There's nothing wrong with Michele Bachman that two solid weeks of orgasms couldn't cure.That's from Andy Richter, via twitter on August 15, 2011. But hey, it's a joke and he's a comedian, so you should get over it. But rather than go off on some political correctness rant about how this is exquisite sleazebaggery, I think it's time to dust off a theme I've featured before - Female Role Models. here are links to installments one, two and three. To refresh your memory, the criteria I use for selecting people is simple. I look for:
Someone an online mom can show her daughter and say, "See her? See what she's doing? See how she's living in the same world you are, with the same challenges you have, and see how she succeeds? THAT is how you do this. THAT is what I stand for. I want you to be like HER."This time around I got some input from Joanne Bamberger and Heather Barmore - they've invited me to be on a proposed panel on women in politics for SXSW 2012. (I hope you will consider voting for it.) The original inspiration for this "series" came from a related news item, and given their interest and expertise it made sense. So here are a few people who are active in social media and have already done more in their lives than Richter can ever hope to.
Kelli Best Oliver. Lots of people homeschool their kids because they're not happy with the state of their community's education options. Kelli had similar concerns, and as a former teacher, one might think she'd do that as well. But she took a different approach - she helped found a public charter school in St. Louis. South City Preparatory Academy opened its doors earlier this year. Like a lot of schools, South City Prep has a motto written in Latin on its crest, but theirs is "Veni. vidi. vici." - I came. I saw. I conquered. Kelli was also captain of the women's soccer team at Truman State (excuse me, I meant three-time conference champion Truman State) and works with a local non-profit to help reduce the impact of sexual assault and relationship violence. She's also a pretty cool food critic, and knows all the best burgers in the St. Louis area.
Jeanne Garbarino. She's the honorary captain of the #scimom team. Try to say this sentence out loud in one breath - I got it from her bio at The Incubator: "When not changing diapers and playing princess, Jeanne is researching the process of intracellular cholesterol transport as it relates to human health and disease in the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University." What I find really appealing about Jeanne is she's trying to build bridges between mom bloggers and science bloggers - she hosts a new feature at her blog called "Momday" where mom bloggers guest post and get exposure to her audience. I've been trying to build that bridge for some time now, but she's better at it - you know, because she actually is a mom and she actually is a scientist, while I'm just some PR dude.
Karen Walrond. Photographers can be role models too. Especially those who work tirelessly to find beauty in everyone. And their work inspires the Own Your Beauty Campaign at BlogHer. And those who go to Kenya to help raise awareness about the challenges moms face there. And those who happen to be an engineer and an attorney, but right now happen to find more value and meaning in this kind of work.
Leah Peterson. I look at Leah's writing and the word that comes to my mind is "courageous." Mental illness remains a stubborn and difficult topic for so many people, but Leah shares a lot of her personal experiences with it to help break down stigma. She founded realmental.org - to help others share their experiences and draw support from friends as well. She has also helped bring issues about mental illness to a more mainstream audience, as a consultant to the Showtime series United States of Tara. Leah is also an accomplished photographer and artist as well as an author and magazine publisher. When things get tough Leah takes a breath and moves on. We could all learn from her.
Emily Zaler. She's the entrepreneur on the list. I learned about Emily from her brother, a former colleague of mine. Emily was a Division 1 Women's soccer player until a knee injury ended her collegiate athletic career. That kind of abrupt change can really mess with your head, but Emily channeled her competitive spirit into business and is now a successful personal trainer and fitness model with her own product line, cookbook, and feature in Oxygen Magazine. She uses a lot of social media tools to build her business, and she's positioned herself as an industry leader - in her early 20's.
Maybe Andy Richter could do something useful and give these women a shout-out on Twitter.