August 20, 2017

The “Good Girl” is a Myth.

The new “Wonder Woman” film, starring Gal Gadot, was a box office success.

It was long-anticipated, and many wondered if it could possibly compare to the commercial success of the male superhero movies preceding it.

Not only did it surpass many of these movies in critical acclaim and ticket sales, but it inspired women and girls everywhere. This film showed women of all ages the value of female strength, empowerment, and independence before beauty.

Not only were these badass women incredibly strong and skilled in battle, they were fiercely protective and supportive of one another. Not once were we “treated” to women competing over a man or indulging in gossip or other behavior that the movie and television industry has treated as categorically female behavior. And movie-goers everywhere loved it.

The truth is, we have had this modern mythology of the “Good Girl.”

She’s always pretty, first and foremost, because appearances matter. She’s sexy without flaunting her assets. She’s sexual while walking the thin line between being a slut and a prude. She is polite, doesn’t curse, drinks only in moderation, goes to church on Sundays, never wears revealing clothing, and has all the time in the world to raise perfect children, cook, clean, volunteer at school functions, and still holds down some kind of job. She’s not too political. She smiles at passing strangers. She’s nice to everyone. She is consistent and reliable and accepts what she was given in life.

And she’s a myth.

A modern myth, to be sure. She doesn’t have winged shoes or hold the actual weight of the world on her shoulders. She’s not even super-human, although this myth has created an expectation that she should be.

Fortunately, women are slowly dismantling this myth. In the last few years, there’s been a resurgence of feminism in pop culture, rather than just on the fringes. More and more people have grown comfortable with identifying publicly as feminists and championing the rights of women. Many have gone a step farther to become full-fledged social justice warriors who advocate for the rights of all humans (plus animals and the environment).

We are now casting a light on the modern mythology of the Good Girl and are telling society that this is not who we are as women. We are so much more. Instead, we are rising up as “Amazons.”

“Wonder Woman” didn’t just resonate with people because a beautiful woman had a starring role in an action movie. It resonated because it showed women as strong, muscular, fit, and fabulous. It showed a woman who was intelligent, curious, straight-forward, and supportive of other women. It showed a woman who had been raised to think that women were the equal of anyone, able to be or do anything she chose.

She didn’t sit quietly aside while men discussed the future.
She didn’t stay out of politics because her opinion might be unpopular.
She didn’t smile because someone told her she should.

She was fully invested in the course of her own destiny.
She had no expectation of some man coming along to save her.
She was saving herself, along with everyone else.
She was wise and compassionate.

We don’t want to be Good Girls; we want to be Amazons.

We want to be nasty women, rising up to speak out for gender equity, equal pay for equal work, reproductive rights, family leave, adequate childcare options, and education.

But our opinions aren’t just limited to women’s issues, children, and our homes. We’re civically-minded, and we’re also raising awareness of human rights violations against people of color (POC), the LGBTQ community, and religious affiliations beyond than mainstream Christianity. We’re using our minds and our voices, and we’re speaking out against rape culture, misogyny, and strict allegiance to gender roles in our families and educational systems.

We’re not being limited to what the world has told us we should be; we’re becoming who we are, and we’re doing it loudly and proudly.

The modern mythology of the Good Girl needs to go in the trash with all the other archetypes: the Crone, the Queen, the Wise Mother, the Lover, and all the rest. The truth is, we don’t fit a single archetype. We are all of them and none of them. and we want to be like the Amazons—strong, intelligent, and beautiful just the way we are—strongly invested in charting the course of our own lives based on what is authentic to us.

We are powerful.
We are vulnerable.
We are strong.
We are resourceful.
We are capable.
We are enough.

We must disavow the Good Girl as being the only acceptable choice. We know we can be good and yet still human, flawed, and complicated. We can be powerful and also compassionate. We can be strong and also vulnerable. We can be intelligent and yet also feeling.

We are not the myth. We are real, flesh and blood women who are rising up together to support each other and to live deeply authentic, incredibly beautiful lives.


Author: Crystal Jackson
Image: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Emily Bartranephant

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