I never intended for Judge Judy to be my role model in life
as a person in tech, this is probably a weird choice
Back in the early 2010s, I was in a University Guide training program as part of my extra-curricular. The tutor went around and asked everyone who their role model is.
I struggled to find one and made up some answer that was considered acceptable. I can’t quite remember who I went with, only that it sounded good at the time.
Over the years, I never really had someone I could call as my role model. No one really inspired me into action or propelled me down a specific path. Yes, I admire Warren Buffett and Bill Gates for their thinking, Gary Vaynerchuk for his ideas, persistence and diverse methods of content delivery — but an actual person that I would call my role model? Not really. Not until recently.
What exactly is a role model?
I never really understood the concept of a role model. It was supposed to be someone I looked up to, to emulate, and to aspire towards when it came to personal and financial success. However, over time, I’ve discovered that I had it wrong.
Aspiring to walk their journey in order to achieve the same end goal is grossly impossible. The factors — environmental, societal and interpersonal relationships — are often very different from one’s personal reality. To aspire to be like Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg, or whoever else out there that is rich, famous and seemingly happy is illogical. Not because they are billionaires, but rather because we can never truly be them.
The point of a role model is to guide your personal actions and decisions towards the ability to create your own journeys based on your own personal circumstances. They are more the embodiment of certain ideas and ideals, exuding sets of qualities and clear philosophies that set the precedence and guidance over life choices.
They are, in essence, a non-prescriptive teacher for how to govern one’s life.
Why Judge Judy?
As a kid, I remember Judge Judy being broadcasted right before Fresh Prince of Bell Air and the 6 o’clock news. I never really understood what was happening at the time, only that she was a judge and the people behind the pews were in trouble.
Sometimes, both parties would be in trouble.
Then I grew up, the program stopped playing at its usual time and I moved onto to whatever else was on — until she started to show up in my YouTube feed.
As a female, witnessing some fellow females abuse and use their gender to subvert innocent people and misuse the#MeToo movement, I struggle to find a feeling of belonging in a world where the fight for gender equality has turned into a confusing battle for existence and avoidance of social condemnation. The narratives, the perspectives, the stories, the biases, the one-sidedness, the drama, and the mob rules are mentally exhausting.
Then out of the fog, came Judge Judy and her interview with Megyn Kelly.
if you don’t have your own self-worth and forge forward yourself, that safety net [of institutions and groups], all it can do is give you the bottom. You have to push it through yourself. That’s what really makes me say, I’m not a feminist, I’m an individualist. I think that individuals each have within themselves the capacity to be the hero of their own story…whatever you want to be, you can be the best at it…that doesn’t take a village, that takes an individual spirit.
— Judge Judy’s response to being called a feminist on Today
Her perspective on the world and equality excludes the concept of gender from the equation. Rather, it is based on a growth mindset, personal persistence, and desire to be the best human one can possibly be for oneself.
It is a self-centering ideology where you are not trying to change or challenge others but yourself. By doing so, you are in control of your reality through actions and reactions, and therefore also the side implications of its existence on others.
Looking beyond genders
To pick someone as your role model based on their gender discredits whatever achievements in thought and life they’ve achieved. You can’t really aspire to be something that you and them may be physically predisposed to differently. You can’t choose the type of sexual reproductive organs you are born with — but you can choose the ideas you allow to influence the way you make choices.
To follow in the footsteps of your role model is to follow in the path of their philosophies. To be a woman or a man is not part of the equation — and that’s what I like the most about my chosen role model. She doesn’t use whatever negative experiences in her past to define who she currently is and whatever struggles she faced to get to where she’s at.
Everything is based on merit.
In part, this is what I aspire to be — not as a woman in tech, but a person in tech. Being offended is not usually part of my personal equation and in part, there is no time for that, especially in code where your compiler doesn’t care about who you are, only that your expected input is correct.
I am probably more politically incorrect and sometimes inappropriate when it comes to conversations and observations based on statistics and facts. I am open to discussion and to learning, to observing and accepting personal confirmation biases and flaws. I am not perfect but I can always be better.
In the age of labeless labels, I never thought that Judge Judy would be the person to help me figure out who I am — an agnostic individualist.
She is my role model, my spirit animal, or whatever you want to call it. Judge Judy is the embodiment of what I can be, will be and am. She is a force of her own creation, her own personal hero, and a real-life example that such a human can exist and persist into one’s own success by being the best they can possibly be.
A lot of people assume that I would have someone in tech as my role model but it is Judge Judy, of all the people, that paves the ideological pathway that governs my innermost choices. Bill Gates is still cool, along with Martin Fowler, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Warren Buffett. They’re great teachers but Judge Judy will always be my first pick — especially if any asks who my role model is.