Good Bad Girl

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Johnny studied Sissy as he smoked an after-supper cigar. He wondered what criterion people used when they applied the tags "good" and "bad" to their fellowmen. Take Sissy. She was bad. But she was good. She was bad where the men were concerned. But she was good because wherever she was, there was life, good, tender, overwhelming, fun-loving and strong-scented life. He hoped that his newly born daughter would be a little like Sissy.

Good girls don't. But she does.

Always Female due to the Double Standard, the Good Bad Girl is less chaste than her fellow female characters. Ever since her figure developed, boys have been making passes at her—and she's been accepting some. In fact, shockingly, she probably even takes the initiative in going after men sometimes. Consequently, she's built up a notorious sexual history around them (which may, however, be exaggerated—many a Good Bad Girl eventually settles for monogamy rather than promiscuity).

She (and her most trusting friends) can't understand why people believe that it's bad for a woman to like sex as much as she does. She's not The Vamp, and she's not even a Gold Digger. Sex for her is not just part of her zeal for living but also of a certain benevolent nature which extends to her non-sexual friendships. She tends to feel sorry when a man isn't getting any—though not necessarily a willing partner for any man: she's unlikely to stray if married to a husband who's good in bed, but if she's unattached, she could fall for her Spear Counterpart, the Chivalrous Pervert in a heartbeat.

This kind of Good Bad Girl is very likely to also be a female Ethical Slut with a benevolent For Happiness morality. However, it could also be so that some part of her believe that Sex Is Evil and make her feel guilty about her "immoral" hornyness and overcompensate for it a bit.

If the Good Bad Girl actually decides to do for pay what most Good Bad Girls do only for fun, she will become a Hooker with a Heart of Gold. If boys actually want to be with her due to her experience, then it's My Girl Is a Slut.

Examples of Good Bad Girl include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Many an Anime Hard-Drinking Party Girl:
  • Shizuru from Mai-Otome is a lesbian variant.
  • Rin and Ayane from Shuukyuu Shoujo seem to fit into this. What with them practically jumping the main character as soon as they meet? And Rin's obsession with big boobs? And Ayane having no qualms about going around without panties and getting naked on the road for blackmail?


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

Jessica: I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way.

