Every time I praise my daughter for being a ‘good girl’, I cringe inside. It falls out of my mouth without thinking, as if it’s the highest praise that can be bestowed upon a girl.
But it’s not. It’s a curse and it has the potential to follow her throughout her life.
Good girls live by the unwritten expectation that they must be compliant and self-sacrificing to be of value — especially if they’re not hot enough to provide the world with eye candy.
Good girls grow up believing that their needs, feelings and goals are secondary to those of others. They’re compliant, modest, non-confrontational, people-pleasing perfectionists.
All too often they grow into good wives who carry the burden of domestic work without complaint, good employees who don’t speak up in meetings for fear of offending that loudmouth guy from sales, and good mothers who can’t attend to their own needs without feelings of guilt and self-recrimination.
The curse of the Good Girl is a standard of behaviour that is only applied to women.