Can We Please End the ‘Good Girl’ Persona?
I’ve been stuck in a loop, thinking about the changes that haven’t quite happened. The movements that rise and fall, again and again, gathering momentum as the public voice swells, only to fizzle out like a birthday balloon with a tiny hole.
It mirrors an abusive relationship but it’s almost more disturbing. It’s an abusive lifestyle that we’re all a part of.
Whether I look through the eyes of a person of color, or as a woman in this culture, the view is the same. We’ve gotten so used to all the small infractions, all of the small microaggressions and assaults on our emotions and mental equilibrium, that we feel like we can’t make a fuss over them. We can’t call them out because we failed to do so in the past.
When you are in an abusive relationship it almost feels like you are waiting for the person to do something big enough, to leave a deep enough wound or a visible enough mark, so that you will have the justification you need to leave. That somehow all of the combined hurts of the past aren’t enough because you didn’t respond to them properly at the time. Because you allowed them, or let them slide under the carpet, or accepted a feeble apology you no longer have the right to bring them up from the past. Shock and self-preservation be damned, once the time has passed you feel muted.
We as women have gotten so used to not feeling safe, so used to all of the sexiest, misogynistic nonsense that we have to listen to in conversation, via the media, in our workplaces, and in the laws that govern our daily lives, that we have stopped hearing it for what it is.
In keeping our heads down while we try to live our lives, doing the best we can, and picking our fights, we have adjusted to allow it all to continue around us deliberately muffled. Leaving us feeling like we don’t have the right to make a fuss because after all, the good girl is still what we are told we are supposed to be. And above all, the good girl does not make a scene.
She is the peacekeeper, the one that smooths things over, but sometimes being a peacekeeper isn’t being demure, it is making a big huge fuss, raising your voice, and taking up space.
A peacekeeper is someone who stands up for justice and preserves harmony between two sides, the mediator. But you can’t maintain peace without hearing the truth of both voices, and that means you have to allow both sides of yourself to be heard, both the quiet good girl and the raging pissed-off woman who has had enough.
We have to say goodbye to the good girl once and for all and stand up to loudly and proudly voice our discontent without waiting for the attack that is large enough to give us permission.
To be truly safe we have to stop being ladylike, with bound hands and mouths. We have to say goodbye to the good girl once and for all and stand up to loudly and proudly voice our discontent without waiting for the attack that is large enough to give us permission.
We do not need the names of all of the women who have been attacked, murdered or abused, or assaulted, we do not need the statistics. We do not need to wait for the moment when some imaginary line is finally and irrevocably crossed, that happened a long time ago.
We need to act.