The Importance of Inclusive Female Friendships

*First published today on Huffpost by me*

As I approach my thirties something in me has changed from my late/teens early twenties. I no longer hate women. I used to be that girl who would scoff at the idea of feminism, I prided myself in being ‘one of the lads’ ‘not like other girls’ and a ‘cool girl.’ I was so proud of these badges that I threw the sisterhood under the bus. I was cold and unkind, I talked smack about other women, I sneered at them and their perceived weaknesses.

What I never realised, was that by allowing myself to be caught up by bro-culture, I was hurting and damaging myself in the process. By viewing women in such a disdainful light I was holding myself to impossible standards; being cool but not arrogant, being fun but not too flirty, being funny but not unfeminine, being hot but not a slut. On and on and on I made myself become what I thought men wanted me to be and not who I actually was. (FYI there is nothing wrong with being a slut, I actively encourage it.)

I hated the other cool girls, bar the ones I deemed acceptable but they were toxic for me too. I remember my best girl-friend at the time that we were both 18, telling me that loads of boys fancied me but didn’t see me as girlfriend material because I was too much of ‘a good time girl.’ Ouch. That one followed me for a very long time. I’d got it all wrong; I’d failed in being the utopian Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl I was supposed to be. This further fuelled my hatred of the women who were girlfriend material, what did they have that I didn’t? Was it because they were skinnier, prettier or just had that elusive something that I lacked?

Fast forward a few years and I met my circle of girlfriends, my gorgeous soul sisters. Each one is special and beautiful inside and out and each one is totally different to the other. Some are quiet and shy, some are gregarious and effervescent and all are sensational. Importantly, all are from completely different walks of life and have very different experiences to my own, some are white, some are women of colour, some are trans, some are working class, some are middle. The knowledge and understanding that we have all shared between us is so important and precious and I feel incredibly lucky to know such women.

I still enjoy the company of men but the quality of them has also changed, I won’t be around men that talk sh*t about their exes – other women or who use misogynistic slurs. Nobody’s perfect and we all make slip-ups from time to time but fundamentally the men who I interact with are vulnerable, sensitive and forward thinking.

We all have to be brave enough to say when we feel someone is being badly treated, male or female and to listen to each other’s experiences to grow together. What life has so far taught me is that no one’s life is straight-forward and charmed, those who appear to have their life in order, don’t. So let’s not let jealousy and resentment get in the way of possible connections that you never expected but that could ultimately be the best.

Link to huffpost

2 years ago