But who said I wanted to be a good girl?
While mindlessly bumping Bey’s album the other day (I see you B!), I was struck by Drake’s chorus on Mine, one of my favorite tracks on the album. In it, Drizzy raps,
“ Do you wanna roll for a good girl? Do it big, do it all for a good girl/ One time this is a song for the good girl/ Don’t sleep when you know you got a good girl/”
In turn, this let to wonder: what the fuck does Drake mean by a ‘good girl’? Does he mean a girl who is sexually and emotionally faithful to him? A girl who dresses a certain way? Is he referring to passivity and meekness? Submissiveness?
For most of historical time, a woman was considered “good” if she was the following things:
Þ Meek, Submissive, Obedient: speaks when spoken to, etc
Þ Sexually Chaste: tight restrictions on the expression of female sexuality; female sexuality as existing only to serve reproductive functions or to please her male partner
Þ Simple-minded: conversational intelligence; the kind of woman you’d meet for the first time and describe as ‘nice’ but nothing more
Disclaimer: Of course this varies in intensity depending on time period and geography (and certainly in some societies, these conceptions have never existed). However, colonialism played an extraordinarily strong-hand in exporting patriarchy, leading many of these conceptions to exist globally (see: African and indigenous societies where women were routinely stripped of roles of power). I digress.
Hence, you can see why I would be a little disturbed by Drake’s use of the term. Personally, I don’t find pleasure in being described as a “good girl”. Why, you ask?
(a) The obvious historical fucked-up-ness of the term (re: see above)
(b) It strips women of complexity. The concept of a “good girl” is so flat, so over-played, so un-interesting. Where is the ‘meat’ behind that term? Does it describe the way women think, love, act, perceive? Yeah, didn’t think so. If anything it only describes the way a woman acts in relation to a man, yet it is used to describe her identity in its entirety. Not cool.
(c) I find it infantilizing. Don’t describe me as “good” – I don’t remember being your pet dog or your child. I don’t know why, but there certainly is something juvenile that lurks behind the term (perhaps linked to the historical legacy of female submissiveness and goodness?)
It’s time for men to stop describing us as “good girls” and begin to acknowledge and respect the complexity and breadth of their female partners.