What I Learned From Embracing Female Friendship and Ceasing to Call Myself a ‘Guy’s Girl’

What I Learned From Embracing Female Friendship and Ceasing to Call Myself a ‘Guy’s Girl’

When I was in high school, I considered myself a “guy’s girl.”

I had some close girl friends, but I didn’t get along with a lot of the girls in my high school. As much as I hate to admit it, this disconnect from other girls led me to some detrimental generalizations—girls are catty. Girls are crazy. Girls are mean and they gossip.  

These sweeping statements were absolutely informed by the misogyny in which our society is saturated, but I internalized them very deeply, and carried them with me for a long time. Inevitably, my incredibly false heuristic that dismissed, derogated, and reduced all women and girls to stereotypes had to come crashing down at some point. And thank goddess it did.

I have an immense amount of gratitude for my insanely wonderful women friends who I met at college for deconstructing and debunking these insidious and destructive thoughts. Two very important things for me happened at college: One, I found myself, with the wisdom and knowledge of my friends, redefining what it meant to be a woman, and two, I found myself learning about all the different ways in which women are stereotyped, reduced, discriminated against, and devalued in our society. These two channels of learning led me to both embrace my identity as a woman, as well as realize that women are incredibly multifaceted, unique, wild, bold, strong, smart, bad-ass, resilient people (to which now I think, DUH!)

I realized that my idea of what it meant to be a woman was informed by the stereotypes that our society has about women, not actual women! I internalized my very narrow and pigeon-holed view of women mostly from what I saw in television and magazines—girls going shopping, doing their hair, painting their nails, talking about boys, wearing pink—and also from what I didn’t see—girls talking about their ambitions, hopes, dreams, having a wide variety of interests, mutually supporting and appreciating one-another. I didn’t realize that these stereotypes were two-dimensional, and, as silly as it sounds, I didn’t realize that girls could be so different from one another.

So when I went to college and truly got to know women on a deep level, all of my preconceptions were shattered! I met women who were rock climbers, entrepreneurs, witches, photographers, food enthusiasts, actors, and activists; I met women interested in Middle Eastern studies, sociology, tarot, psychology, neuroscience, film—each with such intricately woven personalities, all so incredibly unique and passionate. All of these women made me realize, deeper and deeper, how incredibly unique each of us is, and how one-dimensional and shallow the stereotype of women is.

My friendships with women are the strongest, closest relationships I have in my life. The capacity for women to mutually love, support, and inspire each other is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Raising each other up as women has been an incredibly important experience for me—my women friends have provided unwavering and unrivaled support to me, and I for them, and I know that we will always be there for each other.

Are you in a similar situation and aren’t sure what to do? Consider your reasons: What generalizations are you carrying about women? How are these generalizations impacting, shaping, and limiting your view of women—even those whom you have not yet met? Write down all of the preconceptions and stereotypes that you are carrying about women. What if you were to release your stereotypes? (This is a continuous practice!) I will tell you—it is worth it. If you are limiting yourself to only being friends with one gender, you are cutting off half of the population, full of amazing, flawed, deeply loving, and endlessly interesting people.

Of course you are going to meet women you do not get on with—we’re all going to meet people, regardless of gender, with whom we don’t get along. But that doesn’t mean that you should dismiss all women! I can tell you that my strongest, closest bonds are with my women friends. And imagining a life without them is incredibly difficult—being a woman in our society is hard sometimes, and they are the ones with whom I can share my female experience and who will understand and empathize to their cores. They are the ones with whom I can be goofy, and vulnerable, and honest. They are the ones who I know will support me (and who know I will support them) whenever we need to lean on each other. We empower each other, and remind each other that we are strong and resilient and buoyant and alive and always growing, and I could not be more appreciative of these friendships.

So, even though it is hard, if you are carrying reductive stereotypes about women being catty, or mean, or superficial, or gossipy, or vain—work on releasing them. I promise that it will be worth it.


Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.