Role Models & Heroes: Ellen DeGeneres (2013)

By September 23, 2013November 15th, 2018Bnei Mitzvah, Heroes & Role Models
The following essay on Ellen Degeneres was written by Anna Young, a middle schooler, enrolled in City Congregation’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. Students spend a year and a half researching their heritage, values and beliefs, and write on a Jewish subject of their choice, their major project; an example of this can be seen below. The process  improves both the student’s writing and critical thinking skills, as well as his/her self confidence and overall maturity.

Anna Young
September 22, 2013

There are certain personal values that should fall into place when you’re picking a role model. Mine are humor, music, helping people, tradition, loyalty, diversity, creativity, and education. There’s one person that really sticks out in my mind with these traits: Ellen Degeneres. She’s definitely humorous, she’s creative and loves music, she cares about education and she’s always helping people, she’s loyal to her beliefs and uses her celebrity to fight for everyone to be treated equally.

Ellen started as a comedian in clubs. She then went on to have her own sitcom, Ellen. Now, she has her own comedy talk show. Ellen was sheltered growing up and says that nothing was talked about in her family. She didn’t even know the Vietnam War was going on. It is impressive that now she connects with the entire world. As she grew up she created her own life. Her life is different from her family’s; she is different from what she was raised to be.

One thing I admire about Ellen is that she always finds the light in the dark. She expresses important things with humor, which takes a lot of creativity. For example, in one monologue she talked about how BIC made “Pens for Her,” which came in pink and purple. She added, “Before that, we were only allowed to write in lipstick and tears”. She also talked about the new Honda car called “She’s,” The company claims it has a climate control system that improves your skin quality, and a windshield that prevents wrinkles. Ellen said, “I’m sure they’re already working on a newer model that dispenses Midol and has a built in GPS system that helps you find a man.” She talked about a new computer called the “Floral Kiss” that comes pre-installed with a scrapbooking app, and a daily horoscope checker. Ellen said, “I checked my horoscope, and guess what it said: today your progress as a woman will be set back 92 years.” Ellen uses comedy to get across her point that everyone should be treated equally.

I also love Ellen because she loves music, like I do, and she promotes new musicians. She had her own record label. Justin Bieber even made his U.S. television debut on Ellen.

Ellen is always helping people in need. She has invited many deserving people to the show. She has surprised them with things that they need most like a new car, money, or a house renovation. She has given people money for their kids to go to college. She has also given directly to underprivileged schools. Ellen definitely cares about education. She spent a whole month surprising teachers and principals with funds for their schools. Ellen has changed peoples’ lives by giving them things they depend on: money, shopping sprees, and things to keep the kids healthy. Ellen believes that people who are less fortunate should not be treated any differently than people who are fortunate. She has recently been helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy by rebuilding their houses.

Ellen DeGeneres is loyal to her beliefs. She doesn’t care what people say about her. If she wants to do something, she does it. Ellen was loyal to her beliefs when she came out publicly. She said she was tired of being ashamed of who she was and didn’t really know why she was ashamed. Her manager then said that if she was going to come out, her character on the sitcom should too. Ellen said that Disney thought that would be too big of a risk. She told Disney, “Please let me do this because I am the one risking here, you know you can just put another show on if it doesn’t work, but it’s my life…” She had a belief and she stood behind it, and because she stood behind it, others stood with her.

One day, Ellen’s monologue was about a group called “One Million Moms”. This group of women wanted people to stop shopping at JC Penny because Ellen, their spokeswoman, is gay. Now, I’m not gay but if I were in that position, where I was getting that much hate for something I didn’t really have the power to change, I might have stepped down from the job. But Ellen didn’t. She stood by her belief in equality and diversity, and a lot of other people joined her. In fact, many people said that they were going to shop at JC Penny even more often. She proved that if you stay loyal to a belief, you can help make change in the world. As Ellen grew older, she realized that she should not be ashamed of who she is. Ellen made it clear that she wanted to be treated equally for who she is.

I don’t know if I would call Ellen a women’s rights activist, because she helps people other than just women. But I can definitely call her someone who is making a difference for women. Because of Ellen’s sheltered background she didn’t even know that a women’s movement existed. However, now she has changed a lot of things for women, and she did that by using something she is good at: comedy. She uses comedy to make the serious topics she is dealing with more friendly and entertaining. We all know we pay attention more when ideas are presented in a way that keeps you engaged. Ellen uses comedy and people like her and are interested in what she is saying. She gets people to actually listen.

Almost all of my values fall into place with Ellen. She is humorous, she loves music, she’s always helping people, she’s loyal to her beliefs, she’s creative, and she cares about education. She uses the celebrity she has achieved to create a better world. She uses her power to show other people that they have their own power. She never gave up even when people doubted her, and that is why I admire Ellen DeGeneres.