Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Confidence For Girls: Part 2

I think this is an important topic, so today I want to post another idea. It's so simple, but it needs to be said anyway. Girls need good role models in order to develop confidence. If you are trying to teach a girl music,  she needs to have some strong, inspiring role models. In my childhood, it was rare to see a girl playing an instrument on stage. Most of the girls in the music biz were singers, and few of them wrote their own songs. As a child, a few women changed that notion for me. Debbie Gibson was the first female singer-songwriter I remember. I had a picture on my wall of her from a teen magazine, and in the image, Debbie is sitting on her bed with her guitar and notebook paper spread out all over the covers. She has this big, accomplished smile on her face, and something about that image made me want to be like her.

The Bangles were another group of women who helped me to see that women were just as capable as men at making Rock and Roll Music. I loved watching Susannah Hoffs dance around the stage with her Rickenbacher electric guitar. They had that big 80's hair that all the metal bands had. It was awesome to see 4 Women doing the same thing. There were others who helped lead me into a life of music. The ones I remember from childhood are Heart, Mariah Carey (Don't knock her. She had/has some mad crazy vocal skills and the ability to write complex and catchy pop songs), Madonna, and Cyndi Lauper.

I want to start a list of role models for musical girls. Let's go.

1. Patti Smith. Daring, bold, powerful singing voice, isn't afraid to speak up.

2. Joan Jett. (See above description) Also plays the guitar.

3. Kathleen Hanna. Often getting penned as the "Leader of the Riot Grrl Movement," Kathleen Hanna was the leader singer of the early 90's post-punk band "Bikini Kill." She and a slew of other women were tired of the male run punk-rock movement, and so they all decided to start bands and sing about it.

4. Tori Amos. Growing up is hard to do. Sometimes you have to be a girl and spill your feelings even if the boys on the playground call you a baby. Tori took all those tortured emotions every young girl feels at some point in her life, and she turned them into beautiful, melodic prose.

5. Joni Mitchell. The ultimate flower-child, Joni Mitchell is one talented lady. She possesses the talents of communicating feelings through painting, poetry, guitar, piano, and singing. Joni painted the covers of many of her album covers, wrote all the songs, made us feel good with her calming voice, and made us think with her insightful and poetic lyrics.


  1. Michelle, I have a 12 year old daughter and it is very hard to find positive female role models in music and film/tv anymore. It seems most start out in a wholesome way and end up turning into something way too adult for their audience. My daughter plays violin and we have tried to find positive musicians that she can model after. If you want to talk about an artist today that does reflect a positive message in pop/country music, Taylor Swift is a good recommendation for today's younger generation. She put on a great concert last year with a strong message to girls to just be themselves. I also think that so far Paramore has been a good influence musically in my daughter's world. Flyleaf has been another favorite of her's lately...if we are talking about more rock-style music. Some of my favorite groups or songs were by female-fronted bands.

  2. Lisa,
    I agree it is still hard to find good role models. Taylor Swift is a good one. She is capable and smart. My only concern about her is that she doesn't dive into her instrument as much as I would like to see. But she is still really young and has time to develop her skills. Do you know Rebecca Zapen? She is originally from Jacksonville and now lives in the Gulf. She plays violin, guitar, sings, and writes amazing pop and jazz tunes. Please check her out and bring your daughter to one of the shows. Rebecca is in Jacksonville all the time, and she is a great role model for girls.
    Best of luck, and bravo to you for looking out for your daughter's musical well being!