There has been a resurgence in recent years of the iconic girl gang. Thanks to Taylor Swift’s Instagram feed, having a #squad of fearless female friends by your side is super on trend.
It hasn’t always been this way, however. Growing up, I firmly believed that being friends with boys was better than being friends with girls. Because, y’know, girls are like, so totally bitchy and SO full of drama and boys are just so much less manipulative and catty. Obviously.
What I didn’t realise is that girls are, in fact, wonderful.
It turns out my problem was less with girls and more with teenagers in general. Who knew.
Now I’m older and a little bit wiser, I realise that female friends are the foundation of a solid life. Every day, my female friends (both online and offline) bring me joy. They raise me up, they shout about my achievements from the rooftops, and they remind me that when I grow up, I want to be just like other girls.
Because I’ll let you into a secret: girls are wonderful; and female friends will enrich your life.
For a start, your female friends will rarely turn out to only be friends with because they want to sleep with you. For another, they usually have a tampon to lend you in an emergency.
But more importantly, having female friends means having friends that get what it’s like to be a woman in this world. It means rarely having to explain why catcalling makes your skin crawl, or that when you say you hate all men, you don’t literally mean all men.
Having female friends means understanding all the different ways there are to be a woman. It means witnessing first hand that your definition of womanhood isn’t the definition of womanhood – and, more importantly, that the media’s definition of womanhood isn’t the definition of womanhood.
Female friendship means actively rejecting the patriarchal idea that women are lesser and less worthy of your love and friendship. It means rebelling against the stereotype that women must compete with each other. It means laughing at the idea that there’s only a finite amount of space for women in this world.
In short, once you unlearn internalised misogyny, female friendship can be wonderful and powerful and a thing of beauty.
And if anyone tells you otherwise they’re probably a misogynist.