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

( 21 )


Rachel Simmons is a New York Times best-selling author and the founding director of the Girls' Leadership Institute. The Curse of the Good Girl looks into the phenomenon of the glass ceiling placed on girls who attempt to live up to the standard of being "good." Simmons then shows how parents can help build girls' self-esteem and give them the strength to pursue their goals.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
This Audiobook (CD) is Not Available through
Sending request ...


Rachel Simmons is a New York Times best-selling author and the founding director of the Girls' Leadership Institute. The Curse of the Good Girl looks into the phenomenon of the glass ceiling placed on girls who attempt to live up to the standard of being "good." Simmons then shows how parents can help build girls' self-esteem and give them the strength to pursue their goals.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
We all know the Good Girl: She's the perfect daughter; unfailingly polite, punctual, and friendly. While her sisters and brothers are cutting up or breaking curfew, she's dutifully completing extra credit assignments or cleaning up the garage. She's her mother's pride and her father's boast; but according to Rachel Simmons, she's probably seething inside. Resented by her peers, prone to excessive self-criticism, the Good Girl finally leaves home without the inner ballast that only comes from realizing that perfection is really unachievable. Simmons doesn't think, however, that the situation is hopeless. In The Curse of the Good Girl, she delineates lessons that can help reverse decades of self-denial and thwarted self-expression.
Publishers Weekly

In this volume for parents of middle-school daughters, the author of Odd Girl Out observes that girls today still pressure themselves to conform to the old, narrow paradigm of a nice, people-pleasing, rule-following, even-tempered, socially acceptable good girl, shunning the image of a rebellious, proud, socially outré, in-charge, outspoken bad girl. To dispel the curse of the good girl, and despite using those familiar, easily misconstrued labels as a touchstone, Girls Leadership Institute founder Simmons offers instructive tales out of school and workshops, revealing that flawed communication rituals and fear of confrontation contribute equally to a girl's belief that it is more important to be liked than to be an individual. In order to become a successful, well-adjusted "real girl," she needs to know how to say no to peers, ask for what she needs and express what she thinks. In the second half of this book, parents will find concrete strategies and tools-confidence-building exercises that emphasize emotional intelligence, self-evaluations, q&a's, scripts and lots of first-person stories-to help guide a girl's growth into a young woman who can respect and listen to her inner voice, say what she feels and thinks, embrace her limits and present an authentic self to the world. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As Simmons describes it, it's a "yes, but" mentality: yes, be a go-getter, but be nice all the time. Yes, accomplish, but don't brag about it. "It is a constant qualification-two steps forward, one step back," she says. "And just as an anorexic might say, 'I shouldn't eat this, it will make me fat,' girls are saying to themselves, 'I shouldn't say this, it will make me a bitch, a drama queen, an outcast.' "

Nowhere is that qualification clearer than in the words of a bunch of middle-school girls, whom Simmons surveyed. Asked to write down how society expects a "good girl" to behave, their responses ranged from "perfect" and "kind," "intelligent" with "tons of friends" to "no opinions on things" and "doesn't get mad." A bad girl, on the other hand, was described as a "proud" "rule breaker" who "speaks her mind" and likes being the "center of attention." Or, to put it simply, all of the things that make somebody a good leader.

How do we reconcile those two extremes? Perhaps by shifting some of the blame onto ourselves. Time and again, studies that girls face pressures that are unique. We feel burdened to please everyone (as reported by 74 percent of girls in a 2006 Girls Inc. study) but worry that leadership positions will make us seem "bossy," (according to a recent Girl Scouts report.) Yet we've been mulling about the loss of girls' self-esteem since the '90s, when Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia became standard reading for every mother.

It seems that while the doors of opportunity have finally opened, we're still having trouble walking through them. "We've created what I call a 'psychological glass ceiling'," says Simmons. "But on some level, we need to say toourselves, 'Yes, I have the same piece of paper from the same university, but why aren't I walking through the law firm door?'" We've come along way, ladies. But we've still got a lot further to go.
—Jessica Bennett
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440754104
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/20/2009
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons is the author of The New York Times bestseller Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, the first book to explore the phenomenon of bullying among girls. Simmons works internationally with girls, parents, and teachers to develop strategies to address bullying and to empower girls. A graduate of Vassar College in 1998, Simmons won a Rhodes scholarship and attended Oxford University, where she began studying female aggression. Simmons is the founding director of the Girls’ Leadership Institute, a summer program for middle and high school girls, and currently serves as a consultant to schools and organizations around the world.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part I A Map of the Good Girl World

1 The Myth of Girls' Emotional Intelligence 15

2 Is She Mad at me? Good Girl Communication Rituals 35

3 The Good Fight: Girls in Confrontation 53

4 All or Nothing: Girls and Feedback 75

5 Girl Meets World: Breaking the Good Girl Glass Ceiling 91

6 My Daughter, Myself 109

Part II Breaking the Curse

Introduction To Part II: From Good Girls to Real Girls 127

7 I Feel, Therefore I am: Building Emotional Intelligence 131

8 From Assuming To Knowing 161

9 Coming Clean: Telling and Hearing the Truth 169

10 Facing Criticism with Clear Heads 199

11 Check Your Good Girl at the Door 221

12 From Perfect Mothers to Real Mothers 237

The Greater Voice of Myself 249

Appendix 255

Acknowledgments 263

Notes 265

Index 269

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)