Step 1 in 'Nice Girl' Recovery: Start Being Mean

Being a nice girl has some perks. Sometimes, you get stepped on, instinctively apologize for it, and then give up your good spot on the subway. Other times, you spend $20 on pens you can "loan" people and not expect back. You'll also do things like go to sushi restaurants you hate because that's what your friends want, smile at rude people who shout things at you on the street, and never use all your sick days. I am done with it. I want to be mean.


As a kid, I was not the bullier or the bullied or even the bystander -- I was floating off to the side, selling cupcakes, and getting too distracted by figuring out how to get along with everyone to even notice there was bullying going on at all. If I were meaner, I probably would have yelled at someone. That would have been better.

Mean people get refunds on products they bought that arrived broken, and they get a better spot in jammed parking lots. They make more enemies, but they also get more respect, I think.

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Today's feminism teaches us to be tougher -- it teaches us that it's okay to be selfish, to yell back at cat callers, to ask for what we want, and to demand change from people around us. That's a lot to ask of someone who won't even ask her roommates to clean their own dishes, but I believe in it. 

I'm not going to go out and, like, start tripping people on the street, but I do need to start putting myself first, speaking up when I'm not interested in group plans, and asking for my pens back. It's about being kind to yourself first, you know? 

And then yelling at people who need to be yelled at. That part is important -- the yelling and arguing and standing up for people part. Even if it's just yourself, you're worth it.

There's a lifetime of lessons to re-learn. Better get started ...


Image via Katalin Kondoros

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