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Role Model Definition Essay Outline

We talk about role models and whether she is one. Times, Sunday Times (2016)You are her mum and her most important role model. The Sun (2016)We all need role models to look up to. Times, Sunday Times (2016)Role models from the realworld are vital. The Sun (2017)Instead of treating them as commoncriminalsuspects they should be lauded as role models. The Sun (2016)How do you feel about being a female role model? The Sun (2017)He was always a great role model to me. Times, Sunday Times (2016)And a newgenerationsets its sightshigher because it has you as a role model. Times, Sunday Times (2017)She's such a good role model. The Sun (2016)A good role model,' she says before comingback to her point. Times, Sunday Times (2016)Their personaltrainer is also a good role model. The Sun (2014)Where are the real role models for young people? The Sun (2010)They are role models to young people with the coverage they get. The Sun (2015)They are much more important role models in the business. Times, Sunday Times (2012)Good role models are the key to raising the often poorstandardsfoundtoday. Times, Sunday Times (2011)People from deprived areas usually have no positive role models to follow. Times, Sunday Times (2007)Now he is banking on his new role model. Times, Sunday Times (2012)This man is not a good role model. The Sun (2010)He is as good a role model as you can get. The Sun (2014)The importance of role models for young people is often emphasised.Claudia Hammond EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER: A Journey Through the Science of Feelings (2005)Role models are an important way of helping and encouraging you.Harris, Jean Everything You Need to Know for Success in Business (1990)Staff here could not have wished for a betterstudent and role model. Times, Sunday Times (2009)He could certainly do with a good male role model and fatherfigure. The Sun (2015)His actionsseriously jeopardised his position as a role model for young people. Times, Sunday Times (2010)She is a role model for young women. The Sun (2012)It makes me realise how important role models are to them. Times, Sunday Times (2015)Our preachingstyle is likely a combination of respected role models. Christianity Today (2000)And he gets up early and works hard and is thus a good role model to this landlordtwice his age. Times, Sunday Times (2010)Quiet and unassuming, he was a top role model. The Sun (2015)The best part of Olympicmania is the emergence of a raft of new female role models. Times, Sunday Times (2012)Let us hope these amazing female Olympiansprovide new narratives and role models for the future. Times, Sunday Times (2012)Some people want to be famousactors or singers, and these people regard celebrities as their top role models. Times, Sunday Times (2007)A supportiveculture and role models are clearly top of the wish list when women consider doing MBAs. Times, Sunday Times (2008)It's extremely important for me that more women try to follow a role model who's doing positive things. The Sun (2014)

A role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.[1] The term "role model" is credited to sociologist Robert K. Merton, who coined the phrase during his career.[2][3] Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires.[4] An example being the way young fans will idolize and imitate professional athletes or entertainment artists.

In the second half of the twentieth century, U.S. advocates for workplace equity popularized the term and concept of role models as part of a larger social capital lexicon—which also includes terms such as glass ceiling, networking, mentoring, and gatekeeper—serving to identify and address the problems barring non-dominant groups from professional success. Mainstream business literature subsequently adopted the terms and concepts, promoting them as pathways to success for all career climbers. In 1970 these terms were not in the general American vocabulary; by the mid-1990s they had become part of everyday speech.[5] Although the term "role model" has been criticized more recently as "outdated",[6] the term and its associated responsibility remains prominent in the public consciousness as a commonly used phrase, and a "powerful presence" in the entertainment industry and media.[7]

Effect on career opportunity and choice[edit]

A person's chosen role models may have a considerable impact on his or her career opportunities and choices. The suitability of a role model depends, in part, on the admirer’s perceived commonality with the model, who should provide an image of an ambitious yet realistic goal. For example, Benjamin Franklin served as the role model for countless nineteenth-century white businessmen, including such notables as Thomas Mellon, B.F. Goodrich, and Frederick Weyerhäuser. Later, the lack of commonalities between potential role models and would-be admirers helped perpetuate barriers to American minorities and women as they tried to advance in a business world dominated by white men, thus spurring late twentieth-century efforts to develop suitable role models for these groups.[5]

Role models show significant effects on female students' self-confidence in pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) fields. The gender difference between role models and female students has shown to have no significant effect on student attitudes, whereas perceived dissimilarity with stereotypical role models showed a negative effect on self-confidence in pursuing STEM careers. Perceived similarity with non-stereotypical role models (of either gender) shows a positive effect on self-confidence to succeed in STEM occupations.[8]

