Hmmm. This is an interesting debate. This topic came up one day when I was talking to a male friend and asked him if he thought I was a good woman or a stupid girl. Of course he said I was a good woman, but would any male I asked that question say that I was a stupid girl? Probably not. At least not to my face. That’s the point.
We look at the actions of some people and quickly brand them as a good woman or a stupid girl based on what we view of that female’s situation. These labels usually are only used when it comes to relationships, typically when something negative has happened with the male in that relationship. For this piece I’m discussing heterosexual relationships, so I’m speaking in terms of male and female. Although, I guess it could be used in same-sex relationships too (hey it’s the millennium, so I have to be specific), use it as it applies to you.
Let’s say the male partner steps out of the relationship and has an affair be it sexual, physical, emotional, or whatever. He was doing some mess he has no business doing with someone other than his counterpart. His indiscretion becomes public (as they usually do regardless of how sneaky they think they were being). The male’s partner decides to stay with him for whatever reason. It’s her decision and we have no say in her choice. Yet, based on her choice, as outsiders looking in, we label her either a good woman or a stupid girl.
Stop fronting, you’ve said it or thought it before. I don’t care how righteous you claim to be. You have an opinion like everyone else. Having an opinion does not make you judgmental. It simply means you have an opinion. You’re human. Now that you’ve acknowledged that yes, you do have biases, let’s proceed…
I thought back to my question I asked as it stayed in my head a couple of months and thought I’d like to find out what determines how we label someone a good woman or a stupid girl. I then went to social media, of course, to post the question to get feedback. Here’s what I discovered:
First of all, this discussion question got very little response. Some people admitted to using the thoughts and even called people the terms, but they could not answer the question themselves because they honestly could not answer. However, what I did gather was the label seemed to be correlated with time and maturity.
“Hey, did you hear that Bob cheated on Vicky?”
“Yep,” she replies, shaking her head slowly from side to side.
“You know she’s still with him?”
“She’s so stupid!”
“Yep.” They both shake their heads and walk away.
That’s usually how the water cooler talk goes. Quick, simple, without facts, or details. All they know is Bob’s messed up and Vicky accepts the behavior. Vicky, on the other hand, may overhear the exchange and be pained all over again. They don’t know the story. All they know or think they know is that she is stupid. Should she go tell them why she stayed? If she does, can she expect them to share her side with the staff? Maybe she should just send an email to everyone she works with so they will know why she made her decision so they won’t think she’s stupid.
Child please. Someone will always think negatively of you no matter what you do. You can’t win them all over. When it comes to your personal life, keep it that way – personal. Sometimes our personal lives are forced open publicly and we get angry at the person who caused the whole drama. In this case, it’s Bob. If you look further, it may not be Bob though. We don’t have time to be investigating people’s lives to figure out who is behaving stupidly or who is being a good woman. We just want to give our opinion and move on.
Timing seems to come into play with our labeling of these situations. It seems that our first response is to automatically label the woman as stupid for staying. However, our label for that woman may change over time. What if that man learns from the hurt he caused his woman and not only vows to become better, but puts his vow into action? He redeems himself and her decision to stay. Eventually, that woman and that couple may gain our respect. At that point, we start to see her as a good woman for sticking by her man’s side.
Maturity also comes into play with those situations. If the woman is staying simply because other people told her not to get involved with that man in the first place or she wants to hang on just so some other woman can’t have him, then we start loudly claiming her as a stupid girl. Her lack of maturity is keeping her there for the wrong reasons and none of them are healthy. What if he is a frequent cheater and she keeps hanging on hoping one day he’ll figure out that she is the best person for him? We give her the stupid girl label too. In this case, timing is probably working against her because while she is waiting for time to change things, she may be putting herself at risk of not only major emotional and psychological damage, but she could be risking her health as well if he is not protecting himself in his conquests. We can’t help but to recognize these decisions as the opposite of smart.
Today’s challenge is to self-reflect. Ask yourself if you are a good woman (man) or a stupid girl (boy). What makes you so? Without taking into the opinions of others, are you ok with the label you have given yourself? If not, what can you do to be the change you want for yourself and the image you want to project?