August 1 2013
Who knew? August 1 is National Girlfriends' Day.
Every day is a good occasion to celebrate the women in our lives. I'm thrilled to have so many girlfriends who can share in the fun times of my life, and support me in the not-so-fun. An important lesson most women (and men) learn during adolescence is the importance of good, loyal friends. While we at IWF often stress the importance of interdependence within families, this principle is also true among friends and neighbors living in community with one another.
All friendships are important, and we are fortunate to live in a society where men and women can interact with each other with relatively little restriction or conflict. But there is something significant about same-sex friendships and friend groups.
Women-only spaces are sadly declining in the U.S. There used to be more than 200 women's colleges; now there are fewer than 50. Single-sex education, the topic of an upcoming IWF debate event, has been demonized as harmful and backward, despite some of its positive results on education for boys and girls. I was seriously bummed in college to find so few female-only dorms offered on my campus.
Just as important as girlfriend-ships are male-to-male friendships. While it's tempting to charactature groups of guys as immature "bros," some productive and supportive all-male civic organizations were once a central feature of American life. Dr. Helen Smith writes about this in her new book, "Men on Strike." Men, like women, benefit from being around just members of their sex from time to time.
Our society, led by left-leaning feminists, seems to be retreating from the common-sense understanding that men and women are naturally different. Our differences are beautiful, and add to the diversity of human life. We should celebrate these differences and enjoy all that life has to offer in terms of relationships with men and women. I celebrate my friendships with other women, today and everyday, because I know they are unique and different from friendships I might share with men. Both are life-enriching, but I'm glad we have at least one faux-holiday to spotlight girlfriends.