Hollywood gets a lot wrong when it comes to women. It’s disappointing yet unsurprising that largely male production teams have no idea how women interact with each other. When movies and TV shows are centred around male interactions, women are reduced to plot points rather than developed characters. Portrayals of women interacting with other women are often disastrously (and hilariously) wrong or simply absent.
But occasionally, there’s a gem. A true representation of female friendship among the bickering, one-dimensional caricatures that dominate our screen. If I was going to take notes on how to be a good friend, I’d use the following characters as role models.
(Fun fact: all of these empowering, accurate, on screen friendships were written by women. Go figure.)
Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary – Hidden Figures
Supporting each other through serious adversity? Check. Helping each other to advance their careers? Check. Giving unconditional love, support, and laughter to your friends? Check. The main characters in Hidden Figures are based on real women, and it shows. These friendships are dynamic and layered, with moments of pain and inspiration that are overcome with support. Watching these women reach amazing heights with the help of their friends will have you reaching for your phone to set up a catch up with your own best friends.
The New Ghostbusters – Ghostbusters
There’s debate around whether the new, all-female Ghostbusters was a good movie or not. But if it got one thing right, it was the characters. The new Ghostbusters team are a bunch of kickass, female friends who know each other’s strengths and literally have each other’s’ backs. An action movie about a squad of female ghost fighters is pretty revolutionary, and the fact that it got female friendship right only adds to the appeal.
Elle and Paulette – Legally Blonde
Legally Blonde is the ultimate chick flick, but Elle and Paulette’s friendship is what makes the movie loveable. From the beginning of an emotional conversation in Paulette’s beauty parlour to Elle’s graduation from law school, this friendship defies age gaps and differences. When the friendship plotline is way more memorable than the romance, you know the film got it right.
Taystee and Poussey – Orange is the New Black
A show set in all-female prison has a lot of opportunities for female friendships. But Taystee and Poussey’s friendship gets the number one spot for its many intense layers, depicting how women support each other through hard situations. Orange is the New Black is a pressure-cooker of emotions, but these characters show that despite difficulties, true friends help each other deal with stress and talk about emotions.
Ann and Leslie – Parks and Recreation
This friendship should be the gold standard for female friendships on screen. For a real depiction of two characters who fight, forgive, and support each other unconditionally, Parks and Recreation manages to hit the nail on the head for seven seasons in a row. The show that brought us ‘Galentines Day’ definitely knows how to show a heart-warming female friendship.
While it will look different for everyone, the essence of female friendship is doing what you can to uplift the women in your life. Not everyone has time to compile a personalised binder of notes on presents for each of their friends, but there are other ways to show your appreciation. Support the amazing women around you; it’s what Leslie Knope would want.Support Villainesse