Are women too keen to be seen as 'good girls'? Is this enforcement of 'good behaviour' - which starts in childhood - one of the ways in which women are disempowered, and their creativity blocked? That's what the Canadian 'women's empowerment' life coach Majo Molfino teaches in her programme 'Break the Good Girl Myth'.
If you feel you've underachieved as a female: if you feel your voice isn't heard: if you feel overlooked, ignored or marginalised, Molfino suggests it may be that you were conditioned, at a young age, to be too much of a 'good girl'.
The coach, who has taught stress management at the prestigious Stanford University in the US, now tutors women on how to be a 'badass girl', rather than the goody-goody that the patriarchy, the educators, the religions and the social mythologies have promoted.
Molfino admits that her own childhood was clouded by her strenuous efforts to be a good little girl; to be teacher's pet; to get the top grades; to be at the attentive front of the class and the first to raise her hand with all the 'right' answers. Born into an Argentinian family in Canada, she desperately wanted to assimilate and be accepted by her teachers and peers. So she fell into the 'good girl' trap.
I can see that women - maybe men, too - can be oppressed by a surfeit of virtue. Too much overt goodness can be the sign of a prig, which is insufferable. The perfection model can cripple confidence, and among Molfino's more sensible advice is that trying to be perfect may hinder creativity. Make mistakes! Take risks! Dare to be a badass - you may find your true, authentic self.
It is well recognised by educationalists that girls are often - perhaps nearly always, as a group - more diligent than boys. A recent British study of why white working-class boys were at the bottom of the class when it came to school achievement concluded that girls were more diligent (and less disruptive), and immigrant families were stricter. Sounds plausible.
But I'm not convinced that Molfino's encouragement to be a "badass" works. I was that badass girl throughout my young life and looking back, it just turned me into a clownish figure, and distorted the potentiality for real development.
"Break the rules," urges the Stanford life-coach: yet when I look around at women who are high achievers on the international scene, I see individuals who have shone at school, studied seriously, played by the rules until they were in a position to change them. From Angela Merkel to Christine Lagarde - the first woman president of the European Central Bank - from New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern to Scotland's Nicola Sturgeon, a common thread in their background is they were all 'good girls' at school and uni.
Hillary Clinton was the ultimate diligent young woman student, as was Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU Commission. Okay, von der Leyen was accused of some plagiarism in her PhD thesis, but it was formally agreed this was unintentional - that was the nearest this otherwise faultless mother of seven got to being naughty.
Sanna Marin, Finland's 34-year-old prime minister, was a model of student application, working in a bakery and as a cashier while she got her BA, and then her master's, showing a strong focus on political ambitions at 20 (though her background was more colourful than most - her father was an alcoholic and her mother came out as a lesbian).
So I'd say to those resuming their school studies this autumn - if you want to be an achiever, be that 'good girl'. Being a 'badass' might sound empowering, but it's more often the road to being a loser, in my experience.
Occasionally, among highly gifted (and very lucky) artists, the 'badass' act is successful. Tracey Emin became a renowned, and very rich, contemporary artist by exhibiting her unmade bed, adorned with used condoms and discarded vodka bottles.
Madonna projected the 'bad girl' image brilliantly in launching her career, but the abiding principle of Ms Ciccone's life is not hedonism, but discipline. Even Meghan Markle, portrayed as an anti-establishment rule-breaker, was a good student, driven by a great work ethic - what most unsettled the Buckingham Palace establishment was that she was so organised, rising at 5am every morning and firing off energetic emails.
A great artist can break the rules, but as Picasso said, you must master the rules before you can break them: he was a terrific conventional artist before he launched into the abstract.
Yes, question the rules, listen to your feelings, use your imagination, don't just live the life that others expect you to live, and repeat the self-affirming mantra: "I am worthy just because I exist."
But on the evidence, you'll find that the road to achievement is more often paved with diligence than with badass attitudes.