Earlier this year, I borrowed Michelle Obama’s autobiography, Becoming, from a friend. This pretty much went against my general indisposition to reading nonfiction, but my similarly fiction-reading friend assured it to not be a yawn.
Who knew it could turn into one of my greatest reads this year, or maybe even ever?
Probably the greatest thing that struck me about her life – other than the various life lessons she subtly imbibed in me – was how she always seemed to be surrounded by strong female figures. Women she could look up to, women she trusted and cherished, women who inspired her and whom she inspired. It inspired me to look for my own assembly of female inspirations, and I found I’ve been overlooking several important ladies in my life, who have inspired me and continue to inspire me every single day – my mother, my sister, and several friends of mine. Of course, none of them are perfect, and I wouldn’t claim to have an entire posse of feminist vigor surrounding me always, but I figured I could try to be one of them too.
However, looking at popular culture, notice that there are very few decent female friendship portrayals. This thought popped into my head while watching Parks & Recreation, and how Leslie & Ann always seem to have each others backs. I love how they’re always looking out for each other, how they fight but look at their fights as healthy and overcome them, and how there seems to be few other such relationships in entertainment.
I don’t claim to have seen everything that the world of entertainment has to offer, obviously, but I see a few problems with the ones I have and people hail as ‘goals’.
Rachel & Monica from Friends? Don’t get me started on the Friends characters. But don’t get me wrong – I’ve had my fill of the show, repetitively (thanks to Comedy Central), and would definitely watch the hell out of it if it’s on TV. But post season 1, I’ve never really felt the attachment between these two. I feel like the ‘friendship’ is mostly based on selfishness and common connections, and I could never bring myself to believe in it entirely.
Rory & Lane from Gilmore Girls? I love Rory until she goes to Yale, and Lane is probably one of my absolute favorite characters – but I’m sorry, Rory is at least half a terrible friend to her. As long as Rory herself doesn’t have problems or anything plot-twisty happening in her life, she’ll be a good friend to Lane. While Lane is there for Rory no matter what happens in her life – good or bad. It’s not the most terrible friendship, but it doesn’t feel very wholesome either.
I’ve always felt like every girl should have an encouraging set of kick-ass women to be inspired by and care about at the same time, in addition to having a kick-ass set of people in general to be inspired by. Where my strong female friendships at?