Have you ever read something you related so much to that you had to check the byline to make sure you didn't actually write it, and are going through some kind of psychotic break that involves late-night freelance writing when you thought you were asleep? No? Just me? Okay then. Well, I had that kind of moment while reading Catherine LeClair's Jezebel article "Am I Cherishing My Female Friends Enough? Am I??" I'm not kidding, I went back to check the byline.
"I never thought I would be one to question my personal level of devotion to my friends, particularly those of the girl variety," Catherine writes. "I am a champion of all the best female empowerment mantras, known to shout 'uteruses before duderuses' or 'Venus before penis' at the emotional peak of any and all femininity-fueled moments, including but not limited to: bachelorette parties, spurning misogynists at bars and any time Beyonce’s “Love On Top” comes on."
I too, am a huge fan of the female friendship. In my opinion, a gal's female friendships are as important, if not more important, than the romantic relationships she has in her life. My female friendships have shaped the person I am more than any one else. More than my parents, teachers, and boyfriends combined. I can honestly say I would not be me without my girls.
My best friend Amy and I met in middle school. We've been a constant presence in each others lives for years. After 12 years in New York, she recently moved back to our hometown with her son and husband. For the first time in our adult lives we live in same state. We live in the same county. We live about 40 minutes away from each other! We get to see each other about once a week. It's very, very exciting, but I also worry.
We're living in a time in which the world lives for female friendships. Catherine mentions Taylor Swift's #squadgoals, Broad City's Abbi and Ilana, Lila and Lenu from Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan novels, and Parks and Recreation's Leslie and Ann as examples. But with the world's love comes a lot of pressure. "We’re told that our funny, smart and beautiful female friends are now, more than ever, the most important thing we women have going for us," Catherine writes. It comes down to the fact that romantic relationships can end. The relationship you have with your BFF doesn't…ever.
I know that Amy is my primary partner. I know with full certainty that Amy will always be a part of my life. Which is comforting, but like Catherine, I feel fear. "And while it’s comforting to know that long after any future husband has betrayed me or died before me, I will be buried in the ground by the gnarled and knuckled hands of some of my favorite women, I end up fearing that I am not doing enough to lay the groundwork for this scenario in which my girlfriends are literally the only thing I’ve got," she writes. "Is it possible to show these women how much I cherish the kind of support that only a fellow ovulating and patriarchy-hating gal pal can offer? What would that expression of love even look like?"
While I have never felt the need to send Amy an edible arrangement with a note that reads, "If our significant others leave us at least we have each other!" I do feel the urge to make sure everyone knows my best friend is here and we're doing best friend things and having fun best friend times. Catherine says her "desire to write cards and send texts and buy gifts for [her] friends, though sincere, is partially borne out of this relatively recent strain of cultural pressure to showcase our friends as 'proof' of our own devotion to the feminist cause. It’s a way to say both, 'I am above the pettiness of female competition,' and also 'I have lots of friends and am doing great, thanks, but no thanks, patriarchy.'"
So, yes, we're living in a great time for female friendship. "But when friendship becomes performance, it’s hard to say if anyone wins at all," writes Catherine. I'm going to try to take the world out of my friendship. I'll try to stop thinking about making sure everyone knows I have my best friend living near me again and focus on living a life with my best friend, who thankfully lives near me.