The power of women’s friendships is constantly being undermined by pop culture’s obsession with cattiness. From mean girl Top Model contestants to Real Housewives reunion show drama, we are inundated with scenes of women attacking, humiliating, and betraying other women, more often that not supposedly their “friends,” for laughs and ratings. On the other hand, anyone who has experienced girlhood and womanhood knows that the authors behind Queen Bees and Wannabes and Odd Girl Out weren’t exaggerating; friendships between women can be challenging and sometimes traumatizing.
I admit I have had my share of frenemy drama starting in elementary school and as recently as last year. So-called friends have talked behind my back, excluded me from activities, revealed my secrets, and turned others against me. I admit I have been a participant in chisme, backbiting, backstabbing; we are told that this is what girls and women do by our elders but especially by popular culture. Those who want to say Latinas are much more supportive and sisterly need only look at a telenovela or watch an old episode of Laura en America to see that catfights are part and parcel of the love story mythology; you cannot trust your sister, friend, neighbor to not covet what you have.
I have seen my straight and gay male friends as superior to my women friends at several times in my life, sometimes to the detriment of the many healthy friendships I have had with women. In turning to men as my support network, I have sometimes alienated the women who have been loyal and supportive. It has been a challenge to maintain a balanced perspective, to not buy into the stereotype that women don’t know how to be friends.
For the past two decades, I have been blessed with the best friendship I could ever imagine. My friendship with my bestie has survived through family losses, health battles, career shifts, boyfriends, and singledom. I am proud to say that of all my friendships, both old and new, it is the one relationship that has been drama-free. There has never been a separation or conflict that was rooted in envy, insecurity, or miscommunication. She has been my co-worker, club buddy, and labor coach. I don’t give her enough credit for being such an amazing woman and friend.
I hope my daughter is blessed with a friend as true as her Titi has been for me.