Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I am not a 'good girl'

Is there a particular phrase  drives you barmy with rage? I have one. I heard it just now. I was in the chemist and a gruff older dude stomped in in his work boots and asked for a script he'd dropped in earlier. The neat, pony-tailed assistant said "I'll just get it for you" and he responded "Good girl".

Good girl. 

Honestly, have you ever thought of saying this to a grown woman? Here's a tip. DON'T. I felt so mad for her. She politely continued on with her business and didn't seem to be mad, but then I usually react in a similar way because of MANNERS and POWER DYNAMICS relating to AGE. Because I don't hear it from anyone younger than me, or even those who are my contemporaries. Nope.

Being told "Good girl" is an unfortunate reality from time to time, and each and every time it's said to me it fills me with rage, and chips away at any respect I have for the person saying it. It's the verbal equivalent of a pat on the head, and every bit as patronising. It is said in a number of contexts, and as with the chemist today, I'm sorry to say that most of them are in the workplace, where you would hope that things like age and gender would just be left out of it. 

The first situation in which it's often said relates to me having just performed some entirely basic and ordinary task that would be seen as merely minimum functioning in any adult with a normal intellect. This might be remembering to bring a document to a meeting, or something equally innocuous. Telling me I'm a good girl in this kind of circumstance is so utterly demeaning, because it implies that something that really ought to be assumed in even a mediocre employee making a nod towards professionalism is being rewarded to me.  Would you say "good boy" to a grown man in the same situation? So for fuck's sake don't say it to me. (Seriously, if you answered 'yes' to this you need to go take a good hard look in the mirror). Just say thanks with all the decorum and brevity that the situation calls for, in a manner that acknowledges that I am in fact a professional and capable of really basic shit even though I am, like, female. Like the chick in the chemist today.

The second situation is where I've actually performed above and beyond in some way or another. "Oh good girl" I'll be told. No. Not fucking good girl. Guess what - the reason Ive performed so well and been able to impress you is probably because I'm a lot smarter than you. I'm sorry to come across as arrogant but seriously, my IQ is probably higher than yours despite me being younger, and being told "good girl" by you just makes me seethe. You know what else? I work hard. I've got many years of study under my belt, and even more of workforce experience. I'm an adult. I'm 30 goddam years old. So between my age, my intellect and my hard work, I would like to be treated as a professional in a professional environment. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!

These are some of the things I will think if you call me a "good girl". Just so you know.

This includes you Tony *fuckface* Abbott.


NB If you are a complete moron, here is a basic test you can use to work out whether it's appropriate to say "good girl" to someone. 
Q Would you say "good boy" it to a man your own age in this situation?
A Then don't say "good girl" to me.


Unknown said...

Hey. As scary as this may sound, I actually googled your name and found this blog after reading an article in an old edition of Yen Magazine, "Fag by Choice".
Are you the same Natasha Ludowyk ?
If so, I love how you write that article. If now, please ignore the comment and .. I'm not a psycho.
Thank you :)

Natasha said...

Hi Unee. Yep, that was me! That was the only thing I ever wrote for Yen - I'm glad you liked it.