By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The good girl dichotomy....

Reader, I am apparently a 'good girl'. Which does not mean that I want to prance around naked in a Robin Thicke video. I think. The thing is, I've sort of discovered that society has split girls up into being 'good girls' and 'bad girls'. But I can't work out if us ladies sort of do it to ourselves or not too.

So, I don't put myself into the 'good girl' genre on purpose. I like baking and reading and wearing fifties dresses. I'm also a firm believer that sugar does more than salt and try to be nice to everyone. I believe in true love and get very mushy over romance (I think I read too many fairy tales and love stories when I was younger). But I would never have called myself a 'good girl'. Because why would I put myself in a weird camp like that? It's just a bit odd. Besides, I smoke, I drink, I swear, I flirt like nothing else. Surely a so called 'good girl' wouldn't do those things? Aren't I just 'a girl'? Or, what with being in my mid twenties 'a woman'?

So what's made me think of this today? Well, recently I've been referred to as 'a good girl' a few times. Always by men interestingly. A guy (out of the blue, when we were talking about something else entirely) went 'aw, Ash, you're such a good girl. You're going to make someone a great wife one day'. Another guy (with whom I was discussing my eternal singleness) said 'The thing is, you're a good girl. You need a nice guy'. Another (who I was telling about a drunken night out of late) said 'You're too much of a good girl to drink that much!' Now, they were all saying nice things and all meant well, but do I really want to be a 'good girl'? I'm not sure. Because as far as I can tell, good girls don't get to have that much fun. We take care of our friends (including friends that aren't always very good at taking care of us), we pay all our bills on time, we bake for our sick family members and always cleanse, tone and moisturise. But the 'bad girls', the girls who are 'allowed' to drink, have one night stands and spend the rent money on a drinking trip to Mexico. Which sounds quite fun to me. But the thing is, I still have too much Catholic school girl in me to be a true 'bad girl'. If I drink too much I get a hellish hang over the next day. I don't really do the one night stand thing because...well, I don't know really, I just tend not to end up having one night stands (as one guy friend told me, I'm 'wife material, not shag then toss material'. I wasn't sure whether to be insulted or flattered. I think a bit of both. And a bit outraged that those were the two categories he put women into). If I spent the rent money I'd have a huge guilt trip and spend the next 3 months eating noodles and drinking tap water to make up for it.

But is it just women that get this? I don't think it is. We also put guys into these weird stereotypes. 'Ooh, he's a bit of a Bad Boy' or 'he's just your typical Nice Boy', which have their own downfalls. I caught myself doing it earlier, dismissing a crush because he was (in my mind at least) someone who fit into 'The Bad Boy' category. I was talking to a friend about this and she downplayed it, by saying that for girls, this is a bit more along the lines of self preservation-a 'Bad Boy' will be more likely to be a bit of a player, use and abuse or (as my male friend said) 'shag and toss'. But then don't guys go through the same thing with 'Bad Girls'? Granted, men are more likely to cheat than women (see here if you disagree ), so that could be part of it, but it's weird how we sexualise the 'bad boy' and 'bad girl' ideals. Or rather, women sexualise 'Bad Boys' ('Urgh, I just want a bad boy in leather who's in a band and smokes like James Dean') whereas men seem to sexualise the 'good girl' (just think of the schoolgirl thing, and all the weird fetishes for knee socks). Pretty strange. Because if women are hormonally driven, shouldn't we be drawn to nice guys who would make good life partners and fathers? And if men are sexually driven, shouldn't they be drawn to women in revealing clothing, who openly talk about how much they love sex? Saying that, there was an interesting study of late about the pill and implant and how they can actually change the sort of man a woman will go for ( so maybe a lot of our attraction is less about 'good' and 'bad' and more about our womb making the decision for us? But then what does that mean for men?

Maybe we should stop calling people 'good and bad' unless they actually get sainted or commit crimes. A lot of childcare books say that you shouldn't characterise one child as 'good' and one child as 'bad' as it causes them to try and live up to that type. Maybe we're doing just the same thing as grown ups, but to each other.

Boggles the mind really.
Tarrah Reader!

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