A girl or woman says, “I have no female friends”.
What usually follows is a story detailing how different or better the female friendless-woman is in comparison to others of her gender. Or how she was scorned and rejected by other “catty” women and found solace with the guys.
“I have no female friends” is a method used by women to separate themselves from other women. Whether they’ve been excluded and despised by other women, are unsure of how to relate to them, or simply believe that to be a woman means to be lesser than, the mentality has the same origin: the devaluation of women and femininity.
The most common scenario involves a woman who proudly proclaims she has no girl friends and, in fact, prefers the company of men to that of women. She may given reasons such as not being into “girly” subjects and not being prissy and emotional like other women.
This sort of woman feels a sense of shame about her gender. This shame is likely caused by either or both of two sources. Past and current discrimination of women and popular notions of women as the “weaker sex” in nearly every avenue of life, or her personal experiences with the devaluation of women. This type of woman has been made to feel that if a person wants to be anyone in life they should strive to be as manly as possible. Anything associated with femininity must be shunned, anything associated with masculinity revered.
Less often, a woman claims with remorse that she has no friends of her own gender. She is usually a woman whose personality, outlook, or interests found her at odds with most women. In this situation, the same dynamic is at play, but in the opposite direction.
Women are competitive and exclusionary of other women for many reasons, but most of these reasons stem from restrictive gender roles placed on women — gender roles largely caused by ideas of women as second place to men.
Women try to live up to these ideals, and as a result become competitive and exclude other women. Women who fail to meet expectations of what it means to be a true, feminine woman –and several of those who exceed these expectations– are ignored or even ostracized by other women.
In either case, the mantra “I have no female friends” does a disservice to all women. Instead of creating an environment where women would be more likely to be friendly with each other, it encourages women to see other women as essentially different, at best, and rivals at worst. Women are placed in opposition to each other and none comes up the greater for it.