The last several months, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships (and love and stuff). I’ve grown to love my friends, I’ve gotten closer to the ones I was already close to–’cause life and shit teaches you to keep the good people in your life closer to you because they’re a blessing; good friends and a good friendship are great excuses to be happy … not that you should ever need an excuse to be happy, though, but more on happiness another time. I don’t have as many male friends as I’d like (I believe in being friends with people of all genders and sexes, all races, all colors, all language groups, etc.), and the few that I do have brighten my day whenever I talk to them.
But this post is specifically about friendships among women. Because the image that the media keeps throwing at us about female friendships is that all girls/women are deep inside jealous of each other, all are in a competition with each other, all hate each other, all want the same things, and so on. This is a dangerous, misleading, and unfair image of us – we’re not like that. That’s not to deny that I’ve had some bad experiences with a few female friends I’ve known, but that’s also not to deny that I know plenty of males who’ve been terrible to their male friends as well.
My friend The Fatal Feminist has written such a wonderful blog post about female friendships called Powerful Feminist Acts: Women and Friendships. As she and I, along with some other females we both know, hung out at the AAR this year, as she and I spent days together chilling and doing fun things together, and as I’ve been reflecting on my other female friends, I’ve come to smile and hug them when I see them. Good friends are such a beautiful part of our lives. They (okay, in addition to Kashmala and a couple of other people), I’d like to believe, are the most important reason I’m surviving grad school right now.
There’s something stunningly powerful about women sticking out for other women, women supporting and loving and caring about other women. Whether it’s women smiling at each other, exchanging gifts, kicking a man’s ass because he’s comparing two women to (no, against) each other (e.g., “You’re the hottest girl in the room!” or “You’re more beautiful than Girl X.” Screw you, man! Screw you! If you’ve to put one girl down to elevate another, you’re not doing her a favor!), offering each other shelter or a place to stay in in time of need, uniting each other with the men/women/people they love, or whatever else, small or big, it warms my heart. Love is just such a beautiful thing. And it’s real and it’s present all around us, and we as small little individuals can make it be more present and can spread it as well. I don’t care how you do it, girls – do it! Love each other and be loved by each other! Stand up for each other. Support each other.
This funny thing happened to me once where this pathetic guy I knew liked me (and he was talking about marrying me, laalz), but he was dating a friend of mine but I didn’t know that — and any time I’d bring up that friend of mine, he’d tell me to never mention to her that he and I were friends. So one day, I decided that I was going to mention him to her because he couldn’t be a good person and could not possibly have ANY good intentions if he doesn’t want another woman to know that he and I are friends–AND if he was saying some ill things about her to ME. The moment I mentioned him to this girl friend of mine, she asked for details, and I gave them all to her. Next thing I know, we both are cracking up via a heartfelt skype conversation that lasted through the night and into the morning the next day. It turned out that the boy was dating her. She and I had a blast dealing with him afterwards. Also, he was married to a woman back home in Pakistan…. Yeah.
Two lessons to take away from this incident are these, especially if you’re a male: Never, EVER speak ill of one woman in front of another; stop comparing women to each other to make one think she’s better than another. We’re not in a competition with each other, and you need to stop treating us like we are each other’s enemies.
And to females: Other women are NOT your enemy; your enemy is patriarchy. Don’t hate other women/girls, don’t speak ill of them, don’t be jealous of them, don’t want what they want or have, don’t participate in gossip and ill-talk about them, don’t harm them. The patriarchy that’s smothering us all is already enough to harm us, so please don’t help further its misogynist agenda. Instead, realize that it’s patriarchy that’s against you, that’s set to destroy you, your female friends, and your friendships with other women. Patriarchy’s goal is to break us as much as it can, to make us look, think, and be as stupid and senseless as possible. Don’t let it win! That’s our enemy right there. It’s patriarchy that we should be proving wrong and fighting against. Other women are our friends and allies, and we need each other to kill patriarchy together.
Kudos to all women, to all girls, to all my women/girl friends, and to all others who believe in the power of good friendships.
I’ll end with one important note: Death to patriarchy. Aameen, thumma aameen.
Women sticking out for other women is something I haven’t seen in my entire life. During my college time and now when it’s ended, girls who call me their friend and I call them mine won’t share what plans they have for future, like what exams they’re taking for pursuing a certain career or which university they have in mind and preparing to get admitted into or minor things like where they’d shop for their brother’s wedding. Makes you nauseous and you kinds lose faith in friendship. Now when married, I am facing the same mistrust with my female in-laws. You can’t open up to them entirely, they’re looking for something to pick on and then tell the people that matter to you so that you lost worth in their eyes. It’s a common saying here that “yawa khaza bala na bardasht kayi”. It’s just very very sad.
Topak gwala! Pa khairuno! Good to hear from you after an eternity and a half!
Thanks for reading and responding!
Ahh, yes, that is pretty sad. The animosity does exist. It’s just I wish that’s not the only narrative that’d dominate the media (western, eastern, whatever). I also wish women would realize that it’s not other women they should be hating because other women are not the ultimate enemy. I think too many of us take out our frustrations on other women because we feel powerless and think there’s nothing more we can do. It’s a harmful choice.
Now if we could just kill patriarchy asap …