Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Girl Power?

 

The New York Times Science section featured an article today called “The Spirit of Sisterhood is in the Air and on the Air” that shares a lot of the research people have done on female bonds among animals. For baboons, there is a biochemical component: having lady friends relieves stress.

What I don’t understand, though, is how the so-called “powerful defense system” of friendship found in the HBO show “Girls” is supposed to be the human evidence for this, as the article argues. In this past Sunday night’s episode, the girlfriends go to a women’s health clinic because one of them is scheduled for an abortion and another an STD test because, as the Science columnist described it, “her atonal lover explores his sex fantasies on her awkwardly untitillated body” and is cavalier about condom use. In what way is this a stress-relieving scenario?

Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced female friendship is supposed to be about supporting each other in poor, nihilistic choices. Elephants have been known to rescue each other’s children. I think we, as humans, can do better by our fellow women.

There are 14 comments.

  1. tabula rasa Member
    Maura Pennington: 

    Call me crazy, but I’m not convinced female friendship is supposed to be about supporting each other in poor, nihilistic choices. Elephants have been known to rescue each other’s children. I think we, as humans, can do better by our fellow women. · · 2 hours ago

    Understatement of the day. Amen.

    • #1
    • April 25, 2012, at 2:15 AM PST
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  2. DocJay Inactive

    Maura, I’m with you and I understand!

    Emily, you go girl!

    Mama, I support your uniqueness! (actually I admire your moral clarity quite a lot )

    How’s that for validation ladies? I am trying to tune in to my feminine side lately.

    • #2
    • April 25, 2012, at 2:17 AM PST
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  3. Casey Inactive
    DocJay If a male friend of mine asks me if he is fat I tell him he’s fat, eats horrible, doesn’t exercise and would benefit from changing his habits.

    Doc, aren’t you obligated to say that?

    • #3
    • April 25, 2012, at 2:21 AM PST
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  4. Guruforhire Member

    Should I be worried when my wife is out with her girlfriends?

    • #4
    • April 25, 2012, at 5:02 AM PST
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  5. DocJay Inactive
    Casey
    DocJay If a male friend of mine asks me if he is fat I tell him he’s fat, eats horrible, doesn’t exercise and would benefit from changing his habits.

    Doc, aren’t you obligatedto say that? · 3 hours ago

    Man law!

    • #5
    • April 25, 2012, at 5:39 AM PST
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  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    I think civilization can very much be measured by its women. Women create it, define it, dream it, make its rules, give it strength, enforce its reality, men just do what is necessary to make it happen for them. Thus when women are seen or portrayed acting in a base and immoral manner it tears at the heartstrings for we instinctively know that it is a sign of civilization fraying. 

    • #6
    • April 25, 2012, at 6:18 AM PST
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  7. DocJay Inactive

    Fake John Galt, also along those lines, when we see a society without equal opportunity or cultural disrespect for females in general we know they are not truly civilized.

    • #7
    • April 25, 2012, at 6:26 AM PST
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  8. AHLondon Inactive

     I’ve noted the emphasis on female friendship too. I don’t object to the friendship bit in theory, but often in this chick-flick genre of films and books the belief that your friends will always be there excuses almost any behavior. The women almost sabtaoge other parts of their lives relying upon friendship redemption.

    • #8
    • April 25, 2012, at 6:51 AM PST
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  9. Profile Photo Member

    It’s an interesting point you bring up, Maura, and one that appears in at least three culture-defining shows: Friends, Sex and the City, and now Girls. These shows are all about friendship; our friends will always be there for us–support us, as you say–no matter what. 

    I think there are two ideas in these shows that really appeal to our culture. First, the idea of friendship. Friends have displaced family as the main source of moral and social support, especially now that we all leave home after high school for good. The second idea is nonjudgmental support, and I think that’s really a relic of our morally relativistic culture. As a friend, one of your duties is to support your friends without judging their choices because there is no right or wrong, there is only how they feel. If they feel bad, you should comfort them. If they feel good, then great. 

    This raises a question: Is a good friend one who blindly supports their friends, or is a good friend someone who tells their friends the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be? In Girls, we see the Marnie character do both.

    • #9
    • April 25, 2012, at 12:22 PM PST
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  10. DocJay Inactive

    Women are strange and wonderful creatures. The will get together and validate so much that the validation is validated. If a male friend of mine asks me if he is fat I tell him he’s fat, eats horrible, doesn’t exercise and would benefit from changing his habits. My wife would say no “you look wonderful”.

    • #10
    • April 25, 2012, at 12:34 PM PST
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  11. Maura Pennington Inactive
    Maura Pennington Post author

    It’s funny how in the two episodes so far of “Girls,” the friends have split off and talked about each other’s choices behind one another’s backs and argued about the best approach. In the end, the consensus is simply to “be there for her.” They are definitely still judgmental, just not to anyone’s face. That seems worse to me than being either blindly supportive or painfully honest. I think it makes women passive-aggressive, the one thing I’ve never been able to tolerate in female friendships.

    • #11
    • April 25, 2012, at 12:42 PM PST
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  12. CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    Perhaps I am unrepresentative of females as a whole, but when I have friends whom I love who continue to make bad choices and ask me to validate the destruction of their lives and their families, I refuse. I cannot. Some girlfriends seem to keep making the same mistakes, and there comes a point at which I realize they are drowning me in their pain and I must cut them loose. I may still love them and pray for them, but I don’t call them up and get together for breakfast anymore.

    And DocJay, I repeat that I may be very unrepresentative of women as a group, but if someone asks me if he is fat, I tell the truth. I may try to phrase it kindly, I may seek to find out why he is worried about his weight or appearance, but I tell the truth. 

    I also don’t like shopping for shoes, getting my nails done, or wearing makeup, so again — how weird a woman am I?

    • #12
    • April 25, 2012, at 12:43 PM PST
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  13. Foxfier Inactive
    Mama Toad: Perhaps I am unrepresentative of females as a whole, but when I have friends whom I love who continue to make bad choices and ask me to validate the destruction of their lives and their families, I refuse. I cannot. 
    Well, we’re probably oddballs, but I’m there with you– I was taught that the goal is to tell people what they need to know.In the “Am I fat” question, depends on what they mean– you need to help them get better without causing undue harm, so you’ve gotta figure out if they’re asking if they are: fat, ugly, unloved, unattractive, generally unworthy. Figure that out, then figure out how to tell them the truth without wounding them beyond reach…. 
    • #13
    • April 26, 2012, at 11:11 AM PST
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  14. Foxfier Inactive
    AHLondon: I’ve noted the emphasis on female friendship too. I don’t object to the friendship bit in theory, but often in this chick-flick genre of films and books the belief that your friends will always be there excuses almost any behavior. The women almost sabtaoge other parts of their lives relying upon friendship redemption. · Apr 24 at 6:51pm

    Female friendships are the only ones they can focus on, most times– good heavens, stay away from the actor tracts for LotR, the actor for Sam had to imagine it as homosexual to pull off the role.

    As the culture gets more and more immature, at least from Hollywood’s view, the less they’re able to pull off mature friendships. Male friendships suffered because guys are a better target. (“Everything is sex and toilet humor” type target.)

    • #14
    • April 26, 2012, at 11:14 AM PST
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