“The Curse of the Good Girl”

“* The Curse of the Good Girl erects a psychological glass ceiling that begins its destructive sprawl in childhood and extends across the female life span, stunting the growth of skills and habits essential to becoming a strong woman.

* The Good Girl was academically successful. smart and driven, pretty and kind. But she was also an individual who aimed to please (people pleaser), toed the line (no opinions on things) and didn’t take risks (follows the rules). She repressed what she really thought (doesn’t get mad) and did not handle her mistakes with humor (has to do everything right).
The Good Girl walked a treacherous line, balancing mixed messages about how far she should go and how strong she should be: she was to be enthusiastic while being quiet; smart with no opinions on things; intelligent but a follower; popular but quiet. She would be something but not too much.

* Girls withheld their true thoughts and feelings in an attempt to maintain “perfect” relationships.

* Being Good is a richly rewarded pursuit. Good Girls enjoy social largesse, holding center court in cafeterias and dominating leadership positions at school. Yet many of these overachieving girls learn to succeed by sequestering most genuine parts of their developing selves.

* Many of the most accomplished girls are disconnecting from the truest part of themselves, sacrificing essential self-knowledge to the pressure of who they think they ought to be.

* Lacking a full emotional vocabulary or the permission to use it, some girls turn inward, ruminating self-destructively. Others become explosive, able to articulate little more than anger and frustration. The psychological muscles a girl uses to manage difficult feelings begin to atrophy. Emotional intelligence is compromised, stunting healthy self-expression: the more Good girls try to be, the more they must discredit themselves.

* To be absolutely kind and selfless is impossible, making Good a finish line girl never gets to cross. As a result, girls who aspire to Goodness are ruthlessly hard on themselves. When the standards for selfhood are beyond reach, self-acceptance is futile. Girls become their worst enemies. The terms of of being an acceptable girl are rigged: Good Girls are doomed to fail.

* .. the need to be “perfect” and “do everything right” leaves many girls uncomfortable with feedback and failure, making it difficult to push through a challenge. … they avoid situations that aren’t sure things: moments of self-assertion that require healthy risk-taking and which might lead to failure, disappointment, or another person’s unhappiness. The Curse of the Good Girl is both a warning not to try and a setup to fail when you do.

* The abrupt decline in women’s career trajectories is hardly sudden, nor can it be blamed exclusively on men. Good Girls may enjoy success in high school, but as they enter college and move into workplace, the rules of the game change. It is no longer enough to be smart and hardworking. The skills required to self-promote, negotiate and absorb feedback are among the new criteria for success.

* The Curse of the Good Girl is timeless. It not only predates current trends in girls’ disempowerment, it enables them. To break it, we must give every girl the tools and permission to be herself, whoever that is.”

Rachel Simmons “The curse of the good girl”
We talk about this in the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/goodgirlfulfilled/

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