The Bad Girl.

have shorts will smoke


The following was submitted by SMIW contributor Subha Nivedha to our campaign #HaveShortsWillSmoke.

“Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.”

The implications are endless.

Girls who go everywhere are bad. Everywhere except home is a bad place. But only for girls. Because All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So boys should go out and play and not be dull like Jack. Or like girls.

When I was in 8th grade, one of my very close friends said that I was the ‘bad influence’ that every parent is afraid of.

I’m actually pretty happy being the bad one as long as it works out for me. There used to be a time when I would question myself but then, I realized that society is going to judge me no matter what and as a woman, it is impossible to please everyone.

Two years ago, I told my parents that I wanted to go to Russia for an internship and I listed out all the reasons why it was an amazing plan. From then, heated arguments became a common thing at our place.

Actually, looking back I understand that my parents only had the best intentions at heart, but there was this one particular comment which stayed with me. Something my father said:

“You want to go to Russia so you can wear shorts and dresses.”

And, to think about it, it is kind of true. As Indian women, some of us need to literally cross borders to experience the simple joys of something as small as dressing up the way we want!

Speaking of benevolent sexism, a friend of mine once casually said to me:

“You are not marriage material. You are the type of girl guys would like to have fun with.”

There are so many things wrong with that statement! Just because I am fun loving, friendly and outgoing doesn’t mean I am not good in a relationship or that I’m ‘available’ to guys for having fun. Yes, if me having an opinion, dreams and the audacity to choose whom I want to be with translates to being ‘bad’, then hell yeah – I am the dreaded bad girl!

By the way, I am not endorsing anything that is scientifically or medically bad for a person, irrespective of gender. But, while it is acceptable to say “smoking is bad”, I am not okay with you saying, “Only bad girls smoke.”


So, as the certified ‘bad girl’ in the house, here are a few things every woman and girl who’s even been labelled should remember:

  • It is okay to be ambitious
  • It is okay to be confident and ask for what you want
  • It is okay to stand up to ANYONE for what you believe in
  • It is okay if you don’t want to do the ‘right’ things
  • It is okay to be the decision maker of what’s ‘right’
  • It’s okay to decline ‘well meaning’ suggestions – inputs are welcome, impositions are not
  • It is okay if you choose to travel instead of studying for IITs and IIMs
  • It is okay to have male friends
  • It is okay to go out with male friends
  • It is okay to be what they call a ‘tom boy’
  • It is okay to love make up and dressing up.
  • It is okay to love sports.
  • It is okay to want to be the next Bruce lee
  • It is okay to ask questions
  • It is okay to be different.
  • It is okay to want different things in life
  • It is okay to study, aspire and dream on
  • Most importantly, it is okay to make mistakes.


At the same time, here are quick tips for the society and the men out there:

  • A outgoing woman is not ‘easy’.
  • A happy, smiling woman is not a ‘tease’
  • An emotional woman is not weak.
  • An assertive woman is not a ‘bitch’
  • An ambitious woman is not a bad girlfriend / wife / daughter-in-law
  • A woman who doesn’t excel at housework isn’t incompetent
  • A woman who isn’t afraid to say NO is not arrogant.
  • A woman who knows what she wants is not ‘bad’
  • But, if things above are on basis of which you assign that moniker, then she is one proudly.


Girls and women who are typecast as bad are for doing what they want are those who chase their dreams. They can reach for the stars. They can succeed and, they can fail. But, they do it on their terms. They can accumulate personal assets. They can achieve financial independence. Most importantly, they can collect life experiences. They can embody independence.

“Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.”

The implications are endless.

Have shorts. Will smoke.


About the Author:

Subha is a law student working on an initiative called My Story as a Wo(man). She supports feminism and animal rights. People can contact her at