Can Women be friends? The question seems odd at first glance, but when digging deeper, there hasn’t been a definite answer. Professor Ewington’s “Becoming Human” lecture on female friendship opened my eyes to something I’d never thought of before. Friendship has a history that women have long not been included in. Professor Ewington tackled the concept of female friendship through her lens of research, Russian history and literature. In Russia after the rule of Peter the Great, there was a rapidly developing literary scene coming together in Russia. Left out of this scene were female writers, despite a woman being on the throne. Women that published writings were sisters, nieces or daughters of nobility and even then, they were swayed away from writings like epochs and instead directed to focus on “lightworks”. Due to this lack of female representation in the literature scene, the content Russians consumes was overly masculine, where the women in the story were depicted doing “feminine” things and never seen interacting. Therefore, friendship became “meant for men”.
It was not until the last decade of the 18th century in Russia where women were given a platform for friendship. Russian literature was becoming feminized at this point, coinciding with the emergence of female friendship. Even with all this, friendship still revolved around men. Professor Ewington gave one more example of how female friendship is still not portrayed to this day. In many of the Hollywood movies we know in love, female friendship does not exist. Scenes picturing two females talking to each other and exhibiting friendship is rare, showing the long way we still have to go on how female friendship is portrayed.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Professor Ewington’s lecture as well as the other “Becoming Human” Lectures. Professor Ewington was energetic, articulate, and just a pleasure to listen to. I look forward to more lectures on becoming human and hearing more from Professor Ewington next semester.