In Defence Of All Female Friendship Groups

Why isn't it cool to admit you have an exclusively female friendhip group any more?


by Dolly Alderton |
Published on

So I’ve noticed this thing. You’re sitting with a group of women – clever, self-aware, brilliant people – when one of them announces that they don’t like the company of other women.

‘Oh me too,’ another one chimes in. ‘I’m much better in the company of men. They just get me better. More chilled out.’

‘Yeah, girls are just so bitchy, aren’t they?’ the other one replies.

‘Yeah. I just like being relaxed and being real and having a beer and having a laugh.’

And then begins the strange competition of who gets on least with women. The one who ‘grew up with 10 brothers’; the one who thinks women can't parallel park or understand the off-side rule or make a dead baby joke; the one who says she doesn’t like cattiness or competitiveness or cosmopolitans.

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Well, it makes me hopping mad. This nonsense – this raving nonsense that groups of women are prissy, silly, neon-cocktail-swigging, duplicitous bitches stealing each other’s boyfriends and talking about each other behind their backs like Lord of The Flies starring the Loose Women panel – deeply, deeply offends me.

It’s a subtle but steadfast misogynistic stereotyping that’s leaking through the vernacular of women and making them embarrassed to declare their love of female friendships.

I find the whole thing particularly perplexing because I have always been a card-carrying, out-and-proud, fully-paid-up member of a girl gang and I’ve never experienced anything but joy from that. Sure, at school, girls en masse were dicks. But so were boys.

That’s not to do with gender, that’s just to do with hormones and an underdeveloped sense of empathy and people genuinely not wanting to share their scented gel pens.

Here’s the truth of it: I’ve done very well out of chicks over the years. They’ve picked me up in their Toyota Yaris when it’s raining and they’ve queued up with me to get the morning-after pill and they’ve baked me cakes on my birthday.

They’ve stayed up all night dancing with me. They have thrown drinks in the faces of men who have betrayed me. They’ve loaned me money to get me out of trouble and never expected it back. They’ve introduced me to new bands and cities and books and ideas.

I’ve done all my life’s best fun with other women.

I don’t know these groups of female friends that are bitchy and competitive. The only women I know shrug and say, ‘Good luck, mate’ when I say I’m not eating carbohydrates and give me a walloping pat on the back when I order two forms of potato as side dishes.

And I don’t know women who are competitive about men either. I only have the friends who notice I’m trying to make the moves on an indifferent man and start slurring: ‘Dolly is really GREAT, you know. Really SOMETHING. Commonly known as a TEN OUT OF TEN woman if you know whaddamean!’ before doing an exaggerated wink and falling over.

In the workplace it has been no different. A woman employed me for my first job in TV; she remains an incredibly fair and encouraging boss. Every other woman I have worked with has made sure I am praised and credited when my work has been good and advised and supported me when it has been bad.

In journalism it’s been the same. It’s always my female friends who are the first to link to something I’ve written or read a piece and send me feedback. More generally, chicks always seem to be on my side. Only two days ago, when I took the wrong card to the Co-op and couldn’t pay for loo roll, two women behind me in the queue offered to pay for it.

I can’t believe this is all just down to luck. Those women who say they think all women are bitchy MUST be lying.

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Here’s a confession: I can count my good male friends on one hand. I know, I know. You’re judging me. I have been embarrassed about it for years. Every time one of my friends tries to organise a holiday or an event, we end up back at the same place – shoving the names ‘Tim and Dan’ on the list, worrying they’re not going to have a good time and lamenting the fact we have no male friends.

(Footnote: Dan has now moved abroad. We literally only have Tim now. Tim, if you’re reading this – sorry you’re always the only boy at the barbecue. Although you’re probably not reading this, only my female friends ever bother to read anything I write.)

But I don’t know if I should be embarrassed about it any more. I’m a bit bored of feeling like I should prefer the company of men. Because I don’t think I do. I’m not a misandrist, I don’t think all women are brilliant in the same way I can’t assume all Coldplay fans are virgins.

But what I do know is, most women aren’t bitchy. Most groups of women aren’t mad, and they’re not mean, and they’re not silly or stupid or living life like it’s one giant hen-do. And I don’t think it’s a very cool of women to slate them – I don’t think it’s helping anyone one bit.

So, to girl gangs everywhere: you don’t embarrass me in the slightest. You carry on as you were and stop worrying that you only have three men to invite to your birthday drinks and one of them is your cousin.

I just have to hear that a woman doesn’t like the company of other woman and I know all I need to know – she ain’t our kind of woman.

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Follow Dolly on Twitter @dollyalderton

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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