What’s a ‘good girl’? This organization is redefining the term

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Kayla Jones (middle) is the president for Old Dominion University's chapter of The Good Girl Movement, an organization with a mission to redefine the narrative for black women. (WYDaily/Courtesy Brooklyne Baker)
Kayla Jones (middle) is the president of Old Dominion University’s chapter of The Good Girl Movement, an organization with a mission to redefine the narrative for black women. (WYDaily/Courtesy Brooklyne Baker)

When someone is referred to as a “good girl,” we might think of a modest woman who is faithfully dedicated to her church.

Or even a woman who is obedient to her parents or partner.

Whatever comes to mind when hearing the term, it’s more than likely something that has been ingrained through societal ideologies and norms. Norms that were probably not created by women, and much less likely to have been created by black women.

It’s why Brooklyne Baker sought to redefine the narrative around what a good girl is when she founded The Good Girl Movement at Hampton University in 2016.

“Nobody can dispute the fact that…there’s an ‘angry black woman syndrome,’ [a belief] especially now with social media and reality TV, that we can’t get along with each other,” she said. “This is the common narrative that’s being pushed because we are not the ones able to tell our stories, now we finally are.”

What started as a blog while she studied journalism at Hampton University, now a team of Good Girl writers contribute editorial pieces to the organization’s site on topics like soul food, girl talk, and “News & Notes,” to which Baker said is a look at current events “through a black girl lens.”

The movement has grown to eight chapters at host sites ranging from Northern Illinois University to Spelman College, and Old Dominion University. It’s also become a community service organization and a soon-to-be nonprofit that Baker said will help in launching a full-on investigative journalism branch.

Each chapter has its own president to head campus and community-specific initiatives but in the coming months, the movement as a whole is hosting their second annual “Feminine Product Drive,” becoming pen pals with incarcerated women, and collecting books for free library stands to “spread goodness across the community.”

Though ultimately, Baker said the movement is a community of networked black women who have each other after they’ve devoted themselves to everyone else around them.

“Nothing is ever about us, we’re always pouring out to other people,” she said. “The sisterhood is detrimental.”

With feminism at its core, tearing away from the narrative means a good girl can own her sexuality, be comfortable in her skin, and uplift other women while also encouraging self-development and empowerment as “everything starts with self,” Baker said.

Except when it comes to her. Baker added her long-term vision for The Good Girl Movement is that it becomes independent without any attachment to her name as the founder.

“This movement is not for me…It’s for all the black girls,” she said. “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement.”

To learn more about The Good Girl Movement, click here. Connect with the Good Girls at ODU on Instagram by clicking here. 

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