As I type this, I’m sitting at home watching a movie with my five beautiful roommates- three are rowers, one is a volleyball player, one is pre-vet, one is vegan, one is vegetarian, two are peer mentors, one is the house mom, and all five are the most incredible women I’ve had the chance to share a home with. These women motivated me to write this article: an ode to the girl gang.
I’m a 20 year old woman at Sonoma State and I have survived three years of college by gradually surrounding myself with strong, amazing women. I’ve always had strong female friendships: most of my friends from middle and high school are women, and I’m still close to a number of them. I write for HerCampus, which is a community of roughly 20 women. I’m a member of the Equestrian Team- a team of 31 women. I’m a part of the Vagina Monologues, about 50 women. I am a Peer Mentor and a Summer Orientation leader- most of my coworkers are women, which isn’t terribly surprising considering SSU’s student population is 62% female. I was just looking around me the other day and I realized how many women I have in my life, and most importantly, how fucking incredible each and every one of those women are. I admire them all for a plethora of reasons: for their survivorship, their passion, their ambition, their independence, their warmth; for their no-bullshit attitudes, for their genuinely lovely spirits, for their ability to give and give and give, for their determination to conquer anything they take on, for their ability to be vulnerable and honest and open, for the fortitude to withstand anything.
I am passionate about women supporting women and I will support the women in my circle to the ends of the earth. I love seeing them succeed. I love it when one of my roommates comes in my room just to tell me she aced a test she was unsure of! I love it when we all come together to support a roommate who had a bad day. I love how the women of the Vagina Monologues can talk openly and honestly about sex while simultaneously surrounding our survivors of sexual assault with unconditional love and support.
These female spaces are, I believe, critical for developing into a strong, successful, healthy woman yourself. I admit it, used to have crazy internalized misogyny. I used to victim blame. I used to be a slut-shamer. I used to buy into the idea of “being one of the guys,” or only having guy friends because “girls were too much drama” or that “I’m not like other girls”.
In the words of my bomb-ass co-editor Jenna: fuck that noise.
Because fuck yeah I am like other women. I’m like my teammates- we all love horses. Their excellence in the show ring and dedication to the sport motivates me to be a better rider every time I get on a horse. I’m basically the same person as Jenna- talk about an ambitious gal. I love school and nerd out over social injustice with my friends and roommates. And I am honored to be able to relate to my friends who are confident and independent and educated as fuck. I feel blessed that we can sit around in our ugly ass pajamas at 3 AM and talk about our pasts, abusers, failures, hopes, dreams and fears, and then eat chips and salsa and laugh until we cry.
In a society where women are pitted against each other for attention and everything’s a competition, it is utterly refreshing to have created my own little counter-culture of unconditional love, support, laughter, and honesty. Our friend got hired as a lab assistant? PARTY! Someone got a grant to do research? CAKE!!!! (with little dicks and vaginas drawn on top, of course, because we’re still childish idiots sometimes) You had a shitty day? We’re going out and I’m buying dinner, or a movie, or that highlighter you’ve been eyeing. #treatyoself
We don’t deter each other from ordering our own desserts. We don’t talk behind each other’s backs, unless it’s to say “Dear god could she be anymore perfect, even her hair is an overachiever” and use that as motivation to further improve ourselves.
And everything we do and say comes from a place of love, acceptance, validation, and support. When we’re together, we’re in our own little bubble of safe space. We can bitch and moan and our friends will tell us that our feelings and experiences are valid and important (but also that maybe we’re overreacting a little bit and should maybe rethink the situation). It’s a real life support group that exists 24/7. And I love it.
So shout out to all my women- y’all rule.