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Home / Lady Speak

The power of female friendships

 A female tribe can push you higher, be your wisest counsel in times of need (Shutterstock)

Christina is arguably the smartest of the bunch of surgical interns at Grey Memorial Hospital. Meredith is the bright, calm and self-assured one used to getting her way.

And when Meredith gets the first chance at getting into the operating room when it seemed like Christina should have, some bad blood begins developing.

But somehow, each of them realises that together, they are a more formidable force in the competitive environment.

And they become fast friends; a friendship that sees them through the murkiest of waters like death and breakups and beautiful highs like births and weddings. That is from the first episode of the TV show Greys Anatomy.

As they say, life imitates art, and if you grew up in the 90s and early 2000s you probably saw your fill of cringe-worthy storylines when telling women stories.

Negative examples of female friendships, archaic comments, and ‘innocent’ jokes have perpetuated the belief that women can’t be friends.

In real life, you hear comments like “women are their own worst enemies” all the time. But how true is that statement? Can’t women be powerful allies at work for other women?

To encourage a positive portrayal of women’s friendships, in 1985, American cartoonist Alison Bechdel came up with the Bechdel test in a comic strip called The Rule.

The test is used to measure the representation of women in fiction. For a movie or TV show to pass the test, it has to feature at least two women talking to each other about a topic other than men.

It has been 35 years and still most shows, even feminist ones, fail to pass this simple test. Fact is, pop culture has failed to show and celebrate positive female friendships.

Yes, women can be petty and dramatic at times, but so are men.

A female tribe can push you higher, be your wisest counsel in times of need, root for you and be your loudest cheerleaders than any other person. 

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