Rebranding Female Friendship
It’s funny how most of the dynamics of female friendships portrayed in mainstream movies revolve around ‘boys talk’. Female characters are pit against each other to win over a man’s attention while being mean to each other. I hate to break it to you, but this is a myth and a faulty stereotype (Gasp!). Mainstream entertainment has not given us any epitome of healthy female friendships to look up to. Women have so much more going on in their lives. Female friendships or even our sleepovers are not centered around gossip talk. In the words of Max to El in Stranger Things, “There’s more to life than stupid boys, you know?”
I have been thinking about a lot of instances in my life where I was also led to believe in those stereotypes. There was even a phase in my early to mid-teens when I used to take pride in behaving and dressing up like a tomboy because it was ingrained in my mind that doing ‘girly’ things was lame. It took me years to find strength in womanhood and vulnerability and all other things associated with femininity.
A few months ago, I got to catch up with some of the girl friends I had known from school. We all grew up together from being naive, to learning about feminism and other ‘woke’ cultures for the first time; from identifying patriarchal systems to being little rebels in our own lives. We talked about everything under the sun, and the conversation steered to how we dealt with stalkers, catcallers, and what alternatives to pepper spray we carried while we lived alone in a new city. So there we were, casually discussing our distress over chai, with just the right amount of empathy. It was a beautiful safe space to talk about everything with no judgments and unsolicited advice.
These female friendships are one of my most prized possessions. The main reason I feel that way is because there is a certain bond that comes out of shared experiences. They somehow know just the right thing to say. They always seem to know the right way to respond to things and also know when not to respond. While there are supporting and understanding male friends who do the same, it is impossible for them to fully truly know and relate to certain experiences.
Women are generally supportive of each other in a way that a not-so-close friend on Instagram will help you with all the information you need while switching to menstrual cups. Our rosy vacations and ladies' night outs are only a fraction of our journey. We hype each other up. We celebrate each other's' progress and career milestones as much as, if not more than, our dating and romantic life. Some of the most meaningful conversations I have had around mental health topics have been with women. I have also taken some major decisions in life, personally and professionally, based on inputs from my female friends.
While it is so important to choose the right circle to surround yourself with, I feel more than happy acknowledging the presence of these women in my life.
Kavya Balamurugan is a passionate person who likes to try her hand in being a jack of different trades. Currently pursuing MBA at IIM, Raipur.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.