Parent role models also significantly influence a person's "education and training aspirations, task self-efficacy, and expectancy for an entrepreneurial career".[9]

Celebrity role models[edit]

The ever-widening reach of the media in popular culture has elevated certain celebrities to worldwide acclaim. This boom of media coverage and constant exposure to these individuals resulted in a change of mindset toward celebrities in both adults and youth alike. According to a survey of teachers in the United Kingdom conducted in 2008 by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, young people most frequently chose sports stars as role models, followed by pop stars. Many, however, simply aspired to be "famous for being famous", believing that fame and fortune could be easily accessed through reality television.[10]


Community role models are often overlooked and scarce. Teachers and parents fill this gap and are considered a central influence to a child’s upbringing and future success. Teachers, because of the large amount of time spent with children, have such a huge impact on children that they're being advised to be likeable in order to build strong emotional relationships with children.[11] Research has shown that role models as teachers and doctors encourage people's support for tobacco ban more effectively and directly than policy promotion.[12] Some community role models like the ones in western communities are usually experts in a certain field. Whereas in other communities, like in indigenous communities, role models are often based on career choice (like teachers, doctors, etc.) but by demonstrating to others how to do something for example in indigenous Mexican communities parents take their children from newborns to work. Anybody from the community has the potential to become a role model.

Athlete role models[edit]

There is significant discussion as to whether athletes should be considered role models.[13] Some athletes have been asked to behave as if they were role models for their local communities,[14] and some such as Hank Greenberg have deliberately tried to set a good example[15] but generally regarding athletes as role models has been criticised due to their appointment often being based solely on sporting ability rather than any morality[16][17] — it has been suggested that the discipline and control shown continuously by sportspeople on the field leads to a belief from viewers that these same qualities are continuously shown off the field. These and other factors such as the elements of competition, excitement and success are what make people want to emulate them.[18]Charles Barkley has stated that he believes athletes are not the figures that children should be emulating and that it is the parent's responsibility to be role models,[14] that the role is deliberately applied by the media out of jealousy in order to make life more difficult for sportspeople, and that it sets up the sportspeople as an unattainable target for most.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^"Role model". Random House, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  2. ^Kaufman, Michael T. "Robert K. Merton, Versatile Sociologist and Father of the Focus Group, Dies at 92". New York Times. New York Times, 2003. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  3. ^Calhoun, Craig J., (ed.) (2010). Robert K. Merton: Sociology of Science and Sociology as Science. New York: Columbia UP. ISBN 978-0-231-15112-2. 
  4. ^Gerald Holton (4 December 2004). "Robert K. Merton - Biographical Memoirs"(PDF). Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 148 (4): 506–517. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2007-08-07.  
  5. ^ abLaird, Pamela Walker (2006). Pull: Networking and Success since Benjamin Franklin. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674025530. 
  6. ^Whannel, Garry (2013). Media Sport Stars: Masculinities and Moralities. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781134698714. 
  7. ^Tomlinson, Alan (2010). A Dictionary of Sports Studies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199213818. 
  8. ^Published online before print April 15, 2011, doi: 10.1177/1948550611405218 Social Psychological and Personality Science November 2011 vol. 2 no. 6 656-664
  9. ^Robert F. Scherer, et al. "Role Model Performance Effects on Development of Entrepreneurial Career Preference." Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice 13.3 (1989): 53-71.
  10. ^"The Beckhams are the celebrities most children aspire to be, as celebrity culture increases its influence, says ATL". Association of Teachers and Lecturers. 14 March 2008. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2011. 
  11. ^Pierson, Rita. "Every Kid Needs A Champion". Retrieved 2014-05-20. 
  12. ^Yang, XY (2014). "Impact of role models and policy exposure on support for tobacco control policies in hangzhou, china". American Journal of Health Behavior. 
  13. ^"Storytelling: Can a sports hero be a role model? Yes, thankfully". 
  14. ^ abSteinberg, Leigh. "Why Do We Make Athletes Role Models?". 
  16. ^"Dobie: Athletes aren't automatic role models". 
  17. ^"The New Sports Role Model". 
  18. ^"Op-Ed: Winning Isn't Everything – The Tiger Woods Brand". April 3, 2012.