Bad Feminist: How to Be Friends with Another Woman

A few favorite excerpts from the best chapter in Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay:


How to Be Friends with Another Woman

If you are the kind of woman who says, “I’m mostly friends with guys,” and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman as if being a woman is a bad thing, see Item 1B*. It’s okay if most of your friends are guys, but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.

 

If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women, consider that maybe women aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s just you.

 

*Item 1B:
If you find that you are feeling bitchy, toxic, or competitive toward the women who are supposed to be your closest friends, look at why and figure out how to fix it and/or find someone who can help you fix it.

I went to an all-girls high school. My senior year of college, I shared a house with 9 other women. I would not change either of these things, as they have shaped who I have become and I have great memories from both. When other women hear this who don’t share these experiences, they often shake their head and say, “I couldn’t do that.” I have heard many women in my lifetime say things like, “Girls just don’t like me. I don’t really have girl friends.” And I always want to call bullshit on that. If you can’t make friends with women – 1) Maybe you’re trying to befriend the wrong people, or as Roxane Gay so astutely points out, 2) maybe you’re the problem! 

I am unironically #blessed by the female friendships in my life – my sisters, mom and stepmom and aunts; the girls I can still rely on 15 years after meeting them in high school; the ladies I have laughed with and cried with in my twenties; awesome co-workers that help me get through every day… I can’t imagine where I would be without those relationships and it astounds me that there are women out there without that kind of connection. 

When something is wrong and you need to talk to your friends and they ask you how you are, don’t say “Fine.” They know you’re lying and it irritates them and a lot of time is wasted with the back-and-forth of “Are you sure?” and “Yes?” and “Really?” and “I AM FINE.” Tell your lady friends the truth so you can talk it out and either sulk companionably or move on to other topics.

PREACH. Fine never means fine. I have had to teach my husband this as well, although he swears that to him, fine means okay/good. To me, I ask, “How was dinner?” and he says, “Fine” – my feelings get hurt.

Surround yourself with women you can get sloppy drunk with who won’t draw stupid things on your face if you pass out, and who will help you puke if you over celebrate, and who will also tell you if you get sloppy drunk too much or behave badly when you are sloppy drunk.

Friends take care of friends. If you drink past your limits and your friends think it’s okay to leave you alone at a bar, let you walk home by yourself, or in any way take advantage of your drunken state… Maybe rethink your friendships. 

I highly recommend that you check out this book. I didn’t agree with 100% of what she had to say about gender, race, politics or entertainment but I still enjoyed reading it. I follow her on Twitter, where I also only agree with her about half the time, but when she’s right, she’s right and this section in particular really rang true to me.

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