Artwork by Mashaal Sajid
Good girls, don’t cry. They must hold themselves, to a certain standard. A standard they haven’t even set themselves. You see, good girls are not heard, they are to blend in with the background and only come forward when called upon. And even then, they must not speak above their station, only answering yes to any question. And never saying no, to any demand. Good girls, must keep quiet. When the hands are wandering where they shouldn’t, they must bite their tongues and keep their silence. Because who else will carry the secrets of what goes on in the lives of us women, if we start to open our mouths, and cry out with the suppressed rage of our ancestors.
Therefore, good girls, must learn to wash away the blood stains and make evidence disappear. Because family names are important. And no one will ever believe a girl. Because it is the men, who are always, always, right.
Good girls, must be raised right. They must not be allowed to play with boys past the age of five. Because that is the time when we start to discriminate. Give them dolls instead of guns. Pink instead of blue. Kitchen sets instead of hot wheels. No more tights and no more short skirts. It sets a bad precedent.
The metamorphosis, from good girls to good women, must, start, early. Tell them, to hide their bra straps. Because even that small strip, is too provocative. And we don’t want to raise whores who flounder around arousing boys and men of all ages. Tell them, to cover their heads like good girls and hide their femininity. That means, no talks about periods ‘cause a boy can’t know what a pad is. And no lounging around with your legs spread open. We don’t want them getting the wrong idea, do we?
We must tell them, to keep their distance from boys. Because if something happens, it will be their own fault. And good girls don’t go out asking for it, do they? That means being home before the sun sets and taking care of what you wear out there.
And eventually, good girls go away to their real homes. As good women alongside their betrothed. This is where they were always meant to be. Here they must follow the same rules. Obey another man, not a father, but not too different. Keep lunch on the table at noon and birth as many children as he wants. And if it hurts at night, remember, to smile in the morning. Because good girls never say that anything is wrong. And if, god forbid, you have a child who isn’t a lucky boy, remember, to raise her, like a good girl
I know it is hard, my dear child. But that is the way of the women. And in order to become a good woman, you must first become a good girl. As women before you and those before them, have done. And it might make you sad, but remember, good girls, don’t cry.
Bio: My name is Zoha Fatima and I am a BS student of International Relations who is quite frankly frustrated by the way society treats women every day.