  • The trope namer is 1931's The Good Bad Girl, with Mae Clarke as the title character.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Aunt Sissy from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.
  • Isadora Wing in Erica Jong's Fear Of Flying.
  • A girl named Elunud in the Brother Cadfael mystery (and TV episode) The Raven in the Foregate. She is also a good example of how such a girl can be exploited.
  • Captain Roland, from the Temeraire series, is a borderline case, a sort of blurring the lines of this, Lady of War, and Eternal Sexual Freedom, despite being a woman in the early 19th century. It's good to be the captain (later admiral) of one of the most critical dragons to the war effort (who don't accept male captains, hence the extra liberties allowed).
  • Zinka in Diana Wynne Jones's Deep Secret is a nice young woman with quite a few sexual conquests under her belt (and a hobby of selling porn at fan conventions), and is fairly up-front about it all. She also turns out to be married to the protagonist's brother, so score one more for eventual monogamy.
  • Caddy from The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner is described by the author as the "true hero" of the story despite the fact that she is sexually promiscuous and brings dishonor on her family for having a child out of wedlock. She even agrees to have sex with Quentin at one point; although, to be very clear, they do not actually go through with it.
  • Admiral Alice Truman from the Honorverse is noted mostly for three things: first, her military genius, second, her outstanding beauty, and third, her energetic love life. Her friends often joke that, due to her tendency to surround herself with similarly blonde and blue-eyed male officers, she is assembling a harem to match her in appearance. She's also a great female example of a Chivalrous Pervert.
  • Eva Bates in Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
  • Critics have actually called the titular heroine of Henry James' novella Daisy Miller " a good, bad girl." She was literally chaste, but this was 19th-century Europe, where her habit of flirting and strolling with two men (whom she wasn't married or related to) was absolutely scandalous!
  • A remarkable number of Robert A. Heinlein's female protagonists are examples of this trope. In fact, in many of his later works he seems to treat this as the natural and proper state of both males and females: loving as many people as possible in as many ways as possible. Notable specific examples include the titular protagonist of Friday, Patricia of Stranger in A Strange Land, Star of Glory Road, Maureen Johnson Smith Long of Time Enough for Love, and in fact almost all of Lazarus Long's coterie from that novel onwards.
    • Patricia is an interesting case, as it turns out that her religion actually requires its innermost grade of members to be polyamorous.
  • Everyone in Brave New World (albeit from the perspective of our own culture). Involvement in not only sex but public sex, in the Orgy Porgy is compulsory, as is sterilization or contraception. (Babies are produced entirely via ectogenesis)
  • The Wife of Bath in The Canterbury Tales, although she (says she) only has sex in marriage, and only marries when she's been widowed; she's had five husbands so far and has an eye out for number six on the road to Canterbury. Her prologue is a ringing defence of women's sexuality against the ideal of chastity, saying that genitals are there to be used and that not everyone is meant to be pure white flour, there's a place for "hot barley bread."
  • Julia from Nineteen Eighty-Four. She had her first affair at the age of sixteen with a sixty-year-old man, and went on to have multiple others. It's not just Miniluv who like to do it to Julia. Of course she can't be open about this, partly because she's ostensibly a member of the Junior Anti-Sex League, partly because living unconventionally in a totalitarian Police State is inherently unsafe.
  • Caitlín Mulryan, of Poul Anderson's The Avatar, states rather flippantly that she's only had about twenty lovers since losing her virginity at sixteen (she's thirty-four at the time). While this averages out to a little over one a year, keep in mind that The Avatar was published at at time when Double Standards were even more prevalent. Caitlín is nonetheless presented in an entirely positive light. In fact, as it turns out, her consciousness was engineered by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens in the hope that she would eventually Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. (She chooses not to.)
  • Snow White from The Princess Series will risk her life for her friends and flirts with anything male, human or not. Implied to do more then flirt but its never shown
  • Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged doesn't have a world-beating sex drive, but she shamelessly enjoys the sex she does have and has sex because she wants to have sex.
  • In Discworld Nanny Ogg was one of these in her youth, and has grown up to be a proper Dirty Old Woman. When another witch calls her a "strumpet", Tiffany Aching looks the word up...and concludes that a "woman of easy virtue" must be one who finds virtue easy, and someone who is "no better than she should be" must always be just good enough.
  • Naoko Kamikishiro of the light novel Boogiepop and Others claims she is in love with a first year student, whom she asks out at least twice; despite this, she has no qualms about sleeping around with other men, having something of a "share the love" mentality. She also hides and protects Echoes, whom she is ALSO in love with, consequently saving the entire planet from destruction at the hands of God/aliens/whatever.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Sage from Lincoln Heights
  • Roz from Frasier has elements of this.
  • Sally and Mary from 3rd Rock from the Sun.
    • And Mrs. Dubcek and Vicki.
  • Angela Montenegro from Bones hits just about every note of this Trope.
  • Kara "Starbuck" Thrace from Battlestar Galactica is the Distaff Counterpart to her original, womanizing namesake.
  • Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a counter example, not for her promiscuity but for the nonchalance with which she evicted her lovers; the female equivalent of a rake or cad. Relevant since Xander, Faith's defining one-night-hour stand and prompt discharge, serves as The Chick in the series team.
    • Buffy herself also qualifies, actively seeking to hook up early in season one, then falling in love with a 240-year-old vampire. She also frequently admonishes Willow to "seize the moment" by flirting with guys.
  • Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks pretends to be this in order to get what she wants. However, for what we get to know about Laura Palmer, she may have fit this trope before she was killed.
  • Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl is an excellent example.
  • Kaylee from Firefly.
  • Blanche from The Golden Girls. While she really got around during her time on the show, it was well established that when she was married, she was completely faithful to her late husband.
  • Amy Pond from Doctor Who sort of fits this trope, having worked as a kissogram (bit like a stripper at a stag party but doesn't take clothes off) before traveling with the Doctor.
  • Robin from How I Met Your Mother is second only to Barney when it comes to the number of sexual partners. It helps that she is the only single female character in the main cast.
  • Manny and Emma from Degrassi the Next Generation become this, Manny earlier than Emma. Though Manny starts to become sexual (even with other people's boyfriends) she still seems to have a perfect wisdom and maturity about her when dealing with Emma and later Darcy's problems. She also turns Jay into a good guy through the power of love.
  • American Dreams had Roxanne who was a family hour version of this trope while she only slept with two boys over the course of the show and Word of God has her marrying the second she "made out" with just about anyone pretty freely. Roxanne also acted as more experienced mentor to the other girls on the show when it came to boys clothes and hair.
  • Ruby in Once Upon a Time.


