I am incensed by Shane Watson’s column in the T2 Section of today’s Times. The headline ‘Real Women don’t hold hands; why are we fetishising women’s friendships?’
Which planet has she landed from? No, that isn’t a typo, Shane Watson is woman journalist who writes for The Times on a regular basis.
Reading the article, I had to double check that it wasn’t written by Shane Watson the cricketer, so anti-feminist were her views.
I really do not understand why she is so uncomfortable with two women, whatever their sexuality, holding hands. She seems to regard women who are close friends and are photographed hand in hand as creepy and unnatural.
Well, I have news for her, close women friends have for years walked down a road arm in arm. You only have to look at old photos of trips to the seaside to see groups of woman showing their friendships, it not a new phenomena as Ms Watson claims.
She goes on to explain that she doesn’t have such tactile friendships with her own friends and that she will often speak to her male friends (in preference to female ones) about relationship issues. I think she is missing out on the closeness that other women value. For many women, being able to share concerns with another woman is an essential part of our lives. It provides a safe space where the closest of secrets can be shared and unbiased advice given.
I don’t believe that such support and comfort can be found in the often complex and unequal relationships women have with men.
Maybe Ms Watson’s unhappiness is some sort of unrecognised need within herself?
I remember as a teenager how angry and uncomfortable my own mother was when I was openly affectionate with other women, there was absolutely nothing sexual involved, just enjoyment of a closeness that I couldn’t share with my very undemonstrative parent. But, such was my mother’s discomfort, that her response was extremely vitriolic.
On talking with my mothers sisters, all of whom were warm and affectionate, they felt that her reaction was due to the fact that I was able to make friends easily with other women whereas my mother’s haughtiness pushed friends away.
Friendships between women are precious, valued, life enhancing and affirming, special and very important at every stage of our lives. They can bridge age gaps and enable knowledge to be shared between different generations of women.
Women who are secure in their sexuality and their relationships with other women do not deserve to be derided and condemned. Their choices should be respected and celebrated.