Good girl

woman (2)

Be a “good girl” is all she had heard-

It made sense, good is a virtuous word

She did not know that being good came

With strings attached, all the same

The parameters of being good had much to do

With her gender, though she lacked a clue

For in her naive world-view good was defined

By honesty, industry and purity of mind

Regardless of gender, these qualities were universal-

But,

She was not expected  merely to be good, but  a “good girl”

This juxtaposition of words implied so much more

Weighty expectations that she had to endure

**

Good girls should be seen, but not really heard

No uproarious laughter, no loud word

Should escape their mouths, she was told

They should step daintily, not have a stride bold..

Back off quickly in intellectual discourse

Never state their opinions with much force

(Mind you, these rules were for girls who were given

Similar to male counterparts, a liberal education.)

Obeying your elders good upbringing signified

So she suppressed her rebellious streak and complied

Though in front of these rules she could not resign

Herself completely, may be she just was not destined

To be the “good girl” who would in due course transform

Into a well-mannered lady with old-fashioned charm.

**

Raised in a family with ideas fairly modern

Where education was not a subject of discrimination

She eventually ended up highly qualified

In a male-dominated field, which she entered with pride

Though confident in her abilities, she quickly realized

Behaving in her “good girl” ways would be ill-advised-

She would change her walk to a long, confident stride

Speak clearly and loudly, be assertive; she did decide

It was not easy to break the stereotype in which she

Had been typecast for so long, she thought bitterly

At every step she heard her conditioning chide

Her for not being a good girl, letting her manners slide.

**

Progress was slow but she managed to

Keep her head high in her workplace too

Stereotyping was dangerous- she had learnt

She resolved never again to get burnt.

**

 

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