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The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence

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3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  561 ratings  ·  152 reviews
Bestselling author of Odd Girl Out, Rachel Simmons exposes the myth of the Good Girl, freeing girls from its impossible standards and encouraging them to embrace their real selves

In The Curse of the Good Girl, bestselling author Rachel Simmons argues that in lionizing the Good Girl we are teaching girls to embrace a version of selfhood that sharply curtails their power and...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published July 23rd 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,797)
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Alison
Wow. I never write reviews but really felt to need to for this one so forgive me if it is a bit choppy.

This is such a great book for anyone with a daughter or works with adolescent girls. This book talks about the pressure young girls (and women) face to be a "good girl", one who is always nice and selfless, and how being that "good girl" actually leads to a loss of self and empowerment.

The author first makes her case against the Good Girl. Discussing how in her attempt to always be nice, girl...more
Laura
work in progress.

This is tough. It's easy to say -- "I'm okay with people not liking me." Or "Oh, bec. I'm not a good girl, that's why people don't like me." I know, bec. for the most part I don't care what people think of me. And yet I find myself doing some of these things. Reading this book, I suddenly observed "good girl" interactions everywhere. On one occasion, I was distracted and slow to answer a question from another female. The other woman got upset and left the room. I had just met h...more
Lara
Original review here: http://lalakme.blogspot.com/2009/09/c...

Shortly before the big move, TLC Book Tours contacted me about reviewing The Curse of the Good Girl by Rachel Simmons on my blog. My first inclination was to say, "No, thank you. Too much on my plate right now." But then I read the book's description and, as a mother of girls, I thought I shouldn't pass up the opportunity.

When Joel and I first turned the key in our new home, the book was already waiting for me to begin reading.

As I st...more
Betty
I more or less scanned the book to mine for useful bits. It's more applicable to the teenager set but did get some good ideas to think about, especially when modeling your own behavior for your daughter. How a mom uses/expresses her own feelings and communicates in her relationships become part of the "emotional management" repertoire for your daughter. And how parents manage and affirm their daughter's emotions can help build self-worth and confidence. As you develop your self as a person it's...more
Rachel
When I first started reading this, I couldn't relate at all. Who are these girls and why are they acting this way??

Then I realized that while I don't have "the curse of the good girl", it totally explains why I have had problems working in all female environments and relating to most women; they have the "curse".

I especially enjoyed the chapter about education. When I was a teacher I was on both ends of the issues related to the curse-parents who would complain that their child didn't think I...more
Lacey N.
Even though I'm not a mother, I was a adolescent girl at one point in my life and I am, of course, a daughter. I am also a former public school teacher and I instantly recognized many of the girls in Rachel Simmons' THE CURSE OF THE GOOD GIRL: RAISING AUTHENTIC GIRLS WITH COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE. The often contradictory quest to be the ultimate "good girl"--soemone who is universally liked, always amiable and willing to play by the rules -- is supressing girls' abilities to develop themselves as...more
Gwen
Apr 29, 2012 Gwen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Gwen by: Goodreads
Shelves: feminism
As a 20-something childfree woman, I am clearly not the target demographic for this book--but now I completely recognize the vestiges of my "Good Girl" adolescence. A good chunk of this book reiterates things I've read elsewhere (especially in Frankel's "Good Girls Don't Get the Corner Office), but the action items give me concrete steps forward to fully break out of this persona.

1) Dealing with conflict/confrontational situations (188-189):
-Affirm the relationship
-Use an "I statement"
-Say your...more
Carolynn
Aug 28, 2009 Carolynn is currently reading it
So far, it is a very interesting book. I got the copy to review, but I specifically asked for this one because I am uniquely qualified to review it at this point in my life being a mom to an almost 14 year old daughter. Some of the concepts and hypothesis laid out in the first couple of chapters are very interesting, and ring very true. Too true.
Nancy Mehegan
The Curse of the Good Girl"" by Rachel Simmons

Do Naughty Girls Go Far?

I wish I had this book when I as 14 years old! High School seemed a blur of emotions and a feeling of overwhelm.

Good Girl Myth

Simmons exposes the “myth of the Good Girl”—a paradigm characterized by being unerringly nice, polite, modest, and selfless—arguing that we are teaching our girls in ways that limit their power and potential.


