Since time immemorial, the representation of friendships between women in media and movies (especially) have been cliché. We live in a time where female friendships are expected to be toxic, bitchy and/or competitive. That is the power the media has in shaping perceptions, something I think they take very lightly, or not? I do not mean that some women are not bitchy or toxic or competitive sometimes BUT these characteristics are not the defining factor of what female friendships should be like.
I had a chance to watch the highly acclaimed Kenyan film Disconnect* during the European Film Festival screening at The Alchemist, and what struck me the most was how the female friendship circle was portrayed. Solid, supportive, vulnerable and fulfilling, something we don't see too often. Good job on this film, Tosh Gitonga - I loved it!
Ladies, it's about time we stopped encouraging these toxic mythologies, especially as we get older. Want nothing but the best for your friends, see each other as a unit, a force to be reckoned with. Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist, wrote, “If you and your friends are in the same field career wise or business-wise, collaborate and help each other without shame. Men invented nepotism and live by it to date, it is okay for women to do it too” LIVE BY THAT.
I know, that sounds like the most feminist thing to do but, do it. I do not mean that you form a girl gang/squad that constantly hates on other women (as portrayed in movies), but rather a healthy circle of loving and supportive friends.
Please remember, at the end of the day, we are all human and humans disagree, make mistakes, and argue. This is completely normal, so cut your friends some slack. How you get past those issues is what matters. However, do not encourage patterns of frequent emotional, psychological, mental abuse or any form of abuse from friends, all in the name of working things out. Call them out on that.
If you feel like it's hard for you to be/make friends with other women, don't worry. You are not obligated to anyway, you can be friends with whoever you want. Ignore what the media is constantly conditioning us to believe, that female friendships are for gossiping, gay men are for fashion advice, and straight men are potential love interests.
Over and above everything, remember the golden rule, you are who you surround yourself with.
I am the creator, host, and writer of The Candid Cave Podcast and Blog. I am a proud feminist and an advocate for positive change around the world.