This summer, the media were in a constant state of euphoria over Team GB’s success. In the midst of such celebrations, journalists and social commentators fixated on the ‘real’ role models that the Olympics appeared to offer girls and young women. Victoria Pendleton, Jessica Enis and Laura Trott, among others, were held up as ‘authentic’ ‘empowering’ and ‘inspiring’ figures for young female audiences. For example, Girlguiding UK capitalized on the global media spotlight on the Olympic sportswomen’s success to launch their ‘Real Role Models’ campaign. These Olympic heroines have been presented as positive alternatives to the seemingly vacuous Reality TV stars, glamour models and WAG wannabees dominating popular culture.
This summer young people aged 16 across England and Wales had confidence in their examination results undermined by being given different grades than would have been awarded in January for the same work. Now UK Education Minister Michael Gove can position himself as the restorer of faith in our academic system by announcing an end to modular assessments and multiple exam boards and their replacement from 2017 with new single end of course examinations and just one government-endorsed exam board.
Who comes to mind when we think about contemporary celebrities? Perhaps like me you watched Summer 2012’s UK Celebrity Big Brother so it’s Julian Clary, Julie Goodyear and Danica Thrall who stood out from the gang of A-to-Z-listers. Or, if you spent a summer watching the Olympics and Paralympics, perhaps it’s ‘our’ medal winners. In my first post I want to mention a few less talked about sporting celebrities – those famous for throwing arrows.