Why Everyone Needs To Stop Using The Terms ‘Good Girl’ And ‘Bad Girl’


The terms “Good Girl” and “Bad Girl” have very loaded and specific meanings. When you say Good Girl, you are implying that a girl is chaste, doesn’t do “kinky” things, always gets her work/homework done, goes to church, doesn’t party hard or at all, and basically follows all of the ideal stereotypes that a society based on Abrahamic religions demands of a woman.

When you say Bad Girl, you are implying that a girl is promiscuous, “slutty,” breaks the rules, gets tattoos, skips out of work or school, drinks and maybe uses drugs heavily, and basically is the opposite of what an Abrahamic society thinks a woman should be.

A girl isn’t “bad” because she makes alternative choices. A girl isn’t “good” because she makes the choices you or society thinks are the appropriate choices. Women should be completely free to make whatever life choices they want without being labeled for them. When you put a woman who does a, b, and c into one box and say this is how a woman should be and put a woman who does x, y, and z into another box and say this is not how a woman should be, you are limiting all women’s freedom of choice. You are controlling women by scripting a role for them and maligning those who have the audacity to ad-lib their lines. There is no right or wrong way to be a woman. Every woman should be the woman that she wants to be.

This is particularly pernicious with regards to sexuality. When you imply that a girl who doesn’t engage in sexual activity is “good” and one that does is “bad,” you are implying that women engaging in sexual activity is wrong. Seriously, fuck that. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, women should have the freedom to do whatever they want with whomever they want, and it’s really nobody else’s business. People need to stop trying to control other people’s vaginas. This is 2015, not 1015. No one should impose his or her own moral values on others. You shouldn’t shame others because they don’t live their life according to your rules. Maybe they have a different set of rules. Maybe your rules are wrong.

Another issue with these stereotypes is that they turn an individual into a caricature and ignore the vibrant and beautiful subtleties that make them unique. Who says that a straight-A student or a high-performing executive can’t sleep with a bunch of guys? Who says that a woman with full sleeves can’t hold religious convictions deeply? No one can, that’s who. Just because you do one thing doesn’t mean that you necessarily do another. You shouldn’t make assumptions about every aspect of a person based on just one.

I do understand that a lot of people use the term “Bad Girl” to initiate some sort of sexual attraction, as in, “I want you to be a bad girl for me,” or “You’re a bad girl, aren’t you?” The idea is that all “Good Girls” secretly want to be “Bad Girls” and that it turns them on when they are. If you and whoever you’re with are both into it, that’s certainly cool. I’m not judging. I just don’t get why you want to make the girl feel dirty. Don’t you want to make her feel as good about herself and you as possible? Sex isn’t dirty or wrong. It’s one of the best and most beautiful parts of life. I don’t know why you’d want to tell someone you’re doing it with the exact opposite. Sex shouldn’t make a woman (or a man) feel dirty and ashamed. It should make them feel liberated and free. There must be some weird male dominance/insecurity thing that I just don’t get. It’s like, “Women shouldn’t do this. It’s bad if they do. But since she’s doing it with me, I must be the FUCKING COOLEST MOTHERFUCKER OF ALL TIME! I’ll bet I’m the first guy she’s ever done this with. She won’t notice how bad I am!” Yeah, that’s just not my style.

Calling someone a “Bad Girl” or a “Good Girl” is just one more way of putting people into boxes, denying them basic respect due to preconceptions, and judging them for their actions. It’s just one more way of repressing female sexuality and putting up roadblocks that prevent everybody from having fun. So let’s just stop.