“All the good girls are gone.”
I’ve read this sentence three times this past week. Each time it was written by a man.
I’m not sure what this statement means, exactly.
When I picture a “good girl,” this is what I see: A pretty, well-dressed young woman with her shoulders, cleavage, and legs covered. She never says anything remotely rude and is generally quiet unless spoken to.
She never touches drugs or alcohol and eats hamburgers (or veggie burgers) so she doesn’t get put in the “only eats salads” category. She does light exercises so she doesn’t get fat. She doesn’t speak up for herself and likes to do household chores. She loves the self-categorized “nice guys” and lets them do whatever they want to her whenever they want but also hasn’t seen too many of them less she be labeled a slut (she doesn’t say that word but only thinks it in her head.)
Beyond that, the term “good girl” begs the question, what, then, constitutes a “bad girl?”
Maybe a bad girl smokes cigarettes and shows all her skin and does drugs and hooks up with tons of boys whenever she wants and tells the boys who try to come on to her to f— off, , in no uncertain terms.
Or maybe she doesn’t tell them that because she doesn’t know exactly who she is yet. She isn’t really sure how she’s supposed to be. She doesn’t necessarily want to be a “bad girl;” all she knows is that she doesn’t want to be labeled a “good girl” and stuck in that god-awful, claustrophobic box that women have been forced into for centuries.
Anything to get out of that box.
The deepest problem with this is that it implies yet again to women that everything we do needs to please men. We live largely in a culture which (consciously or subconsciously) thinks that Eve led Adam into sin, that sin comes from women, that women are evil. That men are better than women. That women need to dress a certain way and act a certain way or men won’t like them (and that they should care if men don’t like them because men are most important.) On the biggest extreme it leads to rape and abuse and maybe death and more subtly it leads to boys complaining about how the good girls are gone.
Let me show you some girls who still exist:
Girls who are single and want a true, equal, mutually beneficial and loving partnership.
Girls who are in relationships that love and adore their partner but don’t hesitate to speak up when they have a problem with something.
Girls who are finding their own way and don’t know or care what you mean by the term “well-behaved.”
Girls who completely cover themselves up and girls who show off their skin not because a man wants them to but because they want to.
Girls who smoke weed and drink green juice. Girls who wear a ton of makeup and girls who don’t wear any at all.
Girls who want to be senators in Congress and girls who want to stay home and have lots of children and girls who want to do both.
Girls who hook up with lots of boys and girls who don’t hook up with any boys at all.
Girls who cry because they are tired of having their emotions seen as weaknesses.
Girls who are waking up to the fact that their power is in that emotion and intuition and that is exactly what the world needs right now.
Anticipating the backlash: this isn’t against all men. I have a boyfriend who is the light of my life and that I would give anything for. He loves me but would never stoop to classify me as “good” or “bad.” He also would never have complained about how all girls hated him as if he was entitled to have a relationship with one of them.
But you’re lying to yourself if you pretend that men who think that way don’t exist. Look at the hashtag #yesallwomen. There is a problem here and we aren’t fixing it.
Women aren’t all confident and perfect, either. There are lots of us still struggling to find our way, struggling with our appearance and how people perceive our intelligence and our strength and just trying to figure out how to regain that feminine goddess power that seems to have been lost so long ago.
This is the problem with the “good girl:” she doesn’t really exist. She never did.
And maybe you’re right: all the good girls are gone.
We don’t miss them.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: elephant archives