For a special Galentine’s Day treat I decided to interview three of my best female friends about love, friendship, and feminism. These women are incredibly special to me and would make anyone’s life brighter to have them in it. Also interviewing them was incredibly interesting, I recommend you try asking your friends some of these questions for Galentine’s Day.
Note: I will be answering some of the questions I asked them below (they haven’t seen these answers). I have edited some of their answers for length and clarity. Also they all answered every question but I didn’t include all of their answers because there was some repetition, etc.
What do you think about Galentine’s Day? (And do you celebrate?)
Nora: I’m obsessed with Parks and Rec and Leslie and Anne’s friendship, so I’m definitely on board with Galentine’s Day. I’ve always been pro-“tell-your-friends-you-love-them-as-much-as-possible” so why not dedicate a day to that sentiment??
I think this year I’ll probably celebrate by sending nice messages to friends to tell them I love them.
Rowan: I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated and I won’t be this year either, but I’m all for it! A time for people to celebrate their female friends and celebrate how happy they make each other? What’s not to love!
Raye: I love the idea of setting aside a day to spend time with your best friends and celebrate how much you mean to each other. I’ve never celebrated it before, but I think it would such a fun thing.
How do you feel about Valentine’s Day?
N: I can get behind a holiday that’s all about celebrating love. There are things that I would change about it, like how it usually focuses on one particular type of love and relationship. I say, celebrate how you want (or don’t), no pressure for gifts or anything like that, but go for it if you want a day to be mushy. The world could use more mush.
RO: I don’t think I’ve celebrated Valentine’s day in 6 or so years. Between having a long distance boyfriend for a couple Valentine’s Days and then being single for the others, it hasn’t played much of a part in my life, so I’m rather indifferent on it.
RA: I’ve definitely gone back and forth on Valentine’s Day. I can’t say there haven’t been some years where I get really into it, but there are others where I forget it’s happening at all. It can be such an emotionally dividing thing for people, but I think it’s really best spent if you enjoy it without taking it too seriously.
What has having female friends meant in your life?
N: My friends mean so much to me! Having heart-to-hearts with them is the joy of my life. I think my friendships have been a really important part of how I’ve grown as a person in the past few years.
RO: Having female friends has been fantastic. I find I’m a lot closer to my female friends than my male friends in general because we tend to be a lot more open about everything in our lives, which has lead to really close friendships. I think it’s great having strong women in my life who I look up to and inspire me.
RA: Having strong bonds with my female friends has been such an incredibly important support system in my life. More than family or relationships, it’s always been my friends who I feel the most open with and put the most trust in. I have two guy friends who are best friends, but don’t talk about anything even remotely emotional with each other. That’s totally cool, and everyone has their comfort levels, but I can’t imagine that for myself. I trust so much to my friends and vice versa.
How did we meet?
N: We met in J1000 tutorial, what a day. I sat next to you, and I don’t even remember how it happened but we pretty much were friends instantly. I think we just started talking (you probably initiated it tbh). Next thing I knew I was in your dorm room downloading your Microsoft Word, thanks again for that btw.
RO: We met through a mutual friend in residence at Carleton. The first time we met we were getting ready (aka putting on eyeliner and getting drunk) before going out to the bar/house party- I can’t actually remember where we were going, just what we were doing the first time we met!
RA: In res in first year! You shared your Swedish fish with me and I found my closest ally in that trying experience of a residence.
What’s your favourite thing about me?
N: My favourite thing about you is that you are unconditionally supportive and non-judgemental. I know I can always count on you for words of encouragement and to give me a boost when I need it. What’s more is that you make an effort to check in with me and let me know you care.
RO: You’re so compassionate, resilient, and fun to be around. You care for everyone around you, and you have such a strong drive to reach your goals. (I know this was more than one thing, but I couldn’t narrow it down).
RA: You’re so dedicated in everything you do. To the things you put your mind to, the goals you set for yourself and the people and relationships you invest yourself in. It’s a level of care and input to make the things around you better and get to where you want to be that I can only aspire to, and have always admired.
Lex: Okay so I’m going to tell you my favourite thing about each of these lovely women.
Nora – you are incredibly understanding. No matter what you try to be understanding of other people’s points of view and always approach any issue with love and compassion first. But you also have such strong convictions and are able to become this better person that everyone admires and wishes they could be it’s a strength to hold to those convictions that’s incredibly impressive.
Rowan – you are so driven and intelligent. You are this all around wonderful person who has the whole package. But whenever people meet you they come away with saying the same thing ‘wow Rowan is so smart’. And it’s true, but not only are you smart, you strive and you work hard every day to reach your goals. You are so dedicated. Intelligence can get you to a certain point, the rest of what you’ve achieved (and you’ve achieved so much) is through dedication.
Raye – You are the kindest person I have ever met. I think people use kindness as a generic compliment but you embody it to your very soul. You are so kind to everyone you meet whether they deserve it or not. You’re bright a light to whoever you’re near, people can’t help but be nicer to try and be more like you when you’re around.
What’s an important quality in a friend?
N: I would say that a very important quality is the ability to listen and be empathetic. There doesn’t always have to be brilliant advice attached – in fact sometimes it is better if there isn’t. But knowing that you have people you can spill everything to, and who will not be judgemental, is the best thing.
RO: I think it’s important to be dependable. Whether it’s having your friends know you’re going to follow through when you commit to plans (nobody likes flakey people!), or having your friends know they can call you if they ever need something. Just being someone your friends can rely on is a great quality.
RA: Being present and attentive when you need them to be, and someone you can trust and confide in.
Who is a woman in your life that inspires you and why?
N: I am extremely lucky to be inspired by cool women ALL the time! I’m thinking of my professors (I’m doing my Master’s in Women’s and Gender Studies) and the lovely women in my cohort at school. Their passion and just sheer intelligence baffles me constantly and they are amazing. But sorry, I can’t pick one!!
