Rejecting the Good Girl archetype

This post is a continuation of my discussion of the book, Burning Woman, which I read last week. Today, I want to talk about the “Good Girl” archetype. In our society, women are supposed to be “Good Girls” – submissive, pleasing others at all costs, wanting to be liked and loved. That is our supposed value in this world. Women are trained and socialized in our society to be this way. We have no real choice, if we go with the flow of what society tells us.

I had absolutely been a “Good Girl” for most of my life. Looking for approval from others. All the time. I was afraid that I would not be loved if I made any mistakes. I strove for being as “perfect” as I could be.

In the book, Burning Woman, Lucy H Pearce writes:

“The Good Girl is an aberration of our natural Feminine energy. Our journey into our power happens gradually as we grow up. As we get older, we fight to assert ourselves as individuals in this world. But if this process has been thwarted, by family or society, if it seems too dangerous, we step back from the brink and fall into the Good Girl archetype instead. To take power in our lives, we must give up our role as the Good Girl, dare to question authority, and instate our own in its place.”

As I noted, I began my life as striving to be the best “Good Girl” that I could be. But as I began to be successful in my career at Boston College, I did begin to assert myself more in the world. I began to speak out, share my truths, my experiences, even when they challenged societal norms, even when they challenged the patriarchy. And I was seen as too dangerous and burned for it. Thus, when I lost my identity, at the end of 2019, I withdrew into myself, and tried to become a “Good Girl” again. I’m not going to elaborate on the ways that I tried to do that, in my world, but suffice it to say, throughout 2020, I tried to “do what I was supposed to” again and my world was revolving around pleasing others, yet again.

But, throughout 2021, I realized that this just wasn’t going to work anymore. My transformation that I went through in 2019 was finally integrating into my being in a way that allowed me to realize that I was handing my power to others, yet again. But I can keep that power for myself. I can approve of myself and not seek it out from others all the time. I am learning, slowly, to own my own right to exist. And so 2021 was a year of inner anger and revolution for me, in some ways. I finally allowed myself to feel the rage that I had repressed my whole life, especially of the last few years. 

“Letting the Good Girl recede as one of the primary characters in our archetype selection box is a key part of our initiation as a Burning Woman. When we do so, we fully accept that we will not always be liked, approved of, or applauded, and we may be attacked. But we know that to live our truth is more important to us than to live their lives for another moment. To live our truth, to be fully connected to life, is our reason for being.”

And so now, in 2022, I am looking ahead to this year as a time for me to have a year of stillness, peace, and internal exploration of the unconscious. I will just be ME, healing myself with self-care, speaking my truth to those who want to listen. And that is enough. 

As the book says,  

“Just showing up and opening your mouth with authentic vulnerability is revolutionary. Our purpose is to express our understanding of Source. Our words and images are the end game and the journey. Speaking our truth to others is our purpose.”

I really think that all women in our society should read this book. I’m not exactly sure how it will land on younger women, women who have not yet already been burned, women who have not already lived so clearly the stories in this book. But it’s an important capturing of the reclaiming of Feminine power and creative energy.

One response to “Rejecting the Good Girl archetype”

  1. […] uptight during my youth, almost never wanting to “break the law” by drinking underage (I was a “good girl,” after all)…I think maybe I only drank three times before I turned 21. And even after I could […]

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