Over the years there have been multiple pop cultural references, archaic comments, ‘innocent’ jokes and tabloid stories that have perpetuated the belief that women can’t be friends. In reality, nothing is farther from the truth.
Because just like men, women can be great friends. And these examples of female friendships prove that women have always been confidantes and soul sisters for each other, standing through thick and thin:
1. Helen Keller and Ann Sullivan
Helen Keller was only 19 months old when she lost her eyesight and hearing due to an illness. 20-year-old Ann Sullivan was hired to be her teacher. And the two formed a union that perfectly depicts what everlasting friendship and honest mentor-mentee relationships look like. Helen Keller’s success – of being the first blind and deaf college graduate in America – is an example of not only Sullivan’s prowess as a teacher but also a testament to the warmth of their friendship.
2. Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield
Two of the earliest feminist writers, both Woolf and Mansfield gifted us some of the finest products of English literature. The duo also served as an example of a professional friendship that was colored by strains of both, competitive jealousy and mutual admiration. The very first book that Woolf published through the publishing house she set up with her husband was Mansfield’s. And over the years, the two remained each other’s harshest critic and also, greatest admirers.
3. Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King
In their early 20s, Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were working at a TV station as an anchor and a production assistant respectively. And that job was the start of a glorious career for them individually, and an even more spectacular friendship. Despite diverse upbringings, the two bonded over their experiences of racism and shared dreams. And today, the two continue to take pride in their heritage and serve friendships goals with funny moments, amazing trips, and unparallel support.
4. Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert
Theirs is one of the biggest rivalries on-court and the strongest friendships off-court. Both Evert and Navratilova were ‘charismatic giants‘ on the court, who played 80 matches, including 60 finals, against each other. And yet, the respect and admiration that the two shared was just as great, if not better, than the matches they played. From traveling for tournaments together to standing in support for each other and being especially kind in the face of losses (professional or personal), Evert and Navratilova’s friendship is legendary.
5. Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts
For 35 years, actors Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts have maintained the kind of relationship that redefines friendship goals. The two were school mates and theater companions before they become friends on the movie set of Flirting (in 1991). Since then, the two have been each other’s Oscars’ date, celebrated birthdays together, talked about each other during solo interviews and absolutely squashed the idea that female actors can’t be friends.
6. Jennifer Anniston and Courtney Cox
Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston have given us the kind of friendship goals that even Monica and Rachel would have a tough time beating. The show may have ended 15 years ago, but the friendship that Courtney and Jennifer share has lasted for over two decades, and is still going strong. From being each other’s shoulder to cry on during tough times to becoming godmothers, Courtney and Jennifer have always been friends first and competitors later.
7. Marilyn Monroe And Ella Fitzgerald
It is a rare kind of friendship that lasts even after death. Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald had that kind of rare, everlasting, beautiful friendship. For Marilyn, Ella was one of her favorite person and singers. For Ella, Marilyn’s support was the ground on which her career took off. Marilyn was the more popular of the two when Ella started and actually used her status to help launch Ella’s career, by fighting prejudice. The two also bonded over a shared history of familial abuse and failed marriages, and even after Marilyn’s death, Ella never forgot the role she played in her life.
8. Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams
Stark sisters on-screen and soul sisters off-screen, Sophie and Maisie have the kind of friendship that can melt even Cersei’s heart (if she had one, that is). The two hit it off from the first time they met on set, and in the ten years since, have been each other’s 3 AM call, party partner, and future bridesmaids – and also have their personal hashtag #Mophie.
9. Jane Austen and Anne Sharp
Jane Austen is till date regarded as one of the finest English authors, and many of her novels have been converted into movies and series. However, what many people may not know of, is her friendship with her niece’s governess Anne Sharp, who also inspired several of her characters. Austen often talked fondly of her friend in her letters to her sister Cassandra and even exchanged letters with Anne directly. In fact, one of the first editions of her novel Emma was a gift for Anne. And when Jane Austen died, her sister shared small tokens with Anne Sharp, as a memento of their friendship.
10. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are no short of ‘comedic royalty‘. They also have a friendship that spans over 20 years. It was at Chicago’s ImprovOlympic that the two first became friends. Since then, they’ve hosted shows together, planned their children’s future marriages, given cameo appearances in each other’s shows, and created awesome nicknames. But most importantly these two comedic geniuses have proved that every friendship needs a healthy dose of laughter and long-lasting support.
What these examples prove is that contrary to ‘pop culture’ references, women can be amazing friends, soul sisters, and indomitable support systems. And it’s high time that we stop believing in a fake perpetuated idea, and start believing in our real lifesavers, our girlfriends.