Good girl and radical grrl

A commentator to my latest I am tired of… poem encouraged me to practice going against the norms with the caveat of “nothing illegal, immoral or fattening.” Reading the comment, i realized two things: I am already living outside of the norms in a lot of ways and i was not quite clear about what it would mean not to be a good girl.

I am a single by choice. That’s outside of heteronormativity. I no longer have a corporate job. In lots of people’s eyes that means i am a failure, especially since i quit the well-paying one i had. I got a second masters degree just because i wanted to answer a question (is marriage natural? which morphed to looking at overcoming stereotypes against singles). What a waste of time and money! And i am not really sure exactly where i am going – and still enjoying life (most of the time). And i am even breaking the fattening rule: I had an almond butter and honey sandwich for lunch because women are supposed to be thin and fit – and i don’t like that rule!

So, again (just to make sure I got it! ;-)): I am breaking social rules right and left! (I just remembered a couple more: I talk about my rape; i am an atheist; i live in an in-law, renting; i have a tattoo and am public admitting it now). What’s up with wanting to break free and being tired of being the good girl then?!? That’s when i noticed the shame in all of this: What i am doing is not good enough! I am not breaking free enough. I am not breaking enough rules. Yikes! Somehow a new rule snug in here: Only if you break xyz rule are you free enough! And only then am i fully lovable!

That’s when it hit me: Being a good girl isn’t about the rules! It is about not questioning the rules, about being a robot, about living in a trance. And most important of all, being a good girl is about being ashamed for what she does and who she is! Wow!

What, then, does it mean to not be a good girl? Would i be a bad girl then? Well, i don’t like the terms “good and bad” in the first place. They are too tied to the very norms i am trying to break! It’s about freeing ourselves. It’s about being radical in how we live – radically authentic. And i’ve always liked grrl, a feminist reclaiming of the word girl (apparently, it originated in punk rock, though i learned the term within the techie world). Hence the call to become a radical grrl – a woman who is not ashamed of her choices or who she is! The radical girl doesn’t feel ashamed about questioning & breaking the rules! She fully experiences life, including the full spectrum of emotions. She is aware. She is fully alive!

Right now, i’ve only started noticing where i compromise – from stepping out of someone’s ways to feeling the pang of shame when someone commented that maintaining edible landscapes isn’t exactly using the skills i learned when i went back to school. And to me, it’s really mostly about the inner shift – that i can laugh at that comment and say “you really thought i’d get a higher paying job with a degree in philosophy?!? That’s not why i went back to school…” and then explain my reasons without wanting approval. Without feeling shame.

The funny thing: It’s all in my thesis! In my thesis, i talk about how shame helps maintain hierarchical cultures because it keeps us in place, keeps us numb enough to follow the rules. It’s time for me to live what i learned and become fully alive!

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Good girl and radical grrl — 7 Comments

  1. Doing things that are considered “good” is easier because other people approve. Even if no one says anything to you, you know what they would say.

    It gets more difficult when you’re not doing the “good” things. You feel inherently more defensive and angrier, because you know others disapprove, even if they say nothing.

    But I’ve found that, if something is right and important for you, you’ll feel a passion for what you’re doing, whether it’s “good” or not.

  2. I just looked it up, and apparently there is somebody named “Raechel” who has a web-site that she calls “rebel grrrl academy”, and she considers herself to be an academic!

  3. (…con)…to retrieve it, more ‘safely’ and devote life to loving connections with fellow open-hearts. slowly, painfully, we peel off thin layers of the robot metal, plastic ‘protector’, and synthetically colorful wrapping, labeling, and magnetic coding…….
    ….whew ! what an seeming endless job….but you are showing where that work leads……….BRAVO!!


    slowly, lots of people i know are just becoming aware, cautiously, of the fact that much of our existance is robot-like ! and this awareness is then quickly repressed, as the robot-face returns, and it severs the open-hearted connection and returns our hearts to the ‘safe-deposit box’ for a hoped-for easier time to

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