RA: I’m endlessly inspired by my best friend’s mom. She works hard and she works tirelessly and she never complains. She’s an endlessly open minded, positive spirit to everyone around her and injects that into everything so does. She has the rare and great ability to make everyone around her feel safe and loved and welcome.
Who is a celebrity woman that’s inspiring to you and why?
N: So this is really difficult. Recently I’ve been really inspired by Shailene Woodley, because she uses her platform for good. I’d like to see more of that, she’s awesome.(***Note: Nora later changed her answer to both Michelle Obama and Beyonce without knowing what Rowan and Raye had said).
RO: Michelle Obama – I know she is kind of everyone’s woman crush right now, but she is just a phenomenal, inspirational, well spoken woman (and lawyer, which is particularly inspirational for me right now!)
RA: I’ve always respected Beyoncé (I promise it’s not just because she’s got big news right now) for the way she incorporates her activism into her music and performances, using her platform to get messages across in a way that inspires people and makes an impact.
What advice do you have for your younger self on women’s issues?
N: “Hey – care about these things NOW because you’re going to feel bad about not actually caring about these things until age 19.”
RO: Stand up for everything you believe it. I know it’s scary, but if it’s affecting you, it’s also probably affecting other people. And you’re in as good of a position as anyone to stand up and fight for (not just yourself), but for anyone who is experiencing the things you are. It’s also important to understand how to best utilize your privilege to help effect change.
RA: I remember being maybe 14 or 15 and being one of those people who says “I’m not like other girls, I’d rather hang out with boys most of the time.” I wish I could explain to little me why that’s such a harmful mindset to have, and how bad it was to reinforcing internalized prejudices about girls being lesser, like I would be better for being “one of the boys.” That’s one of the things that still gets to me when I think about it.
What about feminism makes you most passionate? (It’s a diverse issue)
N: This is really hard for me to answer, because going to school to essentially study feminism means that I’m thinking about these issues constantly, and always considering how to make my feminism more intersectional. But I would say that recently I’ve been thinking a lot about the advances made by feminists in regards to the bodily autonomy and reproductive freedoms – especially in light of these things being threatened in the United States right now.
RA: I’ve always felt strongly about bodily autonomy and a woman’s right to choose. This can be quite a broad issue in itself, but I feel strongly about a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body. We have so many people telling us what we should and shouldn’t and aren’t supposed to do with ourselves and why our choices give other people a right to our bodies. This issue for me also extends into the rights, agency and bodily autonomy of trans and gender non-conforming people, and the respect we need to develop as a society (and individually) for their community.
How would you recommend women get involved to help other women?
N: This is a super personal thing, so I would just say to identify an issue that you are passionate about and go from there. I would add that I think that it can’t just be on women to help women – and we need to account for the fact that “women” is an enormous and varied category – so if you are so inclined, get involved with a project, an organization, a march, anything that you feel compelled to lend your voice, or your money, to and do some good wherever you can. Even simply identifying yourself as a person who can be reached out to if someone needs an ear or a hug is a good step. I suppose a suggestion for everyone would try to be to be an advocate in your day-to-day life and speak up when others are being sexist, transphobic, racist, homophobic, ableist, etc., and as much as you are able, don’t be a bystander if someone is making some feel uncomfortable or threatened.
RO: I think the issue that everyone is concerned about right now is the United States Muslim ban. This doesn’t just affect women, but it is still a feminist issue, and it can leave you kind of feeling helpless. But a simple thing anyone can do is send a letter or give their MP a call and tell them why you’re concerned and what you expect your representative to do. It’s difficult when the issue that you want to get involved in is not geographically close to you, so it can be difficult to find ways to feel like you’re helping. But there’s always a way!
RA: I recently went to a burlesque show where all the proceeds were donated to organizations dedicated to ending violence against women. If you’re like me and aren’t sure how to get involved or aren’t necessarily comfortable doing so, even things like attending events in support can be such a great way of participating.
What are you doing now for women? Or what do you want to do to get involved? (No judgement)
N: I donate to a feminist organization that I care about. I have plans to get involved in more active ways, though. I also have grand plans to someday teach on the topic of women and gender – and I’m currently prepping for that obviously! – but we’ll see.
RO: The news has been very depressing lately and I’ve been using this angst to try to be productive in movements: go to rallies, offer solidarity, volunteer with organizations that are understaffed, hang posters, or just listen to someone who is upset. It’s extra important that women identifying folks stick together right and do the best we can to support each other.
Fun question: what are you loving right now?
N: The only thing I consistently watch (other than The Bachelor… for RESEARCH okay??) is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. After a long day of talking about feminist theory, epistemology, phenomenology, pedagogy, and methodologies (HELP), I need something fun and ridiculous. My love for Rachel Bloom and musical theatre is undying, and so I think it’s the perfect show.
RO: 1. Music: anything solange, 24/7
2. Books: Currently reading the Origins of Totalitarianism, which is certainly not a light, easy going book, but it is very interesting and I would definitely recommend it
RA: 1. In the spirit of Beyoncé and her pregnancy, I’ve been listening to “love on top” pretty much obsessively.
2. I also recently got a new perfume by Atelier called citron d’erable and I’m super obsessed with it. All their perfumes are pretty, fruity bright scents and you can buy them in travel size bottles which is so
How are you spending Galentine’s Day? Will you be celebrating it? And if you have suggestions for how to put your money (or hard work) where your mouth is in terms of getting involved in women’s organizations or charities I’d love to hear them in the comments below!
I’m out of the country currently but don’t worry there will be posts all week, make sure you don’t miss any, or any fun posts of my adventures over on my social media.