Frankly, I’ve become sick of it.
Because the “Good Woman” has become the female counterpart of the “Nice Guy.” It’s the woman who gets walked over. Who moves her boundaries to accommodate others and pays for it. It’s the woman who gets burned out from always putting her needs last, and is called selfish when she doesn’t. Who loses her individuality in the identity of the “good wife and mother.” Who stretches herself thin to the point of exhaustion and is praised for this. Who’s expected to treat a man like a king but not receive queen treatment in return. She’s ride-or-die and must stand by her man no matter what, so she swallows indignation and lets indiscretion slide, absorbing her own painful feelings like a sponge. It’s more acceptable for her man to make mistakes but if she slips up, it’s World War III because a Good Woman is expected to be perfect, not human. How often do you hear a story about the complete asshole who got cheated on and probably had it coming? Not nearly as often as you hear about the “Good Woman who got away” or “the man who didn’t appreciate what he had until it was too late.”
A Good Woman should never be too emotional, because he’ll tell her so. A Good Woman shouldn’t nag, because nagging drives a man away. As young girls, did your family groom you to play this role? To believe that “keeping a man” is paramount and if he leaves, you’ve failed and your worth as a woman plummets? That embracing the Good Woman role takes precedent over your own personality and it needs to be displayed; the world needs to know how much of a Good Woman you are by how smoothly your relationship is going and if it’s not, it’s somehow your fault? A “Good Woman” is more likely to settle because at least she’s “keeping a man.” Her goal is being achieved.
Her role as a Good Woman is to cook, clean, care for the home AND work, while the man simply has to…work. A “Good Woman” keeps the kids out of the way so that the man has peace from his own children; his special chair, domain over the television, head-of-the-household dominion without daily household-running participation, simply because of his gender. It’s completely acceptable for him not to be sociable; to retreat to a garage or man-cave for hours at a time, because only men need to retreat. Any input or help he does offer, society applauds him because the bar is so much lower that bare minimum is better than nothing. If he makes one meal to his wife’s 10, he must be praised and encouraged. The Good Woman frequently gives more than she receives out of expectation. Her image is always under a microscope and must always be maintained.
She must always be on her game because she’s expected to provide advice, money, comfort. If she’s not in a state to administer those supplies, then she falls off her pedestal. She can’t be too assertive about her likes, dislikes, and knowing what she wants because this makes others uncomfortable. She really can’t even openly express discomfort with others’ actions, especially her man’s. She must go with the flow at all times and not make ripples in the surface. She makes a huge dinner only for him to come home late, glance at it, and decide he wants pizza instead. She stands by him through drunken tirades and hurtful behavior, lies and half-truths, and blistering criticism of her personality beneath the “Good Woman” cloak. Money mismanagement, she fronts him. Emotional mistakes, she soothes him. Personal growth, she supports him. He explodes on her in public, passersby giving her anxious “Are you okay” glances as she tries to calm him down through the shame. She wilts under the disrespectful behavior from his family and friends that he does not check them for, but is not allowed to defend herself or call them out because then she’s being disrespectful for standing up for herself. She accepts him for who he is, but is not accepted in return. She must smile and always appear agreeable, especially around others in his presence, regardless of whatever storm is brewing beneath her surface.
“At least he doesn’t beat her,” is always a reason to stay.
A Good Woman will receive many apologies when she stays and endures the negative behavior, and dole out much forgiveness because she’s so Good. But she’s not valued for her personality, the way she makes him laugh, the thoughtfulness she puts into gift-giving, her unique traits or how she considers his feelings. She’s valued for putting up with the antics and letting him get away with what he can. Shrinking herself so that she doesn’t appear challenging and her man’s circle certainly can’t know that she has the power to call ANY shots like an equal in the relationship, because then the man no longer appears manly. A Good Woman even has sex when she doesn’t feel like it, simply because “a man needs it.” And he’s still getting “kept”.
Because to “keep a man” is paramount. That’s the most. Important. Thing.
But I no longer want to “keep a man.” I no longer want this to be the driving goal in my life. I want a man who wants. To. Be. Kept. Who doesn’t need to be persuaded to do right by her.
To choose me. Because of our bond and our connection. Who’s in it based off his own integrity and values and not a Facebook “Relationship Goals” meme checklist. Because he respects me, enjoys my mind, and finds me special, not because I’m adorning myself with garments from the “Good Woman” wardrobe, but because of that naked authenticity beneath. Because when we come together, we bring our own unique ingredients that create a flavor that works for us, and not a trending recipe.
Who says, “It’s okay to be yourself.“
I no longer need the validation from the “Good Woman” title. The Good Woman who continuously takes shit because the more she endures it, the more she somehow earns a more valuable badge of honor (and let’s face it, good women take shit). What I NEED, and what’s healthiest for me, is to be myself. Safe within my boundaries, filling my own cup and then giving to others, holding others accountable for their own responsibilities instead of playing a savior role. To express myself freely and make mistakes and learn from them without fear that I’m not following the “guidelines” because I’m too busy following my own compass.
I want the real me seen, not the “Good Woman” costume I’ve been told I need to fit in life. I’d much rather be accepted for that.
And if the real me isn’t “good enough,” that’s okay too. You’re more than welcome to find better.