Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone about Feminism, only for them to respond by saying that women are their own worst enemies? The stereotype labelling female friendships as bitchy is persistent and its boring, but it’s also somewhat true.
Now let me get this straight; I ADORE women. My friends make me laugh until I cry, they encourage me to go after my dreams and they care far more about hearing about my personal achievements than gossiping- but it wasn’t always this way, and for many women; it still isn’t.
From day one, women are fed the idea that their purpose in life is to be fit for the male gaze. In fact, this is SO drilled into society that sometimes we don’t even realise it’s happening. So what does this have to do with friendships?. Well, it is our world’s obsession with the male gaze and being fit for it that creates a toxic competition amongst women. When being the apple of someone’s eye is a priority, it creates jealousy of anyone we deem prettier than us. It also creates a fear and a judgment of those who dare to step outside the realms of patriarchal perfection- aka, where slut shaming comes from.
So, how do we form real, beautiful friendships with other women without adhering to capitalist theory and becoming competitive and jealous?
"Stop gossiping and stop caring."
Well for starters, stop making talking about other women a foundation of your friendships. If you and your best friend only ever get together to judge other women then you’re probably not as good friends as you think you are, you’re just bitching partners. Stop gossiping and stop caring. You do you.
Similarly, don’t bitch about your friends. Any time you’re about to talk about them, ask yourself if you actually disagree with their actions or if you’re just jealous and reflecting your own insecurities. We all get angry sometimes and that’s okay, but casual backstabbing and jealously is unhealthy for you and for your friends. Work out what the problem is, be it you or them, and fix it together.
Most importantly, learn to love yourself. The easiest way to form beautiful and empowering friendships is to stop being threatened by one another. This can only be done when we are truly secure with our individuality, and this takes time- but it’s worth it. Other women aren’t your competition and the sooner you realise that, the happier you’ll be.
"Being a woman is hard enough as it is, we shouldn’t be making it harder for each other."
Beautiful friendships start to form when we focus on self-love and become comfortable in our own skin. Start matching the girl power energy found in club bathrooms in everyday life. Being a woman is hard enough as it is, we shouldn’t be making it harder for each other. It’s time to start celebrating out individuality, encouraging braveness, empowering every woman and recognising that the patriarchy is the enemy, not each other.
Featured image: Simon Maage (unsplash)