Female friendships portrayed on television are nothing new. I grew up watching Kimberly and Trini on Power Rangers to Phoebe, Rachel, and Monica on Friends. They embodied a friendship I wished to have when I eventually grew up. But with the struggle of many shows even meeting the Bechdel test, female friendships haven’t always been at the forefront of storytelling. Lately, however, there’s been much more focus on positive female friendships as seen on HBO’s Insecure or Freeform’s The Bold Type! Maybe it’s because of my age or maybe it’s because I grew up watching so many disgruntled teen angst shows, but when I see these type of friendships on television, it makes me so happy with how shows are being written today.
If you skim through at least one episode of either of the shows previously mentioned, you start to realize you can actually see yourself in their positions. The friendships portrayed on television now don’t seem completely fake. It feels more like certain characters are right there in your living room talking straight to you. That’s because the scenarios between these friendships are something real, something you can connect with. It’s exactly how you would deal with real-life situations: call your BFF, rant, drink wine, do completely random things together, call each other out on your BS, etc.
The best thing of all? Majority TV friendships no longer pit women against each other, but rather help build character in one another. This is no longer Gossip Girl living on the Upper Eastside. As much as we all love to live in that glamorous lifestyle, that life is fictional and so are storylines where women go behind one another’s back every other episode. It makes for great TV but realistically, those situations may not happen as often in the lives of the audience.
I want to see episodes where I’m clapping along like, “Yes! That’s exactly what I would do with my friend. Call her out when she’s messing up!” In the season finale of Insecure, and throughout the whole series, Issa and Molly on Insecure have been my OTPB = One True Pairing of Besties. They have their fights, their moments when they need some real advice, or moments where you just need someone by your side when you’re about to do something stupid. The first time I heard Issa call Molly “Biiiiiiitch!” in a supportive way, not the cat-fighting way, I felt that. It was as natural as me saying the same thing to my friend. It was relatable. And on The Bold Type, Jane, Sutton, and Kat always went to each other for support and, even though they don’t always agree, they are always there for each other regardless.
I need to see women fighting to help each other, not getting into a fight because someone stole another’s man/woman. Again, these things can make a greatly dramatic storyline but they’re one and done. And to be quite frank, watching shows reinforcing positive relationships while growing up probably would have changed my perspective on the idea of fostering friendships with other girls.
I used to be terrified of approaching any girl when I was younger thinking it could go one way or another. I grew up on television and it reflected in my day-to-day life. There’s a new girl in school? Rumors already spread like wildfire. Ms. Popular? She sleeps with everyone. Let’s be honest, television shows paved the way for these stereotypes so I’m glad to see a steady shift towards a more positive direction.