I’ve talked about feminism on my blog before and I’ve spoken briefly in a previous blog post about how special and important I think female friendships are but I was thinking about this today and I think it deserves it’s own post.
Women are amazing. I say this as a women and I don’t care if people are like “well duh Steph of course you think women are amazing you ARE one lol I bet you think all Stephs are amazing too” and my answer would be “duh idiot.” But clearly this hypothetical dummy is kind of correct. Sure I’m biased but that doesn’t mean that I hate men or I hate anyone who isn’t named Stephanie. Although don’t test me on that second one. On the contrary I love men, everything about them. So just putting that on the table because I know that’s an issue for people. I live in a community where women are not necessarily put first, or second or third sometimes. Where women who are raped have to sit down with the person who raped them during their police report filing or have police officers make jokes that of course she was raped look at how beautiful she is! Or that it’s so shameful she shouldn’t even be reporting it or if her husband hits her she should just call the police back when he tries to kill her. A society where women work every single day of their lives. Working to raise all the children, cook, clean and sometimes they are even working both a job and in the fields but they are not the priority. But that is their life and this is the life that they know. I have a Gender Equality Club and I sit down with my female students (and sometimes male) and we sometimes talk about the conflicting Gender Roles and Issues that surround them and I’m amazed by the thoughtful and truly connected young women I work with. I go home to a host mother who works so hard every day but still wants to sit down with just me and hear about my day while we drink tea and ask about my friends and my grant. Because women are amazing.
This post isn’t to talk about women in KG or what I think about the culture because that’s not my place or my job to speak about that. (Although I will stand by the women in my life here until the end of my service and beyond that.) But to focus on something that has always driven me crazy and something that I can never understand. The issue that women have with other women. I have a very tight group of friends here in PC and I am thankful for them every single day. They are strong, insightful, active, fun and stand up for what they believe in. And they’re supportive. My friends know about my projects and I know about theirs and what they’re doing at site and I take any chance I can to brag about it. I think I told everyone we met in Spain that Steph brought clean water to her village. BECAUSE SHE DID AND SHE’S AMAZING. Cassie, Michelle and I have on MULTIPLE occasions been made fun of because we’re best friends and like why? Because Cassie and I used to go to Michelle’s cheer practices to support her? Because we know what each other is doing LITERALLY at every second? Because I know their exact drink orders and I don’t just mean at a bar I mean their bar order, their coffee order, their hung over order I’ve got it all baby. Because we support each other? This is my Tully girls this has always been like this. So why when these strong female friend groups exist are we suddenly bitches? Or why are we seem as less because we want to hang out with each other? And who was the first person to say the sentence “I just don’t get along with girls” because I want to slap that person. Because you know what? You’re the problem in that scenario. I have always felt sad for the women who feel they don’t connect with women because let me tell you, you’re missing out on the good stuff. And I want to sit and hear why like truly why. Not because women cause “drama” because that’s not true but to really get it. I don’t want to judge these women I want to support them but I can’t do that if I hear that sentence. This is something that I truly contribute a large portion of my happiness to when it comes to my service is this group of women. I feel support from my girls in country and my ladies holding it down at home. And this is coming from someone with not one but two MALE best friends in county. And I wouldn’t get rid of those two angels if my life depended on it. And one of them the other day said to me “I wish I had Turkeys” (my friend group we call ourselves the Turkeys which is a silly story) and then I was like no babe you DO you have us like hello you have Turkeys and he says “well I do and I don’t. I feel like the Charlie and you guys are Charlie’s Angels, I’m part of the group but I’m really not like I stay home while you go have adventures but you report back to me at the end.” And this isn’t the first conversation I’ve had in the last week about female friendships and not necessarily close friendships but friendships in general.
Women naturally have each others backs and that is what makes us amazing. Travel in KG consists of marshrutkas which are like small buses closer to vans, taxis and sometimes trolleys if you live in Bish. When talking about bad marsh rides we’ve had lately the other day with two of my favorite people one of my friends had a question about women on marshs. He was saying that he always feels bad when there’s a lot of men on a marsh and there’s some empty seats but if a woman gets on she doesn’t sit down she stands and he didn’t understand that, like why wouldn’t she just sit down next to him? So we explained how as women if another woman gets on the marsh and we have an empty seat next to us we know she will sit with us above another seat because she would rather sit with another woman. It’s solidarity. If she sits with a man he might try to touch her or he might try to make a move of any kind, which is common. This distressed him a little, like why wouldn’t she feel safe sitting next to him? Because you my friend are a man too. And it all clicked. He of course would never harm a woman, quite on the contrary he’s one of the best guys I know and a feminist but he’s still a man. Unfortunately in this community women have to be on our toes on transportation. Things happen and we know our safest place is with another woman. So even with strangers this friendship, this bond of women. Natural, no question no thought just a natural move. Girls see a drunk girl talking to a man at a bar and walk up to her and ask if she’s ok or make up a fake story about needing to talk to her because that’s what girls do. We look out. Some of my favorite conversations are the ones you make with bathroom best friends. Bathroom best friends are the girls who you meet when you’re drunk in a bathroom and you’re immediate best friends. They tell you how pretty you are, you vent about how you’re mad at the boy you’re talking to and then they braid your hair (a literal true story). One situation I’ve had is I got on a marsh with two large packages so this drunk man very nicely gave me his seat and then proceeded to try and talk to me in Russian even though I told him I didn’t speak any. The woman sitting next to me in Kyrgyz says, “he wants you to be his wife” and I looked at her surprised and she smiled and me and I just said “no” and she says “ok” and turns to her husband and says something and her husband gets him off the marsh. Just like that. They just happen.
So where does this hate towards female friend groups come from? Now granted I’ll give Taylor Swift some credit I think that she puts a good image forward of solid and strong female friendships and I feel like she’s making it “cool” again to have female friends. But why was it ever uncool? Did I miss a trend? Because I’m not down with that at ALL. Some people criticize that she uses them as publicity and she’s to “show offy” with these friendships but like can a girl live? So NOW that she has female friendships and she shows them off it’s too much? But before when she was dating and hanging with boys that was too “slutty” of her? She supports women and female friendships but like yikes can she not? NO. LET HER. I want women to do whatever they want. I support angry women, I support quiet women that use their voices in different ways, I support women who stay virgins until they’re married, women who sleep with someone new each weekend, women who wear burkas and women who wear crop tops and minis like work it out bitch I love it. So why as women can’t we support each other? If we can pick and choose the women we want to support like oh I’m a feminist but I only support this KIND of women, isn’t that counterproductive? Women aren’t a mold. And I promise you even if I don’t like you as a human like to your core, I’ll support you as a woman. I got your back girl even if you aren’t my jam the rest of the time. And does this contradict what I said about my issue with women who say “I don’t get along with other women” yeah sure it does but I would hope that as women reading this you would understand what I’m trying to talk about and stills support me.
This is something that I’ve noticed as of late and you know what I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know if it’ll ever stop or if this will always drive me crazy but I want you to think before you say the sentence “I just don’t get along with other women” because I promise you’re missing out and if you want me to braid your hair in a bar bathroom to show you what it’s like just holler at a bitch and I’ll hook you up. This is the good stuff I promise.