The New York Times

The Bad News on 'Good' Girls


At a backyard barbecue when I was about 10, my little sister and I overheard my dad talking to another father. “You know, I think if they were boys, I would probably let them play a little farther down the street,” my feminist-minded dad said, in a moment of father-bonding frankness. My sister and I were incensed, and when we got home, we let him have it — how dare he suggest he would treat us differently if we were boys?

Like many middle-class millennial daughters, my sister and I embodied a new model of the “good girl”: well-behaved, college-bound A students who played sports, had a full roster of extracurricular activities and were expected (by our parents and ourselves) to be moving toward successful careers.

What girls like us didn’t realize — what

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