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Bridesmaids: Viewing the facets of female bonding

Bridesmaids: Viewing the facets of female bonding

It’s not often that we get to see leading female roles with strong story lines that only include men in a minor way.  How clever it was to place the movie within a setting where adult women are forced into a temporary circle created to act together in common interest other than men.  The common interest here was making another woman happy.  Bridesmaids is a movie all about those female to female relationships that we overlook and or neglect everyday.  Hooray!  Something different! 🙂

As a young woman not so far out of college and entering the workforce, I find that the institution of being in school aided my relationship building a great deal.  Making new friends in New York City is a lesson learning process.  Often women are untrustworthy of one another, and it is not common to hear a woman say that she has more male friends than female friends because girls are: catty, judgmental, jealous… the list continues.  The most common phrase of them all, “I can’t stand bitches.” is a peep into the complexities of how we feel towards one another.  Even with writing this blog, using the term “woman” as opposed to “female” is a constant struggle.  Something in me wants to put space between myself and other females.  Fore some reason, there is not as much comrodary in the term “female”.  “Woman” though, has a whole different connotation, one of strength for my black-American self.  How these feelings intersect across sexuality is another conversation, one not addressed in Bridesmaids.  But the movie is still a reason to be happy nonetheless.

I love Annie, the maid of honor who is played by Kristen Wilg.  She’s a mix of all of our lowest, most degrading moments in our lives where we think back and ask ourselves, wtf?  How HILARIOUS was the truthful tellings of female sexuality, uncensored?   And her relationship with her mother was a tear-jerker.  How sweet were they, standing in the driveway embracing one another after Annie had gotten fired from her job?  She moved right back in with mom, to tuna fish sandwiches with syrup in the mornings.  Thank our Mother for our mothers hear on earth.  My mother is the only reason I am able.

Lillie, played by Maya Rudolf, is biracial and the one getting married in the movie.  Her father is a dark skin black man who’s only lines in the movie focuses on how much he “aint paying for this.”  I think that’s interesting in terms of how we present black fatherhood across the realities of class.  It eludes to a greater, more thought provoking complex of the black male and his intimate affair with money.  Lillie’s dad is loving, present and supportive.  In conversation with a friend, I find it interesting how one of the first things he said was “at least he’s present. lol”  You find out later in the movie that he cannot afford the elaborate plans coming from her bridesmaid Helen, a woman who married wealthy and lacks loving relationships, both with her husband and her friends.  How racialized is the fact that her father’s only verbal concerns are about money and how focused the black audience is on the fact that he’s even there to begin with!  What’s that all about?

And did you know that Kristen and Maya are best friends in real life?! Cool info.

It’s interesting to see how Annie and Helen’s relationship develops into an understanding of basic human needs.  We need love. We need companionship.  A friend told me once that often when women look for love, they forget about the love they have all around them in friends, family and God.  She gives me friendship “unconditionally”, to quote her exactly, and loves me in a way that transcends the horizons of sexuality.  Companionship is multi-faceted, which is why sometimes all I need is to be in the same room with somebody that I love in order to feel joy.  I think Cast Away did a great job of depicting this need in watching Tom Hanks find companionship in Wilson, a volley ball.  It’s interesting (and funny) how this movie is referenced in Bridesmaids when Annie hits “rock bottom” and has a fight with her best friend.  The undertones are clear.

It’s terrible how I assumed that the overweight, less “feminine” woman was a lesbian.  I was wrong.  In fact, she was a go getter for that dick.  But how important was her role in demonstrating that real friendship begins with yourself?  Beyonce Knowles- Carter said it best, “Me, myself, and I.  That’s all I got ’til the end.  That’s what I found out.  And it aint no need to to cry.  I took a vow that from now on, imma be my own best friend.”  She teaches us that friendship begins first with the Self, and that is the only way we can ever really be good friends towards one another.

I couldn’t help but to be frustrated though with the cop boyfriend who “saves” her in the end.  There’s always a replacement guy in movies and books.  But all women know that real life doesn’t flow so smoothly all of the time.  I guess Hollywood had to make it’s way up in there some kind of way.  I can appreciate movies like Sex in The City that have more realistic endings.  Carrie’s perfect wedding wasn’t his perfect wedding, and things went south.  I believe at least half of the women walking out of that movie theater was thinking, “Where’s my knight in shining armor?”  For many of us at different times in our lives, no matter how in distress we were, there was no damn knight.  All you had were your homegirls.  🙂

That’s why the best ones are the ones where you can go months to years even without speaking to and come back like it was nothing.  Companionship and support is ever-present, and we protect one another as much as we can from harm’s way.  That’s true love.

True love is what we feel from our mothers and our best friends. For many black women, it’s the only true love we know.

Girlfriends is a great sitcom that depicts the complexities of female to female relationships, but it still does a poor job at depicting that across interculturalization, a term coined by Latina theologians that describes a process of blending cultures for growth rather than assimilating or settling for the idea of multiculturalism, which leaves no depth in heritage.  What’s up with this “my nigga” and “my bitch” stuff?  Why does this language cross over into Latina/o communities but not into Asian or African communities?  It’s one thing for the word to stand alone.  But when you place possession in front of it, it takes on a whole new life.  Hmmm… why wasn’t this aspect of friendship addressed in the movie?  There is much more for us to understand about the dynamics of female to female bonding.  The conversation is deep.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, go check it out.  Just seeing the movie with your best girlfriends is a bonding experience in itself.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂


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2 responses »

  1. “strumming my pain with your fingers, singin my life with your words” lol Im still out here givin unconditional love and im still receiving NO reciprocity. how do we remedy this disease combating female bonding besides continuing to love like we do?

    After investing so much of my dignity, trust, empathy, and sympathy into a relationship, females dispose of me at will, making me feel less important as i enter into a new bonding endeavor. only WOMEN notice another WOMAN’s attempt at bonding and respond accordingly, females let the attempt fly right over their heads because they don’t think they have bonding issues with people. (those are usually the ones that have deeper roots lying in bonding issues with themselves)

    from personal experience (because i do it all the time lol) if somebody u consider a friend says, even once in your presence, that they dont have friends, that prolly means they don’t feel like ur reciprocating. to admit that i have no friends around you is to say that i’ve lost faith in you ever even learning how to even be a real anyone. mothers teach their daughters social skills indirectly, by how they communicate with their friends and directly, by how the communicate with their actual daughters.

    sucky part is that black families don’t communicate (passiveness) and when they do, it’s usually about something thats not being done right (aggressiveness) leaving the daughter to spend the rest of her life searching for a happy medium. ::sighs:: u know i can go on about this all night..ima jus stop here and agree that until u have been a friend to yourself, you cant be a sufficient friend to anyone else..

    Glad you seen the significance of my love for you on the big screen 🙂 now i MUST go see it too..miss u! love u!

  2. Pingback: Feminist Movies: Bridesmaids « Feminist Movies

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