I’ve been a bad girl

Last week I was on holiday, staying in a quaint and cosy self-catering cottage in Cornwall. The cottage was on the outskirts of a small, sleepy village. The night life consisted of a pair of bats whizzing past the window at dusk, and a time-challenged cockerel who insisted on cock-a-doodle-doing as the sun set (but was strangely quiet at sunrise…)

One evening I had a rummage through the cottage’s dvd collection. I quickly found one I liked the look of: Halle Berry in leather – it could only be Catwoman.

I remember going to see the film when it was released in 2004 and leaving the cinema having enjoyed watching Halle Berry in her skin-tight and flesh revealing leather ‘cat suit’ but remembering little else about the movie.

Of course I had to watch it again.

Halle Berry’s character ‘Patience’ transforms from the meek and mild ‘good girl’ into a sassy, whip-wielding ‘bad girl’ aka Catwoman.  As the story progresses it looks like there will be a classic, Hollywood ending. Patience goes on a date with the hunky cop hero. They laugh and look into each other’s eyes. There is chemistry. They end up in bed and have a night of glorious passion. BUT (*spoiler alert – just in case you haven’t already seen it and feel inspired to on the back of this post!) she chooses not to stay with him!

In fact, as the movie concludes, Patience/Catwoman explains to us that she likes being a bad girl and isn’t prepared to give up this new-found aspect of herself for anyone – including the hunky cop hero played by Benjamin Bratt.

Which got me thinking (a little deeper than how Halle Berry looks in leather):

The ‘bad girl’ Catwoman is strong, assertive, and knows her own mind. She is overtly and confidently sexual, bold, risk-taking, and hot.

The ‘good girl’ Patience is meek, a people-pleaser, shy about her sexuality, and (because she is Halle Berry) hot but in a ‘please don’t notice me’ kinda way.


Even better than Halle Berry as Catwoman – the late, (and very) great Eartha Kitt

I know we live in a culture of double standards where an overtly and confidently sexual man gets to be a stud while a woman is labelled a slut. The emergence of the slut walk movement has made brilliant progress on reclaiming the term and empowering women to embrace and assert their inner ‘sluts’. But I think the expectation that women should be ‘good girls’ is a challenge we still all face.

If a woman is strong, assertive, and knows her own mind, if she is overtly and confidently sexual – exploring and celebrating her sexuality – whilst being bold, taking risks and exuding a potency that others find compelling, surely these are ‘good’ things? Surely these are the qualities that a good – a great – woman possesses?

Or, if you choose to stick with the old semantics: surely it’s good to be bad?

Catwoman the movie may have bombed at the cinemas when it was released (the film received 7 Golden Raspberry (Razzie) nominations) but I reckon the critics failed to extract the best bit: every woman has the right to be strong and sassy (-leather and whip optional) and no one has the right to ask us to downplay just how vibrant, amazing, creative, exotic and erotic we truly are.

I doubt that the following quote has ever been linked to Catwoman before, but I’ll take the risk and leave you with one of my all-time favourite and inspiring quotes from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

—-from A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson.

Leave a comment


  1. That’s such a beautiful quote 🙂

    • sexualself

       /  June 4, 2012

      Glad you like it too. It’s such a powerful statement: to step into and embrace our greatness x

  2. oh how i can relate to all of that

  3. That quote from A Return to Love is one of my favorites of all time. I remember my mother sending it to me when I was college, and I felt clueless as to how that applied to me. At this time in my life, thankfully, I’m starting to figure it out. What a wonderful sentiment! And hurray for the Catwoman in all of us. Meow! xoxox

    • sexualself

       /  June 13, 2012

      Meow indeed. Of course it also means we get to find out what makes us purr x


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