Wednesday, August 7, 2013

I know you want it, good girl

The new Drake song came out a few days ago, and a specific lyric really caught my attention:

'Cause you're a good girl and you know it
You act so different around me
'Cause you're a good girl and you know it
I know exactly who you could be

After ruminating and clickin my feets on the ground for several minutes, I realized there's another song in my life (well... in everyone's lives right now, whether they like it or not) that mentions the concept of a "good girl." Blurred Lines!

And that's why I'm gonna take a good girl
I know you want it...
You're a good girl
Can't let it get past me
You're far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it...
But you're a good girl

Rap Genius, a website that takes rap lyrics and has users annotate them to explain their "real" meanings, had this to say about the Drake lyrics:

The idea that girls are "good" deep down but they fake being bad "to keep him interested" really rubs me the wrong way because it puts the woman in the category of good or bad. Virgin or whore. It doesn't take into account the nuances of her emotions.

The Daily Beast's Tricia Romano said Blurred Lines "is about how a girl really wants crazy wild sex but doesn't say it - positing that age-old problem where men think no means yes into a catchy, hummable song."

Pigeon-hole-ing women into the virgin and whore categories isn't a new phenomenon, by any means. But what concerns me is the fact that the phrase "good girl" might be getting trendier than ever before.

Even more troubling is this annotation from Rap Genius on the lyrics, "'Cause you're a good girl and you know it/I know exactly who you could be" :

In this annotation Rihanna supposedly "went bad" when she fell into a relationship with Chris Brown, a man who verbally and physically abused her. This sets Rihanna up in the position to be blamed for how her relationship with an abuser polluted her cleanliness. How is she the bad girl for being tied into a relationship in which someone she loved for a long time manipulated her? Abusive relationships are vicious cycles. The idea that domestic violence can "turn a good girl bad" is what keeps women around the world from telling a friend, a family member, legal officials, anyone about her suffering. Every day another woman feels guilty for staying in a relationship that hurts her. Every day another woman feels she deserves it. She's a "bad girl."

What the two song lyrics have in common is both of the men are sure they know what's best for the woman. No matter what she says or does, she is still a "good girl," and she still wants sex.

An argument can be made that these artists are simply trying to push the boundaries of what's acceptable, to be sexy, to be masculine and confident. But what would happen if the term "good girl" became everyday vernacular? "Yeah, she was trying to act all flirty, but I know she's a good girl. I know she wants me, but she's a good girl." It fetishizes the idea of that woman's moral compass and has the potential to rob her of the opportunity to express how she really feels in the midst of a sexual and highly emotionally elevated situation.