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How I Realized the Importance of Female Friendship

It’s not news that being a woman in today’s society brings its own set of problems. From a certain age, you are expected to care about your appearance and it just so happens that at that age you are experiencing some of the biggest changes in your body and mind that you will have in the entirety of life. If that was not enough this is usually coupled with some sort of spout of bullying because people, in general, can be mean but with extra hormones, it just means even more trouble for everyone.

I am at the point in my life where the majority of that is past me thankfully enough, or so I thought. I have been on social media as one does and I have seen a recent spout of just plain hate for normally young girls. One of the most disheartening parts of all is that it has normally come from other women. On TikTok, I saw girls making fun of how some girls take selfies. On Twitter, I saw girls making fun of girls that even dare to be curious about certain structures of our everyday lives. The list goes on.

At first, I just want to scream. How can people in general attack others in this way? It particularly stings seeing it from another woman. Someone who, I at least think, should be supporting you, for the most part. I in the past have been no stranger to having been picked on, so it can easily hit home for me.

[bf_image id="vv973k5pjb79x9mx4whc5jv"] I then tend to think about it deeper and then realize it’s a lot more intense of a problem than we realize. So much of the hate girls give other girls is rooted in this one simple thing. From a young age, most women are taught to see other women as their competition. Not just in terms of relationships. It’s things such as, “Oh, I have to be the prettiest” or “I have to have the best grades” or even something as simple as, “Oh, she wore the same shirt as me, but I wear it better.” It is something you don’t even tend to realize until it is pointed out to you.

Keeping that in mind, it becomes easier to see where this hate is coming from. These girls in some way believe that this behavior is something that they have to do, that it is warranted in a way. People even often just dismiss this type of behavior as normal and not all that harmful, “just a joke.” This coupled with the belief that is present in society that women and girls in their nature are “catty” and “vicious” is a recipe for disaster. But the irony of it is that this sort of negative behavior comes from pretty much acting on what we have been taught! At its core, it just separates women from each other and stops them from realizing the power and uniqueness present in female friendship. Some deny themselves of the joys of female friendship completely, saying that “it’s too much drama.” This is without realizing where all that stems from, which is this feeling of competition.

This realization of the competition that is societally placed on women was a sort of epiphany for me. I took time to realize what that meant in my life and how I had been affected by it. I concluded that when it comes down to it, women aren’t naturally mean, or out to get each other. That is simply not the case. We are the ones who give each other compliments in the bathroom of a club (during normal times). We are the ones who tell each other to text me when you get home. When we strip all the things we have been taught to believe, there is an empathy that exists among women for other women that is very powerful and is unlike anything else in this world. We get each other in a way that no one else can. We should be making an effort to connect more. We should also be prioritizing our friendships with each other just as much as we do romantic relationships.

Sitting with these facts was so comforting to me. It has allowed me to begin to separate myself from what society wants women and their interactions to look like. It has become like this buffer that makes me slower to anger and quick to just have empathy. I truly encourage other women to marinate with these things. It’s not easy at first and it requires you to admit that you at times have even been the one on the “evil end” but you come out of it with such an appreciation for your female friends, becoming aware just how special what you share with them is. I recommend this episode of Ingrid Nielsen’s podcast One Step, as well as the book Text Me When You Get Home by Kayleen Schaefer to help you on this journey of sorts. I hope it brings you as much comfort and learning as it did for me. All the love! 

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Alana Torres is a junior at Florida State. She is studying Business Management & Marketing. She loves all genres of music. Other than music listening, Alana can be found reading or making funky earrings.
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