Music[edit | hide]


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • In the Dungeons & Dragons Mystara setting, the Immortal (Immortals being D&D's equivalent of AD&D's gods) Valerias, the Immortal of love, passion, and star-crossed lovers. She genuinely loves her mate Ixion, the Immortal of the sun and fire, but she still has periodic affairs. At the same time, Valerias is one of the good Immortals. To be fair, when you are so old that no one, including yourself and your fellow Immortals, remembers a time when you did not exist in your current form, and when you are at the same time eternally youthful and unchanging, fidelity is inevitably going to be more of a challenge than for ordinary mortals. Still, Valerias Really Gets Around.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Maureen from Rent. "Ever since puberty, everybody's stared at me: boys, girls, I can't help it baby." Her current lover can't stand her flirtatious (if you ask Maureen) or slutty (if you ask Joanne) ways ("You were flirting with a woman in rubber!"), leading to a combined "I Am" Song and a pretty epic breakup.
  • Ado Annie from Oklahoma!. "I Cain't Say No" is her "I Am" Song.
  • Petra from A Little Night Music. There's a scene where The Ingenue Anne (virginal despite marriage) asks Petra if she's a virgin ("God forbid"), how old she was when it happened (16), and how disgusting it must have been ("Disgusting? It was more fun than the rolly-coaster at the fair").
  • A Shot In The Dark has Josefa Lantenay, a good parlor maid who's bad at keeping her footing around men while not wearing panties. When the murder occurred in her bedchamber, she had been having affairs both with the victim and with the man of the house (but no others: "Josefa isn't really a whore - just bed-minded!"). When she's ultimately released from suspicion, she plans to go into a new line of work: striptease.
  • Buffy in Starlight Express. She dresses like an old-fashioned pin-up girl and, in the 1980s London and Broadway productions, quickly establishes her promiscuity, but she has a sweet personality and no one criticizes her for her behavior.


Video Games[edit | hide]


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Maytag of Flipside is this, shamelessly. She is described as a nymphomaniac, and part of the dramatic tension between her and Bernadette is her unwillingness to settle down. It's revealed that Bernadette already knew that Maytag was cheating on her but was willing to tolerate it as a "phase" of her life.
  • Sam of The Space Between is a hard-partying girl who apparently sleeps around quite a bit, but her best friend Jack doesn't seem to mind particularly, and his new roommate Frank thinks it's hot.
  • Despite (because of?) her past as a stereotypically womanizing Frenchman, Petite of Jet Dream became extremely interested in men after her sex change.
  • Brandi of Penny and Aggie.
  • Hot Amazon Zeetha, of Girl Genius, is described as "an expert" on sexual matters, though we don't actually get to see any of her sex life onscreen. It helps when one of your main deities is a fertility goddess. ("Our holy days are fun! (cha cha cha)")
  • Shelley of Scary Go Round is just promiscuous enough to qualify.

"When I did bad things, it just made boys happy."

Amy: I've been around the block so many times, they named it after me.
Erin: Is...Is that a good thing?
Amy: If you've been given a tank, you don't park it outside a nunnery. You go to war.

  • Miriam of Out There.
  • Marina Flippo-Baret of the Ciem Webcomic Series becomes this briefly. The tragedies that befall her sisters lead them to border on this as well. In Miriam's case, it's a combination of this with post-traumatic embitterment disorder. Made worse by the fact that Miriam becomes a Manipulative Bitch in High School just to survive. In Candi's case, she acts a little like this around her preferred men due to Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny.
  • The Drow of Drowtales are generally pretty open about sexuality, but Ash'waren of the Sullisin'rune takes the cake as far as this trope goes. She's an Ethical Slut bar none, is implied to have hundreds of children and just as many lovers of both sexes, but she's also one of the kinder characters seen thus far.


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

Other[edit | hide]