Sadly, on numerous occasions I have heard women claim that they don’t have many female friends because they are catty, disloyal, and full of drama. They claim to prefer the friendship of men because they are amicable, loyal, and drama-free. I find this troubling on many levels, as it reminds me of patriarchal dichotomous thinking which implies that women are the negative opposites of men.
For example: Men are dominant, therefore women are submissive. Men are strong willed, therefore women are weak.
Dismissing sisterhood is dismissing a bond like no other. I love my guy friends like Moesha loved Hakeem (before they hooked up and it felt weird), but there are times when I just need my girls. Those are the times when I want more than empathy. I’m looking for someone who truly knows and understands what it’s like to be a woman. Someone who knows what I strive for, what I struggle with.
I often credit girl talk with my best girl friends for keeping me sane at the end of a tough work week or during a bad breakup. According to a NY Times article I read, some studies would agree. It detailed how “sisterly chats” make people happier. Although it dealt solely with biological sisters, I feel the same applies to friends whom I would call a “sister from another mister.”
A perfect instance would be a call I received the other day from a girl friend of my mine from middle school. I was feeling rather blah, for lack of a better term, and I was happy to hear from her. We discussed trivial things like shopping and even cracked up as we made fun of the countless engagement announcements from our peers on Facebook.
“You know, I want to go to a wedding and just be a hater the whole time as I sip from the free open bar.”
“Yes! And say, “I got their gift on clearance anyway!”
After the laughs and hateration, I hung up the phone with a smile. Though we didn’t discuss our worries or troubles, it was as if I just finished a 45-minute therapy session. Your girl friends may know how to push your buttons, but they also know the right time to check on you- even if it means talking about the mundane details of everyday life. As the NY Times article stated, “These seemingly pointless conversations are as comforting to some women as ‘troubles talk’ conversations are to others.”
Beyond the seemingly pointless conversations is a friendship that goes beyond “stupid boys” and what to wear on Saturday night. It’s a friendship that will be there for you at your worst when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Girl friends can be so intuitive, they can detect the other’s mood based on how they pick up the phone.
It’s important to see that we need each other, especially in a society where we are often considered less than. Dealing with things like the glass ceiling, lower pay, rape culture, street harassment on a daily basis is definitely going to require a friend or two. And like the saying goes, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”
There is no replacing the bond between sisters, and my wish would be for every girl to experience that. Unfortunately, many have never seen strong women befriending other strong women. So how can we expect for them to emulate this?
We use to have examples of healthy bonds between women, especially on television. They were beautiful women who were driven; and although they argued, they each came together at the end of every 30-minute episode. There was Khadijah, Synclaire, Maxine, and Regine. Or how about Joan, Maya, Toni, and Lynn?
The current examples on television do not show bonding, they show a barrage of fists and backstabbing. On shows like the Bad Girls Club, the women’s loyalty sways wherever the wind blows. On Love & Hip-Hop there seems to be no shame in a woman scratching and pulling out hair over a man who is unfaithful to them anyway (sips Kermit tea).
It’s wrong to generalize us as catty, and fail to recognize the traits that make us so great. Like phenomenal, perhaps? We need young women to understand that the girl standing next to you should not be considered your enemy or competition, but your cheerleader. Just as undeserving men are given chance after chance at our hearts, we need to give deserving women a chance at our friendship.