My best friend, Anju, has been out of the country for the past couple of months, and I've had limited phone/internet time with her. It's been rough, because, well, she's my best friend--the one I'm used to talking to at least once a day about any and everything--without judgment.
Both of us identify as feminists. So, does this mean we have an inherently "feminist" friendship? Or must other things be added to qualify as a feminist friendship?
My definition, or idea of a feminist friendship, entails that both parties identify as feminists. From here, or so I've noticed in my own feminist friendships, all experiences are discussed and analyzed through a feminist lens, whether we're talking about women in the work place, or shopping. All of our conversations evoke some gradient of feminist discourse.
When I interviewed Anju for my "Friday Feminist Profiles" column, I asked her about her feminist beliefs, and how it has helped her. She stated:
...feminism has given me an opportunity to define what I believe in the context of others, allowing me to find a supportive network, I guess I would call it, that encourages me and affirms my thoughts, ideas and perspectives on being a woman.
Support, affirmation, encouragement--all immensely important in any friendship, but I find these qualities significant and constant in my feminist friendships. As I think about it now, most, if not all, of my friendships are feminist ones--this includes: male-female and female-female. In my not-so-feminist friendships, feminism is still at the root of my thinking and analyzing, since it is such an important identification for me that I can't simply disconnect from it. The other person may not be a self-professed feminist, but how I talk to them and the words I choose to say all come from a (my) feminist identity. In this way, the friendship, unbeknownst to the other person, may be forming into a feminist one...
...And in the words of the lovely Spice Girls, "Friendship never ends."