For the fourth year, What To Do With The Kids® asked people to let us know who they think have been the best and worst role models for kids this year. Although it has never been hard to find nominees for the worst, this year we encouraged people to look outside the world of celebrities for people they think have actually been good role models. Over 900 people submitted their choices through our website and social media.
Popularity seems to play a big role in what people feel are good and bad role models. In our 2012 report, Usain Bolt (#2) and Michael Phelps (#4) were coming off great Olympic performances and were thought of as good role models for boys but we haven’t heard from them since. Paris Hilton was the number pick for worst role model for girls in 2011 but has not been on the list since because (thankfully) she has been keeping a low profile, at least by her standards.
Many people believe there is a difference between fame and notoriety, especially when it comes to picking the worst role models. Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Chris Brown and even Kanye West were and are famous because they are talented performers but have said or done stupid things.
Notoriety today is best described as a “Kardashian,” and now a “Jenner.” It should be noted that before he joined the reality TV world, Bruce Jenner was an Olympic gold medal winner in the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Every other Jenner however has received their notoriety as a result of the Kardashian’s notoriety, who in turn has received theirs from Kim Kardashian, who achieved her own notoriety through a sex tape. Get that?
Since we asked people to look outside the world of celebrity for good role models, many said it was quite a difficult thing to do. Other than Michele Obama and Malala Yousufzai , there were only a handful of nominations outside of Hollywood. A number of people however felt that it was important for girls to have role models that were not a part of the Hollywood scene and although they did not gather enough votes to make the top 5, they are listed below.
Here now are the best and worst role models for kids in 2014:
Best Role Model for Girls
1. Jennifer Lawrence, Actress
2. Michele Obama, First Lady
3. Taylor Swift, Singer & actress
4. Malala Yousufzai , Pakistani activist for the rights of girls
5. Mayim Bialik, Actress (Big Bang Theory), author & Nueroscientist
Best Role Model for Boys
1. Justin Timberlake, Singer & actor
2. One Direction, Musicians
3. Peyton Manning, Football player
4. Josh Hutcherson, Actor
5. Bradley Cooper, Actor
Worst Role Model for Girls
1. Kim Kardashian, Reality TV star
2. Miley Cyrus, Actress & singer
3. Niki Minaj, Singer
4. Lindsay Lohan, Actress & Singer
5. Amanda Bynes, Actress
Worst Role Model for Boys
1. Kanye West, Singer
2. Justin Beiber, Singer
3. Robin Thicke, Singer
4. Chris Brown, Singer
5. Ryan Lochte, Reality TV star & Olympic athlete
The following is a list of non-celebrities who were nominated but did not make the top list. Many said that these women are positive role-models for girls and that they should be given the same amount of media exposure as celebrities. They come from the world of politics, business, philanthropy and social media. With any luck, girls will start admiring them instead of those with notoriety. They are:
Melinda Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State, Former First Lady
Marissa Myers, President & CEO of Yahoo!, Former Executive of Google
Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation
Meg Whitman, Chairman & CEO, Hewlet-Packard
Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx