The notion of “goodness” for girls was jettisoned partly for a valid reason: In the past, it had been taken to a stifling extreme. Professor Rosemary Agonito, who grew up in the 1950s and whose Italian immigrant parents had not wanted a girl, is well qualified to explain the problem:
“The ‘Nice Girl’ Syndrome: Being a ‘Nice Girl’ means putting ourselves last. It means pleasing others at all costs, accommodating their needs and wants - even when their agendas harm us. By striving always to be liked and accepted (which psychologists have long known to motivate women), we suppress our own desires and feelings, our own belief systems and values, to accommodate those of others. As ‘Nice Girls’ we don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, so we don’t talk back and we don’t fight back, even when under siege. We go along; we take it….Long-suffering and uncomplaining, the ‘Nice Girl’ is ever dutiful. But being dutiful is defined as playing by somebody else’s rules, rules that we had no say in creating.
Shalit, Wendy. Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect & Find It’s Not Bad to Be Good. Random House; New York. 2007. (pg. 177)