The term role model generally means any "person who serves as an example, whose behaviour is emulated by others".
The term first appeared in Robert K. Merton's socialization research of medical students. Merton hypothesized that individuals compare themselves with reference groups of people who occupy the social role to which the individual aspires.
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.
Famous quotes containing the words role model, role and/or model:
“A few [women] warrant our attention not because they have the answer but because they have rejected the mentality that insists there must be one answer. What makes them role models is not how much or how little they work, how many or how few hats they wear, but rather how well they understand, and accept, that for all rewards there will be commensurate sacrifice; for all gains, some loss; for any pleasure, some pain.”
—Melinda M. Marshall (20th century)
“Nothing is ever simple. What do you do when you discover you like parts of the role youre trying to escape?”
—Marilyn French (b. 1929)
“For an artist to marry his model is as fatal as for a gourmet to marry his cook: the one gets no sittings, and the other gets no dinners.”
—Oscar Wilde (18541900)