Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Female Role Models?

I took a quick break after yoga this afternoon to check out the iVillage Feedroom, which has a bunch of quick video interviews from famous women on things like business, role models, money, etc.. Hearing Martha Stewart talk about business and her various role models was definitely inspiring, but it caused me to realize something:

I don't think I have any female role models—at least, in a business sense.

How did this happen? Part of it, I think, is that I'm in a profoundly male-dominated career—with the exception of Molly E. Holzschlag, there just aren't that many web design rock stars out there, and on the owning-a-design-studio front, there's only a few that I know of that have really made it "big," so to speak. So all of my business and design role models have been primarily male—Neil Tortorella, Peleg Top, and of course, Jeffrey Zeldman (if that man only knew how much code I've stolen from him!).

But this also begs the question: does one NEED a role model? And does that role model have to be of your gender?

My thought is yes. Part of my challenge is I'm a woman in this business, and there are regrettably few women who make it to the big leagues and stay there; at least, without losing whatever femininity they once posessed. That tends to make things more difficult—your life is full of women who are struggling to do it for themselves, and you don't get to see the wild, genre-shaping success stories that you see with male designers (think Paul Rand, Stefan Sagmeister, and the like). Seeing all this glory on the "other side of the fence" makes it harder to see yourself as a successful design entrepreneur.

Perhaps this is my destiny—to become a female role model, and to find other women who are acting as role models for designers and entrepreneurs.

Of course, I could just be rambling.


Jamel said...

My role models are both male and female before reading your post I suppose I never really thought about the fact that they were male or female, just good web designers.

Here are links to a few of my role models that happen to be female.

Rose Pietrovito

Brooke Nuñez

Julia Bales

Jenny Dean

Amber McArthur

Megan said...

You're one of my role models! Not only for owning your own design business (which I definitely want to do someday) - but for being so committed to your ideals and making sustainability part of your business. As a fellow tree-hugger, I truly admire when people mesh their ideals with reality and live them. I look up to you and hope someday to do something similar - get out there and make a difference through design. :)