sixtyandme logo
We are community supported and may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Why it’s OK for Older Women to Misbehave! A Laurel Ulrich Quote

By Margaret Manning February 24, 2016 Mindset

“Be a good girl!” How many times did you hear these words when you were growing up? More importantly, how much did these words become a part of your inner voice? We may have silently asked “why,” but, very few of us actually stood up and said “no.” Those who did were usually knocked back down, emotionally speaking, in short order.

Even now that you are a woman in her 60s, do you find yourself constantly asking for permission, saying sorry and judging every action against impossible standards? With so much conditioning behind us, it’s difficult to imagine that life could be any other way. Well, I have new for you – it CAN be different.

This reminds me of a quote by the Harvard University historian, Laurel Ulrich, who said, “Well behaved women seldom make history.”

Well behaved women seldom make history. - Laurel Ulrich

In one of her books, Laurel talks about many strong women, ranging from the medieval writer Christine de Pizan, to feminist Virginia Woolf. In my opinion, she could have mentioned rebels, trouble makers and strong women like Amelia Earhart, Joan of Arc, Emmeline Pankhurst and Malala Yousafzai. These women were not afraid to step out of the bounds that society “chose” for them.

In the past, I have written about women like Willie Murphy, who, at age 77, is shattering aging stereotypes through her work as a professional weightlifter. We need more women who are willing to follow their passions and change the world in their own special way.

Perhaps it is time for us to start misbehaving. Maybe we can redefine “good” as what makes us happy – not just what others expect from us. Maybe, at 60, or better, we can rekindle the fire in our hearts and live with boldness and courage.

Which strong female characters, real or fictional, do you look up to? Do you agree or disagree that our desire to be “good girls” holds us back in many aspects of our lives? Or, do you think that the discipline that our parents, and society at large, impose on all people, but, especially women, has a useful function? Please join the conversation and “like” and share this article to keep the discussion going.

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Author

Margaret Manning is the founder of Sixty and Me. She is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Margaret is passionate about building dynamic and engaged communities that improve lives and change perceptions. Margaret can be contacted at

You Might Also Like