Girls Give Away Their Power

Society provides confusing messages to girls. As young children gir...more
Roslyn Ross
The first part of this book is almost interesting--why do girls communicate the way they do? Especially in high school? What are those weird passive-aggressive girl fights about? Why is it so hard for teenage girls to communicate with each other in a healthy way? This book offers a tiny insight (hence the 2 stars) to why: girls are obsessed with being "good". But it doesn't get into it nearly enough.

Where do girls get the idea of what a "good girl" is? It's not just TV and their mom. I actually...more
Sarah
I don't necessarily like the title of this book or her overarching conclusions - including conclusions on the societal pressure to be a "good girl." The first 3rd of the book is fairly long and pretty wordy.

I also usually avoid books like this, because they are oftentimes annoying and depressing, but I did not find that to be true of this book. What this book did do was offer practical ideas and questions to ask oneself and one's daughter for better communication. It also goes over the importan...more
Shannon
I loved Simmons' other novel, and this one was also quite good. Referencing Aaron Beck and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, two researchers whose work was crucial for my thesis concerning depressive symptoms in early adolescent girls, gives her bonus points. I think the following line from her book sums it up nicely: When kindness comes at the expense of truth, it is not a kindness worth having, and when generosity leads to silence or abuse, it is not a generosity worth giving.

The curse is very real and f...more
Joan
I went into this book thinking I used to be a good girl, but I realized, I wasn't really a good girl in my late teens and early twenties, I was just very immature and didn't really grow up until late. I think I've matured very much in the last three years and what this book taught me about being a self-described good girl and how to change that, also taught me about how to be a "real" mother to a daughter if I ever have kids. I think I'm more assertive now though, though I think I did and still...more
Lisa Butterworth
It's really nice to have a lot of the problematic "good girl" behaviors laid bare. I'm so caught up in my culture, it's easy not to notice that I'm being passive aggressive or teaching my girls not to share their negative emotions. I appreciated this book bringing these sorts of things into sharp focus. My one critique of the book is that it felt a little repetitive at times, and I tended to skim some of the examples.
Katie Dubik Schwarz
For those recovering good girls (turned moms, or just adults) or those parents or coaches of good girls, this is well worth the read.

Simmons is a no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is author who knows what she's talking about. She outlines and explains the good girl culture for those of us several decades from the know. She tells us what she sees at her Girls Leadership Institute and the theory behind it. In the last section of the book, she gives practical advice on changing the norms within our fam...more
Courtney
"Good" girls are at risk. That is to say, girls who are under the curse are growing up emotionally stunted and are then trying to function as adults in a world that expects them to be emotionally mature. This book does a great job of uncovering the many lies that girls believe and how it affects the way they behave. It considers the ways that parents, teachers, and coaches create or perpetuate this concept of the "good" girl. While it is clearly targeted at the adults in the lives of adolescent...more
Shazzt
Jan 26, 2014 Shazzt added it
I spotted this in the library and thought it looked interesting. Despite being a girl, I have always struggled to understand "girl drama" (neither me nor my friends were into that) so I was interested to read what the author had to say on that subject. I was also attracted by the "good girl" tag. I have always been a "girly swot" and I know that it hasn't always been a positive thing in my life.

It was an interesting read for the most part and included some strategies that parents and other sign...more
Patty
I really tried but wasn't able to finish this book. It seemed too canned. I felt that I was reading something for a second time. I would have prefered more factual studies and evidence. It just seemed that the author was cashing in on the feminist movement. Sorry.
Melanie
This book is interesting. For example, the author hypothesizes that women/girls are catty because they are taught that they can't be confrontational and be "good girls", so they gossip and talk bad behind each others' backs, ultimately because they are self-conscious but don't want to do anything that would make them not be liked. The author says girls are dramatic because they don't feel they can act however they feel. Instead they have to be nice, so, if they don't feel nice, they don't unders...more
Leigh
Geez, this is me. Maybe I can prevent my daughter from some of my bad tendencies.
Laura
I thought this book had a lot of good information in the beginning and in the end, but got a little repetitive and boring for me in the middle. I did like the issues she brought up about how girls "work" in relationships and inappropriately treat all relationships as friendships, how they talk, and their self-talk. It was an interesting read to me as both a mother of two girls and also as a woman myself. I really liked her section at the end about how mothers are grown up versions of "good girls...more
Emily
This review was much more self-reflective than most, so I decided to move most of it over to my blog...come check it out!

