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Good Girls- what's done right and what's done wrong


Good girls is a television series that features three mothers, Annie, Ruby and Beth. These women turn to a life of crime to solve their financial troubles. Even though a life of crime is not a good thing, these women in the series are not portrayed as bad or evil characters, instead the writer tries to justify their reasons for engaging in criminal activities. For them, a life of crime is seen as the last resort. What I like about the show is that typically, criminal activities are often portrayed as predominantly male dominated, but "Good girls" challenges this stereotype by featuring women as the central figures engaging in a life of crime. Interestingly, they are never labelled as "bad" women for doing so. The show gives the overall sense of empowerment for me personally, that women can be tough, strong and powerful enough to handle businesses that often people think they cannot. This subverts the notion that mothers and wives have only a single role to play, often times in tv shows we also see the wives as "naive" and "delicate". This show brings forth the strong and powerful mothers and wives who have strong leadership and decision making skills.


The three protagonists also challenge the stereotype that men should be the primary breadwinners. Beth, Annie and Ruby take active roles to support their families financially and make contributions to their households, additionally, they are shown as very loving and caring mothers and friends. The show speaks girl power! This show is also about girls standing up for each other, providing support to each other during tough times. Another thing I like about the show is that these three mothers are not played by a cast of slim models or they are never made to dress sexually to fit the male gaze.


Throughout the series, Annie, Ruby and Beth demonstrate their ability to make tough decisions and navigate dangerous situations. Their actions defy the notion that women are incapable of taking charge or making critical choices. This show also displays a more complex, multidimensional portrayal of women. They balance their criminal endeavours with their responsibilities at home. They each have a lot on their plates, plus a life where a gang monitors them is not an easy one, but they still find the strength to keep going even with their lives at stake.















That being said, I think the problem we all had with this show was Beth being involved with Rio aka the leader or owner of the criminal business. Understandably, these are mothers facing a dangerous criminal who can kill them whenever, however, the influence that Rio has on the three women sort of dulls down the power of these three women. Rio who is covered in tattoos with his gang of thick macho guys holding guns, ends up getting the women to work for him. Only Beth is able to stand up against him some times. This too is dulled down by the attraction that both Rio and Beth seem to have for each other. Rio is made a seductive criminal. Beth's attractiveness is sort of used as a tool to manipulate or gain advantage. In one of the episodes, Beth is shown taking her clothes off for Rio who watches from a distance and only leaves when Beth has taken all her clothes off. There is still authority that Rio holds over the three women. They are often shown to be scared of Rio. Even though Beth is shown as the strongest and the most courageous, she is still scared of Rio. Their physical involvement can be seen as women going for what they want but it also then feels toxic and forced. In a show where women take authority, why did the owner of criminal activity/business (Rio), have to be a guy when they could have chosen a woman. This just shows that only men can be true authority figures and have the ability to establish control by being extremely dangerous and frightening. Let me know what you guys think!

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9 Comments


Aisha Aamir
Aisha Aamir
Jun 22, 2023

Loved the read! I watched the show ages ago and was in love with it. But like you said I always felt the story would get diluted through Beth's attraction to Rio. It always started to stray from the gender binary and stereotypes and allowed morally gray female characters to exist in the plot, but it would all pale in comparison to the weird toxic relationship between Beth and Rio. Beth would often go against her better judgement just because of her attraction to Rio and it would get so frustrating at certain points. But I do think that's how a character should be written because not all empowerment can be perfect. Maybe in that sense, Beth's character is actually…

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A very insightful read! Personally, I haven't watched the show but from what I make of it, this is somewhat an authentic portrayal of what we perceive as girl power. Showing the three mothers as criminal and not depicting that as immoral or labelling them as bad women is a big win as often times, the double standards of the media and the society come into play especially when women tap into male dominated activities such as even crime. A man being a robber or deviant is the norm and will be accepted easily most of the times but with a woman, there is a tendency to label them as bad or even morally grey when they do such things,…


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Thank you for this, I feel like yes the leader of the criminal business is a very scary person but then they should have just stuck with that, instead of making Beth go to him again and again and showing intimacy between them even when the guy threatens her entire family multiple times, it then just becomes toxic romanticisation.

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Khadija Nasir
Khadija Nasir
Jun 21, 2023

Loved your analysis of the show! I completely agree with your points about how the show does sometimes work to subvert gender stereotypes. The point I find to be very intriguing about the show is the exploration of the a moral gray area in the criminal activities the characters part take in. As you said, they aren't labeled as either good or bad people but rather are seen to be criminals as a last resort. Their reasons for financial desperation and the need to provide for their families are the main cause of this lifestyle, and the way the show highlights their ethical dilemmas adds so much complexity to their characters. It makes you really challenge your conception of what…

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Yes, I like how Beth, Amy and Ruby were not labeled as "crazy" people or mentally unstable people which is something so easy to call women when they do something like this ie engage in criminal activities. The show shows their reasons for doing so and tries to humanise them.

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It is always like this! If there are strong women in the limelight, there must always be a stronger man tugging at the strings from the shadows. The idea of Rio you've put forward reminds me of the trope, like the big strong alpha man who doesn't let anyone talk back to him but 'allows' one girl to talk back because she 'intrigues' him. But the second he gets bored of her he puts her back in line because however strong she is, he is stronger.

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Exactly, Rio literally scares Beth so much and Beth is shown to keep going back to him, this just then sends a message that it is okay for a guy to to have these toxic traits.

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Probably one of my favourite anti hero tv shows because the crime genre is heavily dominated by men so its fun to see morally ambiguous women leading for a change. Also interesting how their crimes stem from the need to simply provide for their families and you can tell its a show written by women because of the bond they form as a trio and how they can rely on each other as they individually face their own issues from financial hardship to infidelity.

I do agree with your critque of rio. I didn’t mind him initially because sometimes I enjoy the enemies to lovers trope when it is written well however he ended up becoming the very reason I…

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yep yep, it just romanticised the gangster and showed how the man is always the stronger character, able to influence women.

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