‘Tis the season for celebrating female friendships



Amy Poehler arrives at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.

By Jessie Webster, Columnist

Though it’s only six weeks old, 2017 is clearly the year of women. Whether it’s by protesting for the rights to their bodies or slowly closing the gender pay gap, women are making their voices heard in ways previously unmatched for several generations.

It’s ironic, however, that such progress is coming in the midst of one of the most gendered times of the year.

During the winter months, there exists a tired and outdated narrative suggesting that women, regardless of sexual orientation, must be partnered up with a lover for the holidays.

After all, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” wouldn’t be as romantic if it was about socks and sweaters, would it?

Without question, the most gendered holiday of them all is Valentine’s Day. It’s a day entirely constructed around the premise that women who have found a man are winning at life, while the rest of us single ladies will never truly be complete until we follow suit.

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    Enter Leslie Knope, the unfailingly earnest and optimistic bureaucrat on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” here to save the day with perhaps the show’s greatest concept: Galentine’s Day.

    Played by Amy Poehler, Knope explains, “Every Feb. 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”

    While breakfast foods are irrefutably amazing, with respect to Leslie Knope, I’d like to add a few additions to make for an even more successful holiday.

    First, forget celebrating on Feb. 13; Galentine’s Day should replace Valentine’s Day entirely.

    A crucial aspect of being in a relationship is celebrating the love you share with your partner all the time, not on one specific, commercially conceived day. Many  couples I know have their own Valentine’s Day celebration on a day other than Feb. 14 in an effort to add some authenticity to what is otherwise a made up concept.

    Female friendships, on the other hand, need special attention. Society takes a perverse satisfaction in pitting women against each other — often for the love of a man — just to watch them viciously tear each other down.

    If women should take the time to celebrate anything, it should be about fostering an environment of love for themselves and their friendships with others, rather than for the thrills of a romantic relationship.

    For its part, the appeal of Galentine’s Day appears to be growing. According to a February 2017 article from Independent, data from Pinterest reveals that searches for “Galentine’s Day Ideas” have seen a 1780 percent year-to-year increase since the term was first coined in 2010.

    Furthermore, a February 2017 article from the New York Post found that consumers will spend $136.57 on average for crushes or significant others this year, down seven percent from last year.

    None of these observations are made to unfairly vilify those who are in happy and healthy relationships, or to minimize the positive impact that a significant other can have in the life of an individual.

    Still, one of the troublesome stereotypes associated with women gathering to celebrate women is that it is often seen as nothing more than a group of bitter, single ladies who resent happiness in others. That’s not fair either.

    Whether it’s on Feb. 14 or not, take some time during this season of love to celebrate the female friendships in your life. Especially if breakfast foods are involved.

    Jessie is a senior in Media.

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