To Hell with Good Girls

I was having a conversation with Jove Belle the other day, and I was telling her that I felt guilty about something. She was reassuring me that I didn’t have to feel guilty about the situation we were discussing, and she said, “Forget for a minute that you’re a good little Catholic girl.”

I laughed because I haven’t been a good little Catholic girl probably since I was 12. In fact, I haven’t been a good little anything in a long, long time.personalised-first-communion

Anyway, that comment triggered a memory. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I was an adolescent. It was at a family holiday meal, and one of my aunts turned to me and asked, “So, do you want to get married or become a nun?”

Now, aside from the fact that this particular aunt was a bitch and was probably just trying to corner me in some way, the question really struck me. My impression was one of “Really? Those are my only options?” I mean, I didn’t actually think those words, but that’s what I felt. Even then, at that tender age, the thought of being trapped in a marriage with a man (of course she meant a man) just didn’t sit well with me.

Then I was talking with Andi Marquette and I was telling her about women I knew—women who were well aware that they were gay—who got married to men simply because they wanted children and they feared reprisal from their families if they did it without men. Of course, there was a time when women couldn’t do it without men, but even after in vitro fertilization became widely available, the fear of social backlash remained.

Today having a child as a lesbian is really a non-issue, but the situation that all those women were put in really highlights just how restrictive women’s lives have been. Women were expected to be virgins when they got married not because of propriety (although it was that on the surface) but because of the risk of pregnancy. And before contraceptives became available, it was women’s responsibility to remain “pure.” In other words, men could go around having sex as much as they wanted, and it was okay to spread his seed, because if a woman got pregnant, it was on her. It was her responsibility, her problem, her shame.grrl

This double standard exists in every culture on the planet, and it amazes me that now, in the 21st century, we’re still fighting for our rights. The right to make decisions about our own bodies, to earn equal pay for equal work, to be given the same jobs, advantages, and opportunities as men.

In this critical time, when those very rights are being attacked, these thoughts keep many of us up at night. But as we add to the ever-growing body of work that features LGBT+ people—in movies, TV shows, books—the more we normalize our lives.

We Can Do It!

I know, I know. Some of you out there will argue that to “normalize” ourselves is to give up what makes us unique. I think there’s a huge debate in that argument, with pros and cons on both sides. But that’s not what my goal is with this blog.

 

My goal here is to simply say that we need to show that women can work, play, love, write, fight, pray, and anything else as well as men can. Even if the physical strength isn’t there, the strength of soul and mind and heart and determination are there. With those things, we can accomplish anything.

When I was growing up, I was told that men ruled, and they were to be obeyed. But I never liked that idea. I was as smart as any boy (if not smarter) and I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me that I deserved less than a boy—not my mother, not the Church, not anyone. I was going to be with the person I chose, I was going to have sex as much as I wanted, and I was going to pursue the things I was interested in.700-00063678

Guilt is another story. Did I feel guilty about some things? Of course I did. That’s the old Catholic in me. (Those nuns really pounded things into you but good. To this day, the sight of a nun or priest makes me shrink back.) But then I get over it. And I do what I want anyway. Fuck the guilty feelings. And fuck anyone who tells me I’m not capable of doing something because I’m a “girl,” and good girls don’t do certain things.

To hell with good girls.

How’s that for a good little Catholic girl?giphy

 

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “To Hell with Good Girls

  1. Even without any sort of Catholic guilt riding my shoulders I still feel you. I knew I wasn’t going to birth any babies at a young age and too many times my older cousins would pound me (girls) saying that it was my “god given duty”. I was like, nope. (I was also an atheist from a young age as well, though I kept that little tidbit to myself for many years)

    Or I was told “Oh, you’ll change your mind when you have a few.” Still…nope. What’s funny is that I thought I was straight til my late twenties, and yet I was totally going against the stream. And I was obsessively careful not to get pregnant with the guys I dated. Now I know better about a lot of things, and I’m settled into the family life with my girlfriend of 5+ years who, wait for it, has two children. Funny, no? But still, they didn’t come out of MY body which was my point all along. That’s squicky!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Way to go R.G. you said what every single one of us is thinking every day and not able to say. Working and living in the mans world can be challenging and tuff as hell. I have always been the rule breaker and didn’t care. When my father used to tell me that I couldn’t do the same things as my brother could that made me determined to do just that. I have always tried to live by one motto Tell me I can’t and you better just stand back and watch me do it………..;-)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. One of the best blogs I’ve read in a while. We shouldn’t be considered “bad” just coz we want equality. But being bad sure as Hell beats being pigeon holed into what others think we should be.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The picture of the nun with the ruler–OMG, the spitting image of Sister James Marie, Dominican, proud owner of at least three rulers, broken, wooden, covered with drops of my blood on every one! The stories I could tell. Love this post!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is so relatable. I come from a Jewish family which is fairly traditional. It is so frustrating when you’re talking to relatives and whenever they wish you well or whatever and it’s always followed by things like ‘hope you get married soon and have kids’ or ‘can’t wait for your wedding’. It’s infuriating! I try to make the best of it by saying I’m never having kids and then watching them all freak out. It’s sort of scary that they really do see that as the only goal in life.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. when life deals you a shitty hand, the least you can do is have fun bluffing your ass off, and maybe even fling a few cards at your opponents, get them uncomfortable, make them sweat a lil’, ya know?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, yes, yes! I think I was about 10 when I decided I was never getting married nor having kids… admittedly, my hormones did kick in badly at 33, and now I have my gorgeous son ’17’ who I blog about regularly-who’s hilarious- but NO DAMN WAY was I having any more, nor ‘settling down.’ I’m proud to be ‘bad’. What’s that great quote: “We are the daughters and granddaughters of the witches you tried to burn”? I love being FREE, and every time I do something ‘naughty’ (and at 51, as an educated, fairly privileged woman living in the beautiful land of milk and honey that is Australia, there’s been a lot of ‘naughty’), I reflect on the freedom I have, hard fought and won for me by so many sistas down the line, and I celebrate the Power of Woman. #TIMESUP, and #thefutureisfemale indeed. Love to all of you, G xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s amazing how much power our families and friends have over us when we’re young, isn’t it? I remember feeling similarly disenfranchised when I realized I had those two options: marry a guy or be a prude/slut (didn’t matter which). I fought it for a long time before I finally gave in, and while I wouldn’t trade my kids for the world, I do wish I had felt I had another path to follow. Thanks for reminding me of this today, RG.

    Like

Comments are closed.