“Girls are too dramatic.” “Girls are mean and superficial.”
I used to hear that all the time from young women I met. They never had a close pack of girlfriends in high school that they could relate to. They were marginalized and ostracized for being different. Whether it be because they weren’t cool enough or because they were tomboys, they just never had good experiences with girls.
I once said the same thing.
Girls were a nuisance and boys were just cool. Cool with one another and cool with themselves. I think I idealized the utopia that is “Boys.” A world where they just play sports and if they have a disagreement, they fight it out, patch it up and move on with their lives. I’ve learned from my husband, that the ideal life of a boy isn’t all that ideal. Boys suffer from some of the same “drama” that some teenage girls deal with. At the end of the day, fitting in, is the main objective of most teens.
Now what happens when you take the “I don’t get along with girls” baggage with you into adulthood. It’s sad and tragic for women who feel they’re unable to bond with other women. I think the reason for an inability to bond with women is linked to competition. These other women are chicks I might have to compete against for a job and most likely a man.
Point is, if you belong to a sex that is systematically oppressed, all over the world, wouldn’t you want to make it your business to round up your base? Strength in numbers, right? But sometimes an oppressed group can forget their common goal and start battle within their own ranks. If one women is perceived to have just a little more power than the rest, no one asks her: “How did you get that power and how can you help the rest of us be more like you?”
No, instead, we seek to tear her down. If she’s smart, we tell ourselves: “She’ll never get a man if she’s a know it all.” If she’s comfortable with her sexuality, we tell ourselves: “What a slut. She’s going to take my man!” If she knows how to handle herself or if she’s tough, we tell ourselves: “What a bitch. She might be a dyke.” If men already think that about us, what sense does it make for us to help them tear us down?
The key to finding a solid set of girlfriends is rather obvious. You find women who like minded, who share your interests, passions and curiosities. That doesn’t mean it happens overnight. You have to search long and hard to find healthy relationships with anyone! But when you do, there are many benefits to hanging out with your sex.
A common sisterhood bond is nothing to sneeze at. Men, no matter how dramatic they are not, will never quite understand the experience of being a woman. You can’t always say to your guy friend, “I think I was sexually harassed at work today. What should I do?” Or, “I’m pretty sure I’m getting paid less than Danny, who works in the same department as I do. Do you know what that feels like?”
I have girlfriends all over the country. My best friend, Evelyn, might in Champagne, IL, but she and I bonded in college over many things and we made the conscious effort to stick together. My girlfriends in Columbus, GA are still my southern homies. We bonded over being women in academia, among other issues. I now have girlfriends here in Toledo, OH who are cool to me because they know what it’s like to curious about other people’s lives, politics and feminism.
I can talk to these women when I can’t talk to my husband. Some of them are doing things that I cannot. They might be holding positions of power that I don’t have access to, but I make it my business to protect and support them while they’re up there on that top ladder rung. I can’t tear them down because we’re essentially in the same boat.
So if you’re one of those women who still finds it hard to get on with other women, despair not! There is a girlfriend for you! There’s a woman out there who’s had common life experiences that will make sense to you. Just keep your eyes open and don’t judge harshly. She might not look like you or know the same things as you do, but she might understand you better than you think.