Since I recently started working with the young women in my church, I thought this book might help me know some of the pressures they're facing from society and give me some tools to combat them. What I didn't expect was that I would see so much of myself in Ms. Simmons's book.

I spent a good deal of my growing up years, well into college, inordinately concerned with how I was...more
Brittiany
I was really interested in reading this book when I saw it in the First Reads section. When I got to it, I was a bit disappointed. I don't think it helped I went from reading a bunch of suspense/action books to reading a book very much based on research, which is not my usual reading. I found it really hard to get into it, especially since some of the statements made were somewhat offensive. I could relate with the "good girl" in a lot of ways, but like I said, I also found some of her "findings...more
Jessi
I stopped listening to this part way through, but not because I didn't enjoy it. The second portion is tips on working with your daughter to overcome the curse of the good girl and I felt it repeated much of what I already learned and I don't have a daughter. Still, the book was excellent and address an idea that has been bothering me in the back of my mind and which I could rarely put words to. I think I have The Curse of the Good Girl. The Curse is essentially a tension between conflicting soc...more
Kristin Harkins
I've thought a lot about this book since I finished it at the end of April. In fact, hardly a day goes by in which I'm not reminded of something Simmons wrote or I don't recall with startling clarity the image of "The Good Girl" Simmons so deftly painted. The book resonated with me so deeply because I am the quintessential Good Girl evoked in Simmons' title and painstakingly illustrated in the first half of her book, but I didn't need Simmons to tell me that. All my life I've been told by family...more
Sara
Feb 16, 2010 Sara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sara by: msn
4.5 stars. I heard about this book on the news, where they made it sound like a study of why girls struggle with trying to be "good", stifling any "bad" emotions to achieve this perfect appearance. The first half of the book is exactly this, giving examples of how girls interact with each other, the pressure from society, peers, and family to be seen as "good", and why many girls do not reach their full potential because of this pressure weighing them down. The second half is full of ways to com...more
Sherri
I recommend this book to any woman who has a daughter or works with girls in middle school and high school. It's a bit tedious, but was worth finishing. I will pull this out again when my daughter is a little older, and will use the workbook section at the end to help guide her through dealing with conflict and with relationships with peers and adults. The section on being a role-model mother versus a "perfect" mother was a good reminder that we are our daughters' first and most-important role m...more
Lucia
I really hate reading these kind of books. Even if the points are valid, these types of books tend to be repetitive and redundant (get it?) in order to fill enough pages to make a "book". I have the attention span of a 4 year old, so I'd much prefer a bullet point list of important things to know, or better yet, have a friend read it and summarize it for me! But in the case of this book, it was referred to me by a friend (referred, not summarized, mind you) when my daughter was asked the questi...more
Laurie
Parents of girls need to read this. I started this book because I know I was a good girl growing up and wanted to think more broadly about raising my own daughter to be more outspoken, understand who she is better, and generally value her own self rather than the self that others might expect her to be. I had a little trip down memory lane and some illuminating ideas about how my life has twisted and turned because of who I was "supposed" to be or how I was "supposed" to act in order to conform...more
Diana Bogan
When I began reading this book I couldn't help but have the same reaction as one of the other reviewers who rated this book. I wondered aloud, "Who are these girls who act like this?" I don't recall acting or being treated in the manner described in this book, nor did I want to consider that either of my two daughters lived in this "good girl" mentality of a world. I admit, I almost bagged the book because I didn't initially identify with the relationship scenarios between teenage girls presente...more
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“Many of the most accomplished girls are disconnecting from the truest parts of themselves, sacrificing essential self-knowledge to the pressure of who they think they ought to be.” 8 likes
“Shame is a virus that creates paralysis in its hosts. When you're busy telling yourself what a bad person you are, you expend most of your energy obsessing over your self- not what you may have done wrong, not what you can do to fix it. For this reason, shame creates a moat around girls' potential. It limits their ability or willingness to face challenges. It makes them want to be alone, isolating them from friends, their most important buffer against stress. Shame is therefore a major threat to girls' resilience.” 5 likes
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