Sociological Images recently had a small segment about the importance of friendships called “Do Friends Matter? A Feminist Defense of Friendship“, I found myself nodding my head a lot as I read it.
The gist of the talk was that within the mainstream American culture, heterosexual kinship and pair bonds are viewed as the “Best EVA” bond to have—hence American society’s strong focus on forming heterosexual relationships and giving primacy to heterosexual pairings; often to the detriment of maintaining friendships outside of the heterosexual pairing. This also creates a misguided idea that friendships between men and women aren’t possible because of the ever-present potential for “sexual chemistry” and pairing. Unfortunately, this also means that friendships between women are often depicted as competitive, undermining, and often involving jealousy and envy, usually over men. And if someone’s gender presentation does not fit within the traditional male-female dichotomy…well, these friendships are practically invisible and not depicted in the mainstream media.
Yet I think friendships are very important, whether they occur face to face, or like the ones that I have made here on Harpyness. I came late to having fabulous friends, especially of the female variety, ones that help share the great things that happen (successes, birthdays) as well as the not so good things that happen. I really cherish these friendships, and see them as part of my family.
The Sociological Images talk also covered some of the positive health effects of friendships that we might not get from a heterosexual pairing. I found resonance with this, especially as a person currently in a heterosexual pairing: MrMackey is not able to fulfill all my needs, and I think it’s unreasonable to expect this. I NEED MY FRIENDS.
So Harpies, what’s your take on friendship? Is it a feminist act? If so, how does friendship become a feminist act?