"Female support, love, care, friendship and solidarity, feels to me, an unparalleled sacred inviolability"Alessandra Rey

A monumental epiphany I landed on was comprehending the gravity and inexplicable significance women have on my life in the most remarkable and astoundingly positive way. It dawned on me so colossally, I took a step back and thoroughly meditated and reflected upon just how extraordinary women and women’s relationships are with one another. In a world that still perpetuates female-specified “bitchiness” “cattiness”, hostility and competition, I so adamantly wanted to write a love letter to women and express the impact that female relationships have made on me. Female support, love, care, friendship and solidarity, feels to me, an unparalleled sacred inviolability. 

I will forever maintain my overpowering, unconditional love and admiration for my mum. A woman who has combated many troublesome and distressing times, challenges and adversities of her own, I am so lucky to have been raised by such a phenomenal woman. Being raised by a young single mother and having a burdensome to later terminated relationship with your father, you witness your mother’s role, despite the monolithic demands, go constantly underappreciated. My mum juggled so many pressures in far-from-ideal circumstances and continued to have the most caring, empathetic and kind heart. My mum has unflinchingly listened, cared and supported me. She is my best friend and my lighthouse of safety, warmth and encouragement. My mum has taught me the power of listening, selflessness, forgiveness, resilience, vulnerability and understanding and I hope that I have adopted even a fraction of those traits. When I felt like I couldn’t escape life’s beleaguerment, my mum did everything to ameliorate my pain and has always put my happiness first and I am so lucky to have grown up with such a role model. 

"I believe any generalising statement of female friendship, adhering to the negative narrative is blasphemous"

My female friendships have unequivocally formed who I am. I encountered bullying from girls and boys and the stereotypical “bitchiness” but I will resolutely stand behind knowing that boys can be just as “bitchy” “catty” “gossipy”, etc. and that it is not gender specific. Having moved from six different schools, mixed and same-sex, I believe these descriptors are never only or exacerbated female traits. I was blessed with someone that bolstered, listened and aided my pain, who I had known since age four. I felt so unworthy, targeted and misunderstood but to know someone who you have grown up alongside, presenting such kindness and support, is unparalleled. Natalie taught me the profundity of loyalty, trust, solidarity. I met my friend Lucie at 14, who I never fail to laugh with, share everything with and am constantly taken aback by her immense heart, gracious and thoughtful nature. It was my mum, Natalie and Lucie who inspirited me and showed me uncompromising kindness, that pulled me out of the dark hole when I was a shell of myself. After leaving school, I met a phenomenal woman, Caleigh. She is my guidepost and my inspiration and represents to me astonishing wisdom, concern, conscientiousness and compassion. I felt as though we led, in many ways, mirrored lives and meeting her was a healing force, to know someone who understood me to my core. 

Alessandra and her friend at the beachAlessandra Rey

Though it is incontestable that struggle, strife and adversity are never gender specific, the longer one lives in the world, the longer one becomes acutely, achingly and devastatingly aware of the female-specific, sexist mistreatment and wrongful stereotypical perpetuations pervading everyday lives of women. I believe any generalising statement of female friendship, adhering to the negative narrative is blasphemous. Without true, pure, phenomenal female friendship, I don’t know what I would have done. 


Mountain View

Why brown girls don't sunbathe

Upon matriculating at Cambridge, the gnawing fear I have of friendship dynamics within educational environments set in. Enduring a very lonely and difficult time at school, I was terrified that I would be isolated in a hostile, toxic or competitive environment, as I had experienced previously. I hoped for at least one solid, true girlfriend. I did an open college application, never believing that I would get in nor comprehending the collegiate system and once realising Cambridge had all-female colleges, I was gutted that I couldn’t switch or that I hadn’t initially applied to one. Then, during a Cambridge rainy-day tour, I met the most inspiring, intelligent and hilarious women. I have such immense elation, befriending six women as a group, all so wonderful, emanating support, kindness and joy. We have matching necklaces hosting our initials. As I wander around Cambridge, I have my exceptional friends by my heart. It is incomparable in value, and I shall always treasure it.

"The women in my life are my lights... glimmers of hope and warmth"

The personal metaphor I have is that the women in my life are my lights. In a cave of darkness, they were a candle: glimmers of hope and warmth, to find a way out. Drifting amidst a sea of darkness, they were stars: glittering guides. There is the constant question of whether stereotypes or traits are societal indoctrination or are biologically inherent, nature versus nurture. Ideas of gender, what “femininity” and “masculinity” are, are dictated and perpetuated by society. I don’t ever assign specific traits to inherent biology or ‘nature’ because it often leads to justifications, reasoning and separation where there shouldn’t be, but, whether it be nature or nurture, moulding to society or biological (including, of course, trans-women), I feel overpowered by the synonymously ‘feminine’ trait of nurturing kindness. I am so overjoyed and blessed for the wonderful women in my life and I cannot imagine a life without them.