I don’t think there’s anything that captures my mixed feelings about submission like that phrase. There’s so much in there.
Until very recently, it was one of my least favorite things to hear. So condescending. Patronizing. Paternalistic. I’ve been called “good girl” a few times in my adult life by men who had no place calling me that and it never failed to make me bristle. I even remember hating it as a child.
And then there’s the phrase itself. “Good girl.” I’ve always been a bit too much of a Good Girl for my own tastes. Even when I tried to be a bad girl, hanging out with the potheads, getting myself arrested at a protest, I’ve usually been good. I’ve always been the one with Good Judgment. My best friends now, incidentally, are either like me – the good girls who hung out with the bad kids – or are reformed bad girls. The latter assure me that I didn’t miss out, but I listen to their stories and, frankly, I’m not so sure.
Because what feminist wants to be a Good Girl? After all, every feminist knows that Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History. And then there’s the whole madonna-whore complex thing, which will certainly be a subject of its own post at some point.
Oh, and of course, there’s the fact that it’s “good girl.” I know it’s pretty commonplace to refer to grown women as girls, and I do it all the time. But there’s no denying that it adds to the patronizing tone.
So that’s why I don’t like “good girl.” Or rather, why I don’t want to like “good girl.” Because, honestly? I fucking love it. It makes my pussy wet and my heart sing. The first time a dominant partner called me a “good girl,” I felt like I had just taken a shot of morphine. And I wanted more.
You might argue that my positive reaction is a purely visceral one that bypasses all rational thought. But part of me also thinks that the reasons I dislike it are partly the reasons I like it, too. It is paternalistic and condescending. It puts my partner in the position to decide whether or not I’m good, and that’s a powerful position. Dominant.
And then there’s the very fact that I like it so much, which is a little, well, humiliating. And that just adds an extra frission of erotic stimulation and emotional intensity. As maymay said once, “I don’t want to be tortured, but I want it.” Obviously, being called a “good girl” is not exactly torture, but I think maymay perfectly captures that paradox of being submissive for me – of wanting the things I don’t want. I want them both in spite of and because of the fact that I don’t want them.
So I do have conflicted feelings and thoughts about this phrase, and they mirror my conflicted thoughts about submission.
But here’s the most embarrassing confession: right now, at this moment, there’s little I want more than to be someone’s Good Girl.