To Female Friendships, with Love.
My friend groups have been going through major life moments lately: career advancements, engagements, pregnancies, deaths. With any life-altering change, we're all struggling a bit. Struggling in our own decision-making abilities, struggling in our respective faiths or lack thereof, struggling just to keep a good head on our shoulders. In going through all of this, we've all reached out to our girlfriends for support, and it occurred to me that early 20s may be the most important time to have a close knit group of female friends. Women who understand you and cheer you on, but also tell you when you're being a certified asshole.
But then I thought, my early 20s are absolutely not the only time I've been grateful to have these women. My whole life has been spent going through important moments with them.
I know, I'm lucky. I have known the majority of my friends (male included) since I was 11 or 14. I was incredibly fortunate to have found groups of girls in both middle school and high school who understood me, and our friendships have lasted through college and into adulthood. These women have literally picked me up off the floor when I was crying or popped bottles of champagne with me when I was ecstatic more times than I can count. My heart and soul will always be shaped in part by them.
So here's the question - why do so many females say they just 'don't get along with other women'? I often wonder if those who say this have been hurt in the past by the girls to whom they let themselves grow close or if they felt threatened by the competition of other girls or whether they were truly always able to bond better in friendships with men.
Before my feminist awakening, I found myself pushing women I didn't know away. I slut shamed, and didn't shy away from calling a woman who I felt was too 'bossy' a bitch behind her back. I'm glad to have moved away from that, but it's only because I've come to love celebrating the victories of other women.
We've all certainly felt threatened by other women -- that was an inevitable part of growing up. But does it have to be? Can we learn to teach our daughters to support each other, instead of feeling the need to constantly compare themselves to other females? Young women are taught by society that finding a male partner is the most important part of life, and that in order to do so, they must knock other women down.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said it best in her Ted Talk, 'We Should All be Feminists,' "We raise girls to see each other as competitors — not for jobs or for accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men."
So in this new year, let's all focus on celebrating each other. We need to learn that her success is not your failure. We need to learn that positive female friendships are vital to building yourself up.
Join us in starting the movement, and share a success of one of your female friends using the hashtag #celebratefemalefriendship.