Feminist role models few and far between
Lady Gaga - A year in candid photos. Images from the book "Lady Gaga" by Tery Richardson. Photo: Terry Richardson
Last week I was finishing a book by British comedian and feminist Caitlin Moran when I got a bit of a rude shock.
In between commentary on modern life and gender politics, this otherwise logical woman declared that Lady Gaga was this generation's Madonna; our new feminist role model.
I couldn't believe what I was reading.
Lady Gaga cannot be a feminist icon. I don't think anyone that parades around so scantily clad or dresses - literally - like a piece of meat can be a positive role model for young girls.
Unfortunately there really doesn't seem to be much choice for teenage girls these days - Katy Perry bursts out of cakes at award ceremonies, the Black Eyed Peas sing about lady lumps and Wynter Gordon encourages men to ''do that stuff'' to her.
And it's not only the music industry, all forms of entertainment are bringing back the 1950s mindset.
I have to admit I haven't seen The Avengers but judging from comments, it's one I can afford to miss.
Despite advertising a strong female lead in Scarlett Johansson, one feminist comrade said she spends the entire film acting as a bodysuit-wearing secretary to a bunch of wisecracking tools. The same stereotypical treatment is rife in everything from romantic comedies to thrillers - and don't even start me started on Twilight.
Why is it so hard for people to create strong female characters, on screen or through song? I always thought entertainment was meant to reflect the society in which it was created, but so far I'm yet to recognise our world in modern lyrics.
Even our country, which is ultimately run by women - Julia Gillard, Quentin Bryce, Her Maj - manages to produce stereotypes of male fantasy.
Of course, there are exceptions - such as the ukulele-toting Amanda Palmer or some of the cracker female-led bands such as the Howling Bells. Unfortunately women of this calibre are few and far between, especially in the musical tastes of girls forming their ideas about gender politics and their place in the world.
So I'm calling on all of you - older siblings, parents and family friends - to stop buying rubbish for the teenage girls you know and give them some Kate Bush instead.
Or even some male artists who actually appreciate women.
As for me, I'll get back to reading my Neil Gaiman novel - surely the man married to Amanda Palmer can only write strong women characters.
■ Stephanie Anderson is a flautist, music addict and staff writer