Girl is that your Friend? Lessons from Girlfriends in 2020
If you are like me you were thrilled to realize that Netflix was bringing back all of the old shows, Sister Sister, Girlfriends, The Game etc. I’m personally excited for one on one to come out on the 15th of October but I’m also scared.
Here is the thing though, When Girlfriends came out I started to watch it because I love me some Tracey Ellis Ross however she (Joan) and lets be honest Toni were problematic too. I began to think about the way we developed into young women ESPECIALLY black women when our ideas of friendship were gleaned from shows like this. Let’s be clear Girlfriends did an awesome job of showcasing black women in positive lights in different careers but it lacked in teaching us how to be friends, have healthy relationships and more. Let’s dive into what this show is teaching the girls that are watching today.
If you are like me and wasn't allowed to watch this show growing up here is the gist. 4 African American women (Joan, Toni, Maya and Lynn) were successful women (in their own right) who had been friends for years. The show documents their 20’s and what that experience was like for them. In theory this is a great show because of what it represents for people like me ...until you get older and realize just how toxic their friendship was specifically Joan and Toni.
Lesson 1: it’s ok to keep people in your life just because they have been there since the beginning
Joan and Toni had been friends since back and the day and let’s face it. That’s the only reason they were still friends. Toni was a golddigger (idc idc you can fight me) and Joan had unrealistic ideas of what she wanted (and to be honest I don’t think she knew) did they figure all of this out in the end yes but their journey should have told them that friends of comfort aren't always good friends to have.
Lesson 2: men are like build-a-bears
Both Toni and Joan struggled with men because they wanted to take bits and pieces of so many other men to make “the perfect ma” which in and of itself isn't real. I don't care how many lists you make in my opinion it comes down to if your morals, values and core beliefs are the same all that other stuff is extra ( I’m advocating for dating outside of your preference trust me on that lol)
Lesson 3: Your friends are your family
Ive talked a lot of trash about these women throughout this article but even though Lynn was a mooch, Toni and Joan were trash and I have nothing to say about Maya because well she kept it real the entire time. These ladies showed that you don’t have to have a huge circle. It is ok to have a small group of friends who become your family. Just make sure you choose who you let into that family wisely.
Because I know some of yall are going to come for me let me end with this, yes I know Toni’s family had to struggle so that’s why she wants a man with money. Yes I understand that Joan wants what she wants in a man and that we shouldn’t settle but refer to my feelings on that in lesson two. I didn’t really have a problem with the other two ladies in the show (ya know, other than Lynn being a child at basically 30 but that’s another topic for another day). I say all of this to say that even the shows we love might have dangerous messages to girls if we don’t talk about them.