There’s a difference between being kind and being nice. Kindness is an inherent gift that we could all use more of. “Niceness” can be a strategy. People-pleasers use being nice to get what they want. “Niceness” can be a socially ingrained habit and for young women, it can be one that harms them more than it helps them.
Nice girls and good girls are taught that they need to pay their “dues” to society to gain its approval. They need to swallow their rage and sugarcoat their fury. They need to be “polite” at all times. They need to bend over backwards while others trespass their boundaries. They need to let others treat them like shit while they act compliant. Manners, please.
But sometimes, our authentic truth sounds less like thank you and more like shut the fuck up.
From a very young age, we’re taught to be “good girls.” To keep our mouth shut and our legs closed. To never speak out of turn. To apologize profusely for existing. To stop taking up so much damn space. To stop being sexual (but continue to be sexy, for the consumption of others). To stifle any emotion that makes us look hysterical and emotional.
Need I remind you that men, on the other hand, get to be as angry and bold as they want? They can speak out of turn; they can be rude and condescending with much more leeway. They can be sexually assertive. They can express themselves however they want, bluntly and without apologies.
Good girls? They always have to wait their turn. Good girls? They need to have a valid reason to speak up in the first place. Good girls? They need to pretend they don’t have desires; they just need to work on being more desirable.
Hate to break it to you, but being the good girl is exhausting. And it rarely yields many rewards. Perpetual good girls need to find a way back to their true selves – the ones that reflect who they really are, not who society wants them to be. Sometimes, it pays to visit your dark side.
I’d much rather you be a bad girl. The kind who takes no shit.
The kind who has pride in herself. The kind who knows what she wants and goes after it, even if society tells her it’s lewd, crude and rude (this is a lie, by the way – usually, it’s because whatever she wants gives her power). The kind who prioritizes her pleasure. The kind of girl who owns both her dark and her light.
If you can’t own your darkness, it will catch up to you. But once you get acquainted with your dark side, you control it – and it can’t control you.
Delving into your dark side doesn’t mean being cruel. Most of the time, it’s about embracing all the things inside of you that society told you shouldn’t and couldn’t be – just because you were supposed to keep quiet like a demure little lady.
You’ve got to be honest every day and ask yourself: if I could, who would I truly say fuck off to? If I was allowed, what would I do to please myself? This is how you slowly, but surely, break out of that “good girl” shell.
I wish it was easier to always be nice and to avoid being taken advantage of, but in our society, women don’t have that privilege. When we’re nice, we’re seen as easy prey.
People treat us like shit because they feel they can get away with it. Sure, there’s a difference between being a nice girl and being a pushover – but in the eyes of manipulators, this line can get easily blurred, real quick. That’s when being the perpetual “good girl” and “nice girl” can become dangerous.
Don’t get me wrong. You can still be a bad girl and be kind. You can still be sweet as pie. You can still be compassionate. But you’ve got to have that feistiness. You’ve got to be able to fight back when needed. You’ve got to be able to choose yourself over some asshole who’s not even willing to give you the time of day – each and every time. You have to be somewhat dangerous – because otherwise, dangerous people are going to devour you first. You have to have enough of the fire inside of you that makes them think twice.
When I stopped being the good girl, I didn’t stop being kind. I just stopped letting people walk all over me. I only said yes to the things I wanted to say yes to. I put myself first.
I stopped trying to like everyone. I stopped trying to please anyone who didn’t please me. I allowed myself the luxury of feeling all the dark emotions that society told me was unladylike to feel.
And – ironically enough – being a bad girl was the nicest thing I’d ever done – for myself.
The truth is, it feels so good to be “bad.” It feels so good to become the woman I was always meant to be. It feels so good to be naughty. I’d rather be punished for being naughty than rewarded for being nice. Being nice all the time is hollow and boring – and it contradicts becoming whole. It resists the integration I am looking for. I will always be kind, but I don’t always have to be so nice – especially to the people who aren’t nice to me.
I no longer turn the other cheek; I just make them regret ever messing with me. Success is the sweetest revenge (and so is having boundaries).
Being kind and being “bad” – that’s a combination that’s sustainable in the long term. I like it much better. It’s more honest and refreshing. And the truth is, being a bad girl suits me.