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Emily in Paris. (L to R) Lily Collins as Emily, Ashley Park as Mindy in episode 209 of Emily in Paris
Emily in Paris. (L to R) Lily Collins as Emily, Ashley Park as Mindy in episode 209 of Emily in Paris
Photo by Stéphanie Branchu/Netflix

Happy Galentine’s!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nanyang Tech chapter.

It’s the season of love! As February comes to an end, it’s a reflection on how the season of love went. 

The highlight of this season is of course, Valentine’s Day. Social Media is flooded with couple pictures, roses, flowers, brownies, cookies, expensive meals, dates and more. Romantic relationships are at the peak and cuffing season is just rounding off. For me, being in a girls’ school for a solid 10 years, it is difficult to think of Valentine’s Day as a day solely for the celebration of romantic relationships. When celebrating Valentine’s day in a girls’ school, the celebrations usually consisted of writing cheesy notes to one another, baking multiple cookies and brownies to share with friends and gifting balloons, lots of hugs etc. It was a day to celebrate platonic love and relationships, where support felt amongst us girls was indescribable. 

As we reach co-ed school stages and begin interacting with the opposite sex, these friendships often fizzle out as we become busier with our new school lives, and forming new friendships and relationships, often ones that involve men.  According to evolutionary psychology, there is an underlying, inevitable instinct to attract the attention of men in order to find a suitable mate, or the sociological need to seek male validation and elevate status amongst other female friends. Yet, it is rather sad that female friendships lose their lustre; they are so much more beneficial than we think. 

In fact, scientific studies have shown that female friends help fight stress and boost mood. Going back once again to evolutionary psychology, women are more likely to be in a ‘tend and befriend’ mode when stressed and rely on social networks to get through difficult times. Have you ever spent hours talking about nothing with your girlfriends? That’s exactly what it is; we often require a community to lean back on and go to for advice in times of trouble. It reduces our stress hormones and boosts our happy ones; helping us bounce back after a period of trial. 

Beyond that of course, women remain vulnerable in society. Despite the enormous success we have had with feminism and the vast improvement in gender equality in the past 200 years, there remains to be misogyny and remnants of the patriarchy in society. The rise of Andrew Tate is simply symptomatic of problematic mindsets men have. By having female friendships, we provide each other protection, sticking up for one another and having each other’s backs. It gives you a listening ear that actually understands what you are going through: period pains, men giving the bare minimum and frustration against gender discrimination. While men can be good listening ears, not going through the experiences women go through daily leaves them, more often than not, in a position of sympathy rather than empathy. 

Many women however, do find it difficult to form good female friendships. With our tendency to form communities, exclusivity is part of the process. It can be difficult to find good female friends in university when everyone has already established their own communities from their early teenage years and childhood days, and you may feel like interactions are fleeting and superficial, and friendships are shallowly entrenched. In my opinion, reaching out to old friends, making time to nurture them is a good way to begin. Solidifying old relationships assures you and gives you the confidence to find new ones. I found being more open to others and being willing to share about your life is a start. More importantly however, finding people you can click with, where your values align and your interests are similar is perhaps the crucial ingredient in creating fulfilling friendships. 

As we move on from the season of love to more warm and treacherous days as the semester wears on, I hope we can all find more female friendships and learn to celebrate and cherish them dearly.  

Emmy Kwan

Nanyang Tech '25

The embodiment of a "material gworl" but with no money, if she isn't complaining about capitalism, the economy or the patriarchy, you can find Emmy in the aisles of a clothing store, ironically selling her soul to the corporations she often critiques.