The Power of Female Friendships

Female FriendshipsAs women, our friendships sustain us.  They are the foundations on which we build our lives and they are where we turn when it comes to celebrating our successes and overcoming our challenges.

There is always power when women come together (think Generation W, Generation WOW and Generation WORKS) and the power of female friendships can sometimes seem like a true force of nature.  Today, as we celebrate National Best Friend Day, we are giving thanks to some of the female relationships we admire most via a post from Bustle.  You may be surprised at some of these unlikely duos (Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe?) and will be inspired to give thanks for the female friends you have in your life.

We are thankful for friendships that…

Support Us:  Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald
Due to segregation and racism, the Mocambo in Hollywood was unsure if Ella Fitzgerald would draw crowds.  Monroe promised to book a front row table every night if they gave Fitzgerald the job.  “After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again,” said Fitzgerald.  “She was an unusual woman — and ahead of her time, and she didn’t know it.”


Heal Us:  Elizabeth I and Mary Dudley
Mary Dudley nursed Elizabeth through a deadly battle with smallpox.  While Elizabeth recovered and went on to rule, Mary’s face was left scarred forever.  When Mary left Elizabeth’s court in 1579 she was still her closest friend.


Challenge Us: Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert
Although rivals on the tennis court, they were such good friends that after many finals they would travel to their next tournament together.  They call each other in the middle of the night to talk, go on double dates and Navratilova even introduced Evert to her second husband.


Build Us:  Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King
Gayle has been Oprah’s closest confident since they first met in 1976.  She has been an integral part of Oprah’s empire–including the editor of O Magazine and often appearing as a special correspondent for the Oprah Winfrey Show. 


Encourage Us:  Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
This duo campaigned for women’s rights by playing off each other’s strengths–Anthony, who wasn’t married, would travel around the country while Stanton, an excellent writer, would write her speeches.  “No power in heaven, hell or earth can separate us, for our hearts are eternally wedded together,” Stanton once wrote to Anthony.


Inspire Us:  Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva
Two Russian poets who became pen pals before the 1917 Revolution and witnessed the horrors of Stalinism, Akhmatova and Tsvetaeva admired each other’s work so much that Tsvetaeva often dedicated poems to Akhmatova, which the poet would carry in her handbag until they fall apart.  They never met until 1940, shortly before Tsvetaeva committed suicide.


Motivate Us:  Gloria Steinem and Marlo Thomas
They met when a male TV agent brought the two women together to discuss the possibility of Thomas starring in a show about Steinem’s time as a Playboy Bunny.  Their friendship defined the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s.  They both helped found the Ms. Foundation for Women and continue to be activities for women’s rights worldwide.


Comfort Us:  Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
Ex-slave Elizabeth Keckley was the founder of the Contraband Relief Association and was a dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln.  Their sons died within a year of one another and they both helped each other mourn the loss.  ““I consider you my best living friend,” Mary Todd Lincoln wrote to Keckley in 1867.  However, Keckley published a memoir about her time with the Lincolns in 1868 and Mary Todd never forgave her.


Fill Us with Joy:  Tina Fey and Amy Poehler
They met in a 1993 improv class and have been friends ever since–supporting and boosting each other in their careers, from The Upright Citizens Brigade to SNL to the Golden Globes.  When Poehler joined SNL, Fey wrote in her memoir, “I was so happy. Weirdly, I remember thinking, ‘My friend is here! My friend is here!’ Even though things had been going great for me at the show, with Amy there, I felt less alone.”


Click here to read the entire Bustle piece–which includes some great video clips of the friendships we adore.

Tell us about the friendships that sustain you!