A year ago, I celebrated International Women’s Day by starting this blog. I started the blog partially to be a platform of discussion for 3rd wave feminists in the city but mostly just to be an outlet for my feminist “rants” that were getting too lengthy for the 420 character limit of Facebook. But really looking back I think I was looking for a community.
Today my “sister friend”, a term we created to define a friendship in which one is comfortable talking to the other while using the restroom, sent me a chain message I had received twice before. This International Women’s Day, the message hit home.
The chain email, called “They Teach it at Stanford,” is about the connection between relationships and health. It boils down to this: “one of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman, whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends.”
We know our girlfriends, moms and sisters are important, we know we feel better after exhaustively talking about life over a bottle of wine and now we know why.
“Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life experiences. Physically this “quality girlfriend time” helps us [women] to create more serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can create a general feeling of well being…We [women] share from our souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health…Failure to create and maintain quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our physical health as smoking.”
As for men, right or wrong, women tend to be the givers, the listeners and the comforters in a relationship; we are conditioned that way. Men benefit from the comforting nature of women in a relationship. But women need that sense of support and community as well; they need their sister-friends.
I have no idea if this email is really about a lecturer at Stanford or even really if it is total bullshit. But I know that since there have been men, there have been groups of women talking about men, and in the process becoming better, healthier and more well-adjusted women. I know that female friendships are not only a blessing but also a requirement for a stable existence.
I have always been blessed in my life to be surrounded by the most beautiful and supportive women. And over the past year, I have realized that these amazing women are more than just friends, they are even more than sister-friends, they are my community and they are my home.
This International Women’s Day I am choosing not to focus on the continuing struggle of equality for women around the world- there are many fights still to be fought and, honestly, they can be exhausting. Instead today I just want to say thank you to all the women in my life, who have picked up my crying 3 a.m. calls, helped me edit term papers 2 hours before the deadline, laughed with me at Will Ferrell movies, listened to my rants, and who have loved me better than I could love myself. Thank you for being my home.