How Good is the “Good Girl Syndrome?”
Over the years, many girls were taught: good girls don’t say that, good girls don’t do that. Good girls don’t talk like that. Good girls remain quiet, don’t make waves, get it right the first time, and don’t cause problems for others.
Who were these good girls anyway?
As a little girl, I imagined these good girls in beautiful white gowns talking perfectly in lowered voices, being smiled upon, their head slightly lowered, and their hands in their laps. They did not cause trouble and they always got it right the first time. They complied and submitted—even if it was to their own detriment.
Thank goodness many of today’s parents are enlightened and teach their daughters to speak up, be strong, be bold—even if our patriarchal culture quietly or not-so-quietly insists on the status quo.
When I was being trained to become a master-certified life coach, one of the many wonderful things I learned was how to ask what we called “powerful questions.” For example, asking someone “How was your day?” would generally yield a particular response mostly every time: “Fine, how about yours?” Asking the same question in a surprising way such as “What’s the silliest thing that happened to you today?” or “Who did you encounter today who made you think in a different way?” will invite deeper and sometimes bolder conversations.
The element of surprise can really open doors. This is why I sometimes use a curse word for emphasis or shock value. I want people to think in a different way. The element of surprise also works when we choose an interesting word like “venerable.” Surprising words invite expansion of thought and can lead to bold action that makes a difference in the world.
I invite all of my sisters who have been influenced by the Good Girl Syndrome urging them to stay quiet, be demure, and not cause anyone to feel uncomfortable—to become bolder than they ever have been.
This week our Tuesday night Bold Conversations call will be live from the Minnesota Women’s Press Conversations: “Using Our Voice and Vote.” Venerable Women is a sponsor of this event (sold out) and I will be interviewing Event Development director Karen Olson Johnson.
The people who have made the greatest changes for humanity and consciousness have been what I call boldasses in one way or another. These boldasses did not comply; they did not allow the status quo to continue. They did not remain quiet and instead used their voices and actions for change in manifesting a better world. Think of Eleanor Roosevelt, Gandhi, Jesus, Harriet Tubman, Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Susan B. Anthony, Shirin Ebadi, to name just a few. What boldasses can you think of?
Boldness combined with compassion and love is a winning formula for our times.