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I grew up thinking that it's good to be 'Good'; that one should be polite, smiley and pleasant. One should never offend, never assert themselves too much, nor should get too passionate or too emotional. One should, you might say, be a 'Good Girl'. But what is a Good Girl in public speaking? Do the same rules apply?
So. I just read an article by Justine Musk who always always all ways… inspires me. (you should check her out btw) how a woman can write to change the world. I'd like to take my spin on that... How a woman can SPEAK to change the world (boys, I'm aware this also applies to you - this one's written especially for the girls though).
She repeatedly speaks of the good girl box:
"Good girls don’t put themselves out there, throw down the conversational gauntlet, express intense and passionate opinions (at least not without apologizing profusely). After all, we might come off as too loud, too obnoxious. We might offend people. Take up too much space. Attract too much attention."
Every single time I read something like this I get a twinge. A twinge at what society thinks is good equaling obedient. The characteristics taught to our daughters about what a “Good Girl” looks like… be demure, be overly humble, don’t interrupt, behave, think inside the box, don’t be mouthy or opinionated, play with girl toys, acquiesce to higher authority lest you be thought of as the "B" word (it could go on and on), and never ever EVER dare interrupt someone.
Yes. Even in this day and age you must DARE not interrupt anyone, speaking with zest and fervor could get you a label, and sometimes we STILL have to prove our worth over and over and over.
But how does this relate to public speaking? Is it Good to be a Good Girl when you're in front of an audience?
Although it feels good to be pleasant and liked by your audience, Good Girls are losing out on their chance to bring benefit to an audience. Next time you have the urge to be a Good Girl, think:
The true issue here is NOT so much gender, as it is the lack of belief in one’s right to be worthy, to be heard and to take up space. It's not just ladies who get Good Girl syndrome, although often women seem to have a harder time with this than our hairier counterparts. It's about being confident and empowered, regardless of gender; to take center stage when it's needed. Read more about power and confidence in this article from the Ginger perspective (no matter the gender).
I've struggled with my own relationship to the Good Girl. Here how I overcame the Good Girl in my TEDx talk below:
Good luck girls - go gettem!
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