Why I'm Not a Good Girl and Never Will Be

Everyone likes simplicity now and then. People love "How to" books and calculators and clear, easy explanations of our world. This isn’t necessarily wrong. I need an easy explanation to the importance of the Higgs boson, I like to look at a sunset and just admire it, no questions asked. But we’ve become too simple. Simple to the point that we group hundreds of possible descriptions in a single word. I’m referring to the use of the word “good”.

Good, according to one of many definitions graciously provided by Oxford, means “pleasing and welcome”. It’s a decent word, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with using it. But there is something wrong with the way we have substituted the almost infinite number of descriptions we could use for people and encompass them as good. Through our use of language, we have eliminated complexity, range and power to our ability to see the world.

When we describe people and things that affect, inspire and anger us through just one word, we are insulting the billions of neurons and neural connections evolution has so graciously given us.

We do this to spare time. But if you’re reading this article, I know that you have enough time. Enough time to take a few extra seconds and describe the people in your life with more than the word “good”.

Women, men, do not allow your complex selves to be encompassed in just one word. Don’t do this to your friends. Or even your enemies.  Your best friend ? Your mom? Your cousin?  Quit saying that they’re good. Describe them as witty, sarcastic, generous, insightful, overbearing, complex, and difficult to work with. Say this out loud. Did you feel breathless? Exhausted? Perfect. That is how you’re supposed to feel. As humans, our presence makes us exhausting creatures. We tend not to stay in bed all day, we do things. We participate in activities that are beyond the requirements of survival. We paint, we study, we debate over Roe vs Wade and income inequality and until our throats ache , we defend beliefs like animal mothers defend young. Our existence should leave us gasping for air.

Do me a favor and stop insulting the existence of the women in your lives by omitting the numerous adjectives that could describe them. Discard the word good for twenty four hours. That pizza was sublime, my girlfriend is courageous, woman’s suffrage was vital. Experiment with these numerous arrangements of letters that will at first feel strange and squishy for your tongue yet will ultimately taste so invigorating you will wonder how you could have survived all these years under the stale taste of “good”.

 

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