By Alyson McAdams
“Among the largely unacknowledged truths of female life is that women’s primary, foundational, formative relationships are as likely to be with each other as they are with the men we’ve been told since childhood are supposed to complete us.” - Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies
I recently finished reading All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister--and I cannot recommend it enough. It had all my brain gears turning FAST as she unpacked the history of feminism, the role and burden of the single woman throughout history, and where the current rise in single women in America is leading us--socially, economically, and politically.
The chapter “Dangerous as Lucifer Matches: The Friendships of Women” struck me. I feel so grateful for the many strong female friendships I have in my life, relationships that offer me infinite emotional support and make me a better person. The chapter made me think about WiHL as a space that we can form these deep, connecting relationships with other women, all as we challenge each other to reach our goals and act as a source of support.
Unfortunately, we are often fed a rhetoric of women competing with one another--for partners, jobs, leadership opportunities. This creates a culture in which we are threatened by other successful, ambitious women and close ourselves off to them before we can learn from each other.
“Historically, women have pushed each other into, and supported each other within, intellectual and public realms to which men rarely extended invitations, let alone any promise of equality.” - Rebecca Traister, All the Single Ladies
Meet “Shine Theory”: Shine Theory is the creation of Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow (both powerful shining women in their own right and co-hosts of the podcast “Call Your Girlfriend” (highest recommendation, part 2)). Their theory says, if you see a woman who is cool, confident, successful, and your initial reaction is intimidation? Befriend her. Surround yourself with these ambitious women because you aim to be one. Because you can learn from them. Because you can teach them--because they may have been intimidated by you.
I hope that WiHL can serve as a place where we can connect, inspire, and push each other to shine our brightest. To bring together some fiercely ambitious people and feel the energy and potential, not the competition.
Find more on Shine Theory here and here, website for “Call Your Girlfriend” here, and All the Single Ladies here and HERE!
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