April 29, 2022 | LIFE | By Carlee Castillo | Illustration by Sierra Romero

It is ingrained in young women to reject femininity. Pink is weak. Frills are laughable. Boy-bands and celebrity crushes are trivial. 

It is ingrained in young women, even, to detest other girls. “You’re different than most girls” and “You’re not like other girls” and “She’s one of the boys” are intended as compliments. Camaraderie between women is mocked and discouraged.

However, my female-identifying friendships have always been the most fulfilling. Some of my fondest memories include braiding a childhood friend’s hair and messily painting nails on the kitchen counter. The women I surround myself with inject my life with fun and whimsy. They make me a better person.

My first best friend was my mom. She let me wear princess dresses and tiaras into stores until late childhood. She never made me feel ashamed. Most importantly, she taught me that strength and femininity are synonymous. She remains the strongest woman I know.

One friendship began at a dance studio. Our relationship is tinted pink like pointe shoe ribbons and sparkles like a final spritz of pre-show glitter hairspray. Her laugh sounds like the melodic violins of Sleeping Beauty. She makes me feel light and safe.

Another kinship started at The Preserve. We bonded over a shared enthusiastic adoration for Harry Styles. Our friendship is sweet like strawberries and a communal bag of Nerds Gummy Clusters. She makes me feel reassured and brave.

Spending time with my female-identifying friends is always healing and jovial. If you wish to experience the same joy, here’s a potential itinerary for a girly night-in…

  1. (Recipe) Bake a heart shaped cake in tribute to your favorite artist…
    1. Preheat oven to 350 °F.
    1. Pour some Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Cake Mix into a medium mixing bowl.
    1. Crack and add three eggs.
    1. Pour in one cup of water and ½ cup vegetable oil.
    1. Whisk vigorously until completely blended.
    1. Grease a 8” heart-shaped pan and pour your mixture in.
    1. Let bake for 30-35 minutes.
    1. Decorate however you see fit!
  • Karaoke
    • Before He Cheats –– Carrie Underwood
    • You Belong With Me (Taylor’s Version) ­­–– Taylor Swift
    • Who Says –– Selena Gomez
    • Driver’s License –– Olivia Rodrigo
    • Nobody’s Perfect –– Hannah Montana
  • Watch your favorite romantic comedy…
    • 13 Going on 30
    • The Wedding Planner
    • 10 Things I Hate About You

In a world that falsely pits women against each other, female friendship is vital. Next time someone tells you you’re “not like other girls,” discard it as an insult rather than a compliment.

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