WEEKEND columnist Nikki Owen is in awe of Taylor Swift
The subject of role models is big in our house. When I say 'in our house' I mean with me. The kids, our girls, couldn't give two hoots about who they are or aren't supposed to look up to.
As long as they're supplied with a constant stream of chocolate on a Friday they'll nod yes to anything I ask them when I stand in front of the TV to block their view (it's the only way we can get their attention).
It normally wouldn't bother me, except now they are growing. The eldest is on the cusp of secondary school, a time where she will leave the house and journey on a bus without me. Delirious, as she'll be, at the thought of utter, unadulterated, unsupervised freedom.
While she doesn't seek role models now, I know she will – and then what?
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Show me a boy and I'll show you a truck load of men he can aspire to. Sport? Try Usain Bolt. Politics? Barack Obama. Art? Damien Hirst. But girls? Women? My mind goes blank.
And so to the singer, Taylor Swift. There are many things I like about Taylor Swift. She has nice hair. She can dance. She can belt out a decent tune without, apparently, the aid of on-stage technical magic.
So far so, like, whatever. But here's the thing: the girl is no pushover.
At 13, Swift was on the payroll of Sony as one of its songwriters. And now, at just 23, Forbes has listed her as the world's 11th highest earning person in showbusiness, only a few places behind Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. Way ahead of Beyonce and Sir Paul McCartney.
This girl is smart, driven. She writes all her own material. She is intelligent. She's clean, doesn't do drugs and from all reports is nice, despite the odd celebrity boyfriend.
It's her determination that makes me forget, momentarily, that she's a singer and therefore not the default role model of choice for my daughters.
Yet, Swift makes me realise this: there are women in many guises out there to aspire to.
Despite the toe-curling reality TV wannabes, women have brains, focus, motivation.
So when my daughters eventually seek a role model, I'll not worry. Because, out there, women exist, living, breathing, singing reminders that we are all one thing: equal.
Follow Nikki's blog at http://www.nikkiowen.wordpress.com