This is one area where I think women have got a leg up on men: our ability to have great friendships.
Last week, I spent a week at a Charleston beach house with an amazing group of women. I didn't know the vast majority of them before I arrived but by the end, we knew each other's stories, had laughed enough to make our ribs hurt, shared some painful moments from our pasts, and were hugging one another like family.
I've been very lucky to have some amazing female friends throughout my life. They've been there for me through some of the most awful times in my life and some of the most exciting times, too. These are friends who will help me however I need, and while I've never needed to test this assertion, I am firmly convinced that if I called them and said I needed help getting rid of a body, they'd be there in under an hour with shovels.
With all the talk about how common assault is and how often women are told to be afraid (don't do <blank> because you might get hurt), I think we sometimes forget how powerful women are in groups.
One woman might have trouble standing up for herself. She might freeze and be uncertain how to proceed in the moment. But three women together can have two Amazons to draw on. I've seen it again and again as women closed ranks against the insulting jerk or the leering letch and made him regret opening his mouth. Even if it's another woman who's seeking to draw some verbal blood, good girlfriends will have each other's back.
It's easier to stand up for someone else than it is to do it for yourself. And it's easier to stand up for yourself when you know that someone else has your back.
It disappoints me that the female friendship often seems to be an all or nothing proposition when it comes to stories. Sex and the City and Thelma and Louise had plots that revolved entirely around female friendships, but too often there's a lone female cast member who never has another woman to talk to (unless they're discussing men, which you often see in romantic comedies).
I want to know who Black Widow hangs out with when she's had a shitty day and needs to unwind with some popcorn and watch Lucifer. I'd love to see Wonder Woman kicking back with Hawkgirl and complaining about how Batman leaves his shit all over the Justice League headquarters. Because that's side of real women that's worth celebrating: our ability to share and support one another.
Maybe I'm biased, having just gotten to experience it firsthand and having such friendships that have lasted longer than the Jurassic Park franchise. Maybe I'm just suffering from an overdose of Grrrl Power. Or maybe it's that the older I get, the more I realize how wonderful it is to have someone that I can both laugh and cry with, where there is no pressure to fit into a prescribed societal mode.
To the ladies who made the Charleston trip such fun: may your upcoming year be full of profit, pleasure, and discovery.
To the women who have stood by me since my awkward high school days (and the new additions to the collective who have joined us since): I would not still be here without you and I am hugely proud of you all. You deserve everything in life and if you need a shovel, just tell me when and where.
To all the women out there: please, take a moment to reach out to your girlfriends and tell them how amazing they are.
As healing and cathartic (and necessary) as it is to focus on the crap that life continues to deliver, it is also important to celebrate the great. Because the great is what's going to get us through the crap.