Before Blake Lively was Serena Vanderwoodsen, the most coveted girl in the Upper East Side, before America Ferrera showed us the true meaning of inner beauty in “Ugly Betty”, before Alexis Bledel’s finale of everyone’s favorite mother-daughter bonding show, “Gilmore Girls”, and before Amber Tamblyn stormed the soap scene playing one of the biggest roles on “General Hospital” the four girls came together In “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” They played starring roles in one of the most important cinematic displays of the power of female friendships.
I might not have known the magnitude of the movie as an 11-year-old when it debuted, nor the priceless importance of having strong female relationships, but upon rewatching the movie as a 21 year old with a little more life experience, I was reminded that there is no greater force to be reckoned with than strong female friendships.
There are many great big screen depictions of female empowerment through the outlet of friendship. We have the classics, “Thelma and Louise”, “Beaches” (A real frickin tear jerker) and “Steel Magnolias”, but for millennials there is such a sense of relatability in the “Sisterhood”.
Rewatching this movie with a few of my personal closest girlfriends I realized just how important this movie really was for female friendships. Through tragic deaths, boy troubles, family drama and more of life’s whirlwinds there was one constant — the girls were always there for each other whether they were experiencing some of life’s biggest blessings or life’s most unfortunate tragedies. There is something distinctly special about the relationships formed between your closest girlfriends.
When the workload heightens, love life crumbles and life’s odds just seem to be against you there is a calming reassurance women find in confiding in their lady friends. Adulthood isn’t easy. As a female, navigating adulthood is especially hard, but with a solid group of girl friends it is manageable.
Upon reflecting on all the relationships I have shared in my life whether they be friendships between males, love interests or female friendships I recognized a particular affinity for the bonds I shared with my best friends that were women.
As social norms change and a large majority of society tends to put marriage and other relationships off, women seek companionship elsewhere — which tends to blossom from friendships we share instead. We are often told romantic relationships are supposed to make us whole, when at my age, more often than not the relationships that ensured more of a sense of completeness were the relationships between my girl friends.
The blast from the past in watching “The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants” sent me into a revelatory thought of the completeness I found in my own personal relationships. Seeing the chemistry between the fictional best friends made me naturally think of the bond I shared with my best friend Lexi, whom I met back in elementary school.
Although Lexi and I had met in our early fundamental school years, it wasn’t until entering adulthood that I really realized how compelling our friendship really was.
My friendship with Lexi was a cultivation of drunken idiocracies, stories with no real punchlines, obscene inside jokes and an innate trivial sense of intimacy that many find in family members or romantic interests. We had at-home Jeopardy battles, shared horror stories of our experiences at the gynecologist and tried to create a shared Spotify playlist to show each other what we were listening to lately even if my music preferences were too folk-inspired for Lexi’s liking. We never held back in sharing our thoughts on politics and asked for advice when we came upon strange intimate interactions. Lexi has always been a constant in my early adult life— cliche but I almost feel like I wasn’t entirely me before my friendship with Lexi blossomed.
It seemed that there were many things in life that depreciated me whether it be piling too much on my plate or my love endeavors that resulted in heartbreak. When in fact, my relationship with Lexi was just the opposite. It provided fulfillment and aided to mold the person I wanted to become. Whenever life became a little pressing I found myself wishing Lexi was always around. Our friendship had a way of simplifying things.
I found comfort and joy in just about all undertakings we took on whether it was working the world’s worst summer job or going out dancing all night. Lexi’s friendship was enriching and dependable. It didn’t require maintenance and just was in its simplest form — fun.
“The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants” reminds me of the relationship I now share with Lexi. Although we do not share a pair of magical pants we are often in very different places on different schedules due to college. But, our friendship isn’t a task. Lexi doesn’t fall short of providing the contentness many would say result from romances or any other of life’s relationships. The same can be said for the rest of my bonds with my female friends. They don’t take second to any other relationships because the bonds women share with their women best friend counterparts is different — it’s special.
The fictitious bond the girls share is genuine. It is real and relatable. The girls are never trying to one up each other or push their own agenda. Whenever trouble calls, they are there for one another. It is a great example for girls to model.
I call upon my women friends whenever I need uplifting. I can rely on them to tell me the truth and act as a moral guidance. They never turn down a glass of wine and tell me how pretty I am when I find myself crying in the bathroom of some shady bar. The women that aggrandize my life give unselfishly and supplement our friendships without asking for much in return. They are empowering and enriching and women should both acknowledge and take more advantage of these genuine bonds.
Alexandra Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.