her philosophy is to just get on with it, not to mope around or indulge in self-pity for too long when things go wrong. She once told me to not fall in love too hard and wallow, because that’s not what “we do”. She never admired women who let themselves get, as she’d say, ‘silly’ over men.”
- “My mum has always stressed to me the importance of having female friends. Men come and go but friends are for life.”
- “It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you enjoy it and you want to be the best at it.”
- “Singing the Spice Girls, “Put it on, put it on, cause tonight is the night that two become one”, when I was seven didn’t seem like a life lesson, but I later learnt that they’d been drilling the importance of safe sex into me before I even started puberty.”
- “Enjoy being on your own, if you can’t be happy alone how can you expect to be happy with someone”
- “Don’t be afraid to be embarrassed, the regret you’ll feel for not doing something will be worse than the embarrassment from doing it”
- “What would Beyonce do?”
My personal advice, despite consistently ignoring it myself, is to listen to your mum, she is always right! So there you have it, a collection of timeless advice, invaluable to any young girl. But what about you? Who’s your role model?
Photo credits: Beyonce.com, babble.com , wordpress.com