A Girl's Guide to Being Friends With Girls

I apologize for the lack of column last week, I’m in the middle of both moving and hunting for a full-time job so things are a little out of control right now.

HOWEVER, the awesome Jill Filipovic has just posted an opinion piece on her Tumblr in response to a piece in the NY Post.   Jill’s rebuttal has a very, very quotable section I wanted to share with you guys.  It really seemed to hit the nail on the head:

Women who are unable (or unwilling) to cultivate and maintain female friendships are almost always terrible, and “I don’t like girls” is the reddest of red flags (pink flag: Any girl who says, “I’m a Carrie;” orange flag: Any girl who thinks it would be just awful to be the successful attorney with the sweet apartment and the super-nice boyfriend, or the owner of her own PR company with an awesome sex life). New York is full of interesting, intelligent, fun, loyal women. It’s also got tons of boring, unintelligent, flighty, shallow drama queens who date bankers and lawyers and think they’re Carrie Bradshaw — so seriously, there is someone for everyone, and those ladies tend to have friends too! It is not hard to make friends here, and I meet at least one or two or five ladies a month who make me go, “God damn, that bitch is rad.” I’ve been here for ten years and I’ve developed a lot of great friendships and a handful of truly fantastic ones. There’s a solid group of at least half a dozen ladies who I sit down with on the regular to eat food and say words. Often that food is brunch. Often there are four of us. Or two, or three. And yes, we actually talk to each other. And we actually listen. And we also go out together and have a good time. Since moving here, I’ve developed some of the strongest, most valuable friendships of my life. And I think all of my friends, close and slightly less-close, would say the same thing. Friendship! With women! In New York! It is not only possible, but if you’re not finding it, maybe consider that maybe it’s you.


{February 8, 2012}   Girly Girl

One of the very first things I brought up in my first column is that there is no such thing as a “normal” girl.  And I stand by that.

Of course, that gets kinda hard to believe sometimes.  Our society is so mired in ideas about gender that there are many things that get labeled “feminine” for whatever reason (and often stupid, stupid reasons).  And then girls are supposed to like these feminine things.

But here’s an added problem: the same people labeling these things as “feminine” do their damnedest to convince us that “masculine” things are the default setting and the CORRECT things.  Anything “feminine” gets associated with being weak, wrong and/or second class.  So, if you choose to like feminine things, you’re wrong.  But if you choose to reject them, you’re also wrong.

You noticed a recurring pattern in these columns?  The world REALLY likes to tell girls that no matter what we do, we’re screwed.

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(This column originally appeared on Buzznet.com on January 27, 2012.  It has been reposted here with some changes.)

What do you consider “promiscuous?”

By that, I mean, at what point does a girl go from having a normal amount of sex to being promiscuous?  What number qualifies her for that title?

Guess what: there is no answer to that question.  Oh, there might be a personal definition that differs from person to person, but there’s nothing universal.  Some people might think 10 or more people makes you promiscuous.  Some might think it’s more than 2.  And there’s some people that are going to say if you have sex with anyone before you’re married, you’re promiscuous.

Makes it a little confusing, huh?

So then, why the hell does the world teach us girls to attack each other (and sometimes ourselves) over our perceptions of promiscuity?

I don’t know,  But I know it sucks.

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(This column originally appeared on Buzznet.com on January 13, 2012.  It has been reposted here with some changes.)

Sorry for the lateness of this week’s column, folks.  Was trying to figure out how to approach a topic, then decided to put that topic off for a little while.  And instead I’m going to talk about you.

“But Ashly,” you say, “isn’t this a column about friendship and repairing the social misconceptions about female friendship?”

Yes, it is.

“But Ashly,” you say again, “are you about to tell me that I have to change myself and my likes/interests in order to make friends and become popular?”

Nope.  The goal of this column has nothing to do with getting friends or some ridiculous idea of popularity.  Heck, sometimes it’s not even going to be about actually being FRIENDS with other girls so much as it is going to be about bucking the trend of girls hating girls because they’re girls and fighting against a lot of the institutionalized social ideas we have about being girls.

And guess what?  One of the things involved in that is being friends with yourself.

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(This column originally appeared on Buzznet.com on December 14, 2011.  It has been reposted here with some changes.)

Outwardly, this week’s column is about a sentiment I’ve heard expressed several times, most recently by Kelly Osbourne.

“I still find it tough to be around girls because I always say the wrong thing. If a friend asks me if I look fat in something, I’ll be honest and say “Yeah” when she does.”

So, yes.  On the outside, this column is about shopping.  But it’s also about something much bigger, it’s about communication with our friends and how we use language…and why that’s important to pay attention to in a conversation.

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(This column originally appeared on Buzznet.com on November 30, 2011.  It has been reposted here with some slight changes)

“I don’t want to be friends with other girls, they’re all catty, stuck-up bitches.”

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this or seen it online, I would never need to work another day in my life. It’s a scarily common sentiment with a lot of upsetting ideas.

Maybe it’s ridiculous to assume people need a guide to being friends with each other.  But the more and more I see of what I like to call “Toxic Girl Hate” or girls hating other girls BECAUSE they are girls/because they’re told they shouldn’t want to be friends with other girls, the more I feel like punching something.  The whole idea is pure crap.

So, I figured, hey, maybe the way to fight back against that kind of stuff is to write something a little more positive.  Because, hey, maybe in a world rife with bullying, relationships that occur solely over the Internet and being constantly buried in media, maybe we do need a guide to friendship.

Hence: A Girl’s Guide To Being Friends With Girls.

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et cetera