Female Friendships In The Age of Trump
I have always been surrounded by women. I grew up with three older sisters, a very present mother and grandmother, countless female cousins who were some of my first friends, and many, many female friends. I have always had more girlfriends than guy friends. All of these women have helped shape the woman that I have become today. Through countless sleepovers and late night pillow talks, my childhood was built by women. Female friendship is something that I have always been fortunate to have, and I have always valued it as one of the most important things in my life. However, as I’ve graduated college and grown into a mid-twenty-something woman, the slumber parties and late night confessionals that dominated my early childhood have evolved. I now live in a world where I meet my girlfriends for a drink, where we talk about work and how small our apartments are, that funny thing our roommate did, or that inappropriate thing a coworker said to us. Our topics of discussion became more serious—we talk about things like sexism, racism, how we are going to pay our bills this month, and of course, Donald F’ing Trump.
I cannot begin to quantify the amount of waking hours my brain has spent thinking about Trump, or the number of conversations I have had about him; there are too many to count. In between talking about the latest episode of Jane the Virgin, or getting the name of a lipstick brand my friend is wearing, my conversations with my female friends turn to politics most of the time. In between bites of dinner, we’ll talk about the latest bullshit going on in this administration (it’s easy to get on this topic since the bullshit appears to be endless at this point). Before now, this college-educated white girl would have talked about these issues, but wouldn’t really do all that much to actively fight anything that was going on. I would call myself a feminist, an ally of any underrepresented minority group, and more than likely would have just posted a status on Facebook, but now, when I have to wake up every day in a Donald Trump world, talk is not enough.
This isn’t just a change I’ve witnessed in myself, but in countless women I personally know and many others that I don’t know. In April, DailyAction.org, an online platform that streamlines the process of contacting your representative about a particular issue, polled their users and found that 86% of the people making calls to members of Congress were women. On January 21st, women took to the streets in D.C. and beyond to march. I was one of them. I saw plenty of men, but the majority of people I saw were women just like me putting their feet to action and marching against this administration. Facebook is full of groups dedicated to coordinated resistance, coordinated calls to members of Congress, and commiseration over what was lost on that November day and what can be done now. I have found great comfort in knowing I am not alone and hearing from diverse groups of women who are passionate about politics and activism. Since January, a resistance has risen up, led in part by the organizers of the Women’s March, and joined by millions of women across the United States who are saying “enough is enough."
It was at the Women’s March in D.C, which I attended with two of my sisters and a group of friends, that I finally felt like I could play a small part in changing the world, along with 500,000 of my newfound friends who were marching, chanting, and yelling alongside me. It was in going to the rally at the Atlanta airport after the first Travel Ban that I found strength in standing up for what I believe in. It was canvassing for congressional candidate Jon Ossoff with my sister in the district I grew up in that I felt empowered to participate in election process in a more active way; I wasn’t just donating my $5 or going to a voting booth, but knocking on doors for a few hours and hoping and praying that one door would make a difference. Being around women, whether my sisters or my friends or complete strangers, has given me the strength to speak out when I see something wrong, to be bold in my activism and to not just be a social media social justice warrior.
My female friendships remain one of the most important aspects of my life. The women in my life uplift me. They help me feel better after a bad day at work, give me a laugh when I am feeling down, allow me to have intelligent and lively conversations about pop culture, love lives, and politics. My female friendships have spurred me on to be the boldest, baddest, most vocal activist I can be, and helped me see that there is still work to be done. My female friendships have given me built-in buddies to attend rallies with, to call representatives with, to canvass and phone bank with, because with my female friends I am never alone in a post-Trump world. So, while I still love kicking back and watching a mindless episode of America’s Next Top Model with my girls, I have come to further appreciate the friends who are willing to go deeper. And when I feel like the world is caving in, like everything is falling apart and progress is impossible, I simply call up one of my girlfriends and say “Can we talk about Trump…”