5 Famous Female Friendships to Challenge the ‘Mean Girls’ Stereotype

Let’s face it, women often get a bad reputation when it comes to camaraderie. They are labeled as “back-stabbing,” “catty,” “mean girls,” and of course a slew of curse words. Are women cruel and manipulative by nature? Are they somehow taught or socialized to feel desperately competitive, in a sort of “every woman for herself” dystopia? Many girls experience debilitating bullying from female peers, but that’s not to say this is the only way girls know how to interact. In fact, there are countless examples of strong and lasting female friendships throughout history (not to mention the everyday examples of bonding and support to which many women can attest.)

Here are 5 of the sweetest, most influential female friendships in history:

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1. Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald – Monroe reportedly called the owner of popular Hollywood nightclub Mocambo when she heard he had refused to book Fitzgerald from racial prejudice. Monroe personally sat in the front seat for every night of Fitzgerald’s show, just to prove her loyalty and solidarity with a woman who had been such an influence on her own early career.

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2. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton – These powerful ladies were drivers of the women’s suffrage movement of the late 19th century. Stanton mostly wrote, while Anthony handled business affairs. Together they also published a women’s newspaper, called Revolution.

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3. Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King - These powerful, longtime pals have been friends for over 30 years, and their friendship has withstood the tests of fame, fortune, and time.

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4. Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler – These hilarious friends often work as partners and are hailed as pioneers in women’s comedy. It’s a good thing they get along so well, for the sake of comedy-watchers everywhere.

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5. Hillary Clinton and Susie Tompkins Buell – Not only are these women close friends, but Buell even managed fundraising efforts in the Bay Area for Clinton’s campaign in 2008.

It is heartening to remember that the negative picture of women as backstabbers and bullies is nothing more than a caricature – one that does sometimes play out in reality, but that is by no means the norm.

 

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Photo credit: Library of Congress

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Photo credit: Alex Brandon/Associated Press

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