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 media?
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 provider.
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 nurturance.
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 is.
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.
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 it.
So yes, the hypothesis does explain why the reverse of the original question does not flourish as a societal concept — it doesn’t match society’s favored rubrics.
Secondly, because I like considering things like this, let’s check out the original questioners again. Why do nice guys plaintively ask why good girls prefer bad boys? Is that assumption really true all the time — or could the original question be based at least partly on nothing more than sour grapes, i.e. the ‘nice’ boys are asking this because they’re not ‘getting any,’ and the bad boys apparently are?
Are these young men really nice, if they’re not willing to just be friends with a girl, rather than expecting sexual favors in return for their company? Are nice boys really nice if they’re not willing to transcend restrictive cultural gender roles — for both themselves and the women in their lives? Let’s remember slavery to a limiting societal gender role is stifling both to the master as well as the slave.