Her Story: The New Face of Feminism
Those of us who grew up with the Spice Girls and All Saints blasting out the sound track to our teenage years, hammering home the message of girl power, will be no stranger to the notion of a girl gang.
We 30 somethings, were perhaps the first generation to really commercialise and buy in to the idea of the collective power of girls and it’s an ideology that has been fed to us since we were teenagers. .
Fast-forward 20 years, and while I personally still know every word to ‘2 become 1’, that teenager is now a mother, with a daughter of her own and a very real and very full life to juggle. So how applicable is the notion of the girl gang to me now, and does that sense of sisterhood actually work for adult life?
The answer is yes more than ever, but the adult girl gang looks a little different and can come in unexpected guises.
Before I go on, I think its important to look at the negative side of a gang of girls. Grown women, like their teenage selves can be bitchy and cliquey and exclusive, and I personally feel like the current fashion for girl gangs can all too easily play to this high-school mindset. We all know those groups of women, who are self-congratulatory and mean, and while they appear to support one another, their friendship group is actually based on insecurity and in-fighting…! So no, this is not the kind of girl gang I want to be part of, not then and not now.
My girl gang is cooler, it is a free-flowing movement of women who are very like me, and very unlike me, but when our lives cross paths we are supportive and positive and affirming.
Your girl gang can be made up of your closest friends, work colleagues, or even passing acquaintances in my opinion, because it’s a mindset that binds you as much as shared experience.
I used to run an entirely female team, (this wasn’t on purpose, we did try to hire men, just none of them made the cut), and that experience of a gang of girls, from different walks of life, doing different roles at different ages and stages, really stuck with me. Yes there was probably a little more drama and angst than if I was running an all-male team, but the loyalty, sportiveness and humour was second to none, these girls were thrown together but wow did they bond. Proof that not all your girl gangs will be based on boozy nights out or shared mummy woes.
Though of course those girl gangs are amazing too. I would argue that motherhood is the biggest girl gang of all. We are all in the same boat, because parenthood is the greatest leveler, and no matter how different you are going in to it, at least on some level, we all come out the same way. And as a mum, we need the support of those girls more than at any other time in life. My greatest wish for any new mum would be that she has or finds a great group of women to share the experience with, because trust me, that is what is going to keep you sane on a grey, cold February morning when it all just seems too much.
Nothing motivates like a group of women getting together. Men get together for a laugh, women get together for a purpose. Take the recent Women’s marches for example, or the amazing force that is the Mothers’ Meetings movement, or the female entrepreneurs network The Step Up Club. If you want something done, ask a girl, if you want something changed, ask a girl gang!!!
Your girl gang can be a group of inspirational instagrammers that you love to engage with, your workmates, your school run chums or even your workout buddies – the beauty of girls getting together is the shared sense of support and fun.
But of course, nothing beats the best girl gang of all, your friends. Genuine friends that have seen you through the ups and downs of life. The gang that becomes your sounding board, your partners in crime, and ultimately like your family. That is the gang that I will be telling my own little girl to find and hold on to.