Feminist Fridays are back! I’ve missed this feature; writing these posts is like a little breath of fresh air each week, giving myself space to vent about some problematic sexist $#!t or highlight amazing people who are empowering, inspirational, and strive for equality. I’d like to kick this feature off after an absence of many months with a book that is as brilliantly written as it is powerful: Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. I know I’ve already reviewed this book (click here to read my thoughts on it) but there’s so much to talk about that I think it’s worth diving back in for a Feminist Friday discussion.
“Sometimes we can’t do this alone, and we shouldn’t have to. I relied on my girlfriends to get me through one of the hardest eight years of my life. … We have to remember to be that for each other. We have to be each other’s light. We cannot get into that catty stuff. We have to find a way to continue to lift other women up in our worlds and in our lives as much as possible, you all. It is the only reason why I’m breathing. I couldn’t have gotten through raising my kids with a husband traveling without my girls.”
I sighed with relief when I first listened to Michelle Obama reading this quote on my audiobook. Finally! Someone emphasizing the importance of friendship! So often in fiction and on the big screen we are bombarded by the flawed notion that a significant other or romantic relationship will be the answer to all of our problems. But here is a successful, professional woman–a former FIRST LADY–saying that what gets her through challenging times is friendship. Specifically, friendships with other women. Instead of being competitive with each other, Michelle encourages women to support one another through the good times and the bad. By empowering other women, we in turn empower ourselves.
Carrie Hope Fletcher and Celinde Schoenmaker talk about friendships between women in an episode of their podcast Wonder Women (which I highly, highly recommend!). They talk about how romance may come and go, but friendships can be the foundation that keeps you grounded, that you can come back to time and time again for support. There’s also a part where they talk about how women generally enjoy just sitting and catching up, whereas guys usually like to be doing something when they get together. Although stereotypical, I thought this part was hilarious because I’ve definitely noticed that difference between my friends that identify as women and my friends that identify as men. There’s just something so nice about getting a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and chatting, catching up, and exploring topics that I wouldn’t normally talk about outside of my circle of closest friends. We love a good deep chat at 2am!!
So, what does all this rambling about friendships amount to? Basically, I think that more books should focus on the importance of friendship, especially as a source of empowerment and support. So much of fiction–particularly in the young adult genre–focuses on romantic love as a priority and source of happiness. But what about the love that friends share? In my personal life, the love I feel for my friends has been my most unwavering source of joy. And I think that should be celebrated in literature more often.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this return to Feminist Fridays! As always, you can check out my other Feminist Fridays posts here. I’d love to hear of any topics you would like me to discuss in future posts!
What do you think about this topic? What’s your favorite book that highlights or emphasizes the importance of friendships? Let me know in the comments section below!