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Publisher Description

Let me begin with a bit of personal disclosure: I was born, and still remain, a "bad girl." Classically rebellious, outspoken, socially unconventional, artistic, very smart, a dreamer of sorts, and a risk-taker who was in charge of my life, my world never reflected the domains of those girls who strived to be people-pleasers, the ones who were far more socially acceptable than I in school and in my friends' homes. There was no doubt that my adolescence reflected Rachel Simmons' descriptions of "bad girls": "A reckless rejection of femininity, everything a girl was told not to be" (2009, 4). (1) Among other characteristics, good girls, says Simmons, strive to be perfect, aim to do everything right, follow all the rules, always speak well, remain quiet, sheltered, and rarely share her opinions (Simmons, 2009, 2). Surely my parents secretly desired for me to be more of a good girl, but they learned quickly that parents do not always get what they want with teenagers Most of those who taught me in school and in college probably wished that I was not a bad girl, either. I challenged the books I read and the rules someone put in place; broke them when I thought the situation was appropriate to do so. Generally, I felt it was always appropriate to break the rules when they did not make sense. I had no fear of scaring the hell out of anyone, either. Never content to accept authority for authority's sake, I frustrated more than my share of schoolteachers and professors alike; I never made excuses for my behavior, although I was quick to apologize if I treated someone disrespectfully. Unlike many of my female peers, the pressure to be good rarely, if ever, emerged; perhaps my ability to play nicely in the sandbox was limited, but my lessons in discovering relationship and conflict management skills grew exponentially.

December 1
Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Department of English

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