Well... there's Barbie. As the bumpersticker
says, "I want to grow up to be Barbie -- that
bitch has everything!" Unfortunately she's an impossible role model too. Normal
humans just aren't shaped that way. However, our average young
woman probably won't realize these body models are utterly
incompatible. She's even less likely to laugh and say, "What
nonsense those images are!"
A nice girl preferring a bad boy is an expression of a (peculiar)
cultural norm: women nurture and civilize men, who consequently
provide for them. So what would a nice boy preferring a bad girl be
saying, in the societal rubrics we're speaking of here?
The implied expression would be of a male providing for an
uncivilized, sexually free woman. While there are stories about this
sort of idea, it is not societally seen as a good thing. Our society
seems to believe men are supposed to be in control of women -- not
the other way around, and not a lack of anyone controlling at all.
The fact this control-based rubric is horrifically damaging to those
involved doesn't matter to the society or the media supporting
She may wonder what's wrong with her -- why can't she be
that way too? When she looks around, she'll see her peers are
usually asking the same question, and doing their best to be
sure all their peers feel just as inadequate as they. Society's
doing its best to affect them too, after all -- in the end, the
media does nothing more but take society's existing rubrics to
a profitable commercial extreme.
I do find it encouraging to see young women who appear to
play a more self-assertive role -- but is it really her? Yes,
she may be wearing a shirt declaring "Dump him!" However, has
she truly decided to be an unabashedly self-aware woman... or
is she just slavishly buying into the latest media-created role
model for her gender?
Have you ever noticed how often women's magazines heckle and
lecture? Some of the headlines are downright demanding: "Bedroom
Dos & Don'ts" or "Must-Have Fall Fashions!" Why must
we do what we're told in bed, or buy these new clothes?
Others seem to need to denigrate men in order to exalt women:
"10 Topics to Turn Him Off" or "Younger Men! Enjoy One Today"
or "7 Strange Ideas Guys Have About Sex" -- do we really need
to lie to guys, treat them like sex toys, or laugh at their
misconceptions? Would we like that if it were done to us?
Our hypothetical young female will probably deeply internalize
just how much she sucks. No one could possibly ever like someone who
is so worthless as she. She'll be lucky if anyone ever shows any
interest in her at all. In fact, she'd probably better latch onto
the first guy that comes along.
Alternatively, our hypothetical young female can internalize the
media's classic good girl role instead, which is nothing more than a
nurturer of others -- a civilizing force, as it were. What does a
properly good girl want in a guy, in the artificial realm of
They want someone who lets them really, completely fulfill that
role -- who needs their specific nurturing and civilizing. If she's
the best nurturer ever, then obviously she doesn't suck. Her love
will somehow save the wild boy, domesticating him into a good
So what's likely to be the first guy she meets who actually shows
some interest in her? Someone with a huge ego, who's more interested
in what she represents than who she truly is. Someone who thinks
she'll have sex with him. Someone 'mysterious' or 'dangerous' -- who
obviously has mastered the media's implied package deal of cool --
and thus makes her feel slightly less inadequate than usual. Someone
the media tells her needs her complete, selfless devotion and
Someone who's willing to come up to her and actually
ask -- long before a nice guy has worked up the courage
to do so.
According to the media, nice boys don't need her nurturing --
they're already civilized, thus not exciting or fulfilling enough
for a nice girl. The fact that bad boys are sometimes just genuinely
unpleasant, nasty people doesn't enter into the equation at all.
Some poor girl who's deeply internalized her media assigned
gender role will buy into it heart and soul -- no matter how much
she's subsequently torn apart by it. She won't be able to get rid of
this harmful media-created delusion until she dumps the artificial
crap her society's trying to feed her, and learns who she really
So let's turn around this hypothesis regarding the excessive
internalization of societal roles, and analyze it bluntly and
critically. First, for intellectual curiosity, does the hypothesis
answer all the potential questions it raises? I think the answer is
yes. We can test it by flipping the original question -- by asking
why nice boys don't prefer bad girls as much as nice girls seem to
prefer bad boys.
How would the 'excessive internalization of societal roles'
theory answer this question? A nice boy, by the media's definition,
is one who is a good provider, already civilized, and not really in
need of a nice, nurturing girl. What's a bad girl? Someone who
refuses to be a nurturer at the cost of her personality -- perhaps
even someone who is in charge of her own sexuality, rather than
'saving' it for one guy in need of her nurturing.