I’m Not Your Good Girl

Photo by: Aura Shakhar

I’ve been called a “goody goody,” a “good girl,” “a goody two shoes” and an “innocent girl,” all my life which is an image that many men, especially Black men fetish over. I believe this fetish has a lot to do with a power dynamic.

Hyper femininity is a concept that was born out of hyper masculinity, which was born out of white supremacy. To spell it out white men cripple the masculinity of Black men through constant reminders that although Black men will more than likely get a seat at the table over Black women, he will never have a seat at the table over a white man.

That said, Black men have something missing in their power structure which is “total” power. This leaves Black men with a power void to fill, and they fill it by establishing a toxic masculine dominance over Black women. Not all Black men do this; however, it is a ingrained trait in many that should be put on the radar and constantly worked at to abolish. This power dynamic is inhibiting almost half of the planet from living their lives to the fullest especially that half of the planet that are Black women.

Being called a good girl doesn’t make me feel like more of a sexy and desirable woman as many mean like to make it seem like it supposed to me. It makes me feel like a pet. It makes me feel like I do everything in my life to make you feel comfortable around me while simultaneous suppressing any parts of me that are controversial, radical, dominant, masculine and the true me. It makes me feel like I have fallen a victim to the colonization of patriarchy, and if you enjoy being a “good girl,” then you have too .

Being a “good girl” often time means that at some point in your life you were conditioned to stay in your lane. For me it was the first time I tried to wear an article of clothing that rose above my thigh around my family. I was told to go back into the room and change because I was being too “fast.”

“Being fast” is a term that Black parents often use as a conditioning tactic to force young Black girls into dressing, acting, speaking, loving, etc. in a hyper-feminine and “safe” way. Taking a look at the history of brutality against Black women throughout history it’s easy to see why Black parents would want their young girls to do everything in their power to avoid bad things from happening to them; however, this is no excuse to put Black girls in mental cages starting at birth. We cannot take the easy route just because we are afraid.

After several years of being conditioned in my home to be soft spoken, loosely clothed, and to always be a role model to my younger sister by being a “good girl,” I started to believe it was just my personality. I really believed that I was just born a goody goody hyper-feminine girl who’s goal was to always do the right thing so that I could always be looked at as the most desirable out of the girls who surrounded me. My family believed that the way to teach me self worth was by making me fear being the “T.H.O.T.” of the school, the girl who got pregnant early, or the girl who was too “ratchet,” “ghetto,” or “thirsty” to be someone in life.

My family members colonized me to believe that the only way I will be happy in life is by getting approval from men, my peers, and my family, and the way that I will be able to do to that is by being a “good girl.”

I couldn’t take risks that would tarnish the way that society looks at me. It was no way to live. I had to be deathly afraid to be intimate with my partner for fear that a simple kiss after 9 p.m. would ruin my entire future. I couldn’t do certain things that made me feel free a non-binary because other people deemed it as “not who I am” as if they knew me so well.

This idea of a “good girl” versus a “bad girl” is doing nothing but putting women against each other and traumatizing Black girls into believing that the only way they can live is by being quiet, kept, and poise. With that in mind, it is safe to say that yearning and fetishing over a “good girl” or bragging over making a “good girl go bad” is problematic.

Black women deserve to be whoever they want to be. We deserve to be supported when we choose who we want to be and not told to dial down because it makes those around us feel uncomfortable. We are no longer your good girl.

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