Judy Greer’s Tearful Shoutout to Jen Garner Made Me Think About My Own Female Friendships

...and also how I learned to build other women up instead of viewing them as competition

Jennifer Garner in navy dress kisses Judy Greer in white dress on cheek, in the cutest friendship

(Photo: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ll never forget the moment in 13 Going on 30 when Jennifer Garner’s character, Jenna Rink, comes up with the revolutionary idea of putting out a magazine that celebrates everyday women—as opposed to models. “I want to see my best friend’s big sister, the girls from the soccer team, my next-door neighbour, real women who are smart and pretty and happy to be who they are. These are the women to look up to,” she announces in an editorial meeting.

I thought of that scene this week, when watching a clip of Garner’s 13 Going on 30 co-star Judy Greer talk about their real-life friendship.“I just really love her so much,” said Greer, tearing up on CTV’s The Social.

And this isn’t the first time Greer has fangirled over her 13 Going on 30 co-star and real-life BFF. “I know that a lot of time we like to think of the stars, they’re really just like us! But I am here to tell you that Jennifer Garner is not just like us. She is better than us,” Greer said during Garner’s Walk of Fame star unveiling last month.

Watching Greer’s unabashed display of love and support for Garner hit me in the heart. I often think about the way I used to feel when there were more girls than boys in my high school classes. I was worried about competing with them for marks, the attention of boys or—later—professional opportunities. But as I grew older, I started feeling differently.

Yes, it can be easy to view other women as adversaries. In our patriarchal world, as The Cut’s Ann Friedman notes in a must-read 2013 article on female competition, it often feels like there is only so much room for successful women. But rather than pushing each other down, Friedman argues, let’s build each other up: “When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her.

Friedman uses the term “shine theory” to describe the idea of helping other women succeed—and in the years since that article was published, I witnessed a shift in how we talk about friendships between women. We’ve gone from watching Gossip Girl, where besties Serena and Blair perpetually competed for status, to loving The Bold Type, where the unconditional support that Jane, Kat and Sutton give each other is what makes the show so captivating.

I don’t want to say “this was a hard year for women,” because let’s be honest, every year is a difficult year for women. But recently, it’s become undeniable that the feminism conversation has come to a boiling point. As women grow more vocal about sexism, participating in everything from the international Women’s Marches to the #MeToo movement, so grows misogynistic outcry. If we don’t stick together now and lift each other up, we risk becoming a fragmented movement of furious individuals screaming into a void.

Today, I am lucky enough to have the best group of friends a woman could ask for. And our motto came courtesy of my best friend’s very wise mother: “Surround yourself with strong women and you will find that greatness will come from there.” When we fight for each other and learn from each other, we’re all stronger for it.

And that is exactly what’s so endearing about Greer and Garner’s friendship. “[Garner] is so beautiful and so stinking smart and she can beat up bad guys and save the children,” Greer said in her Walk of Fame speech. Looking at Garner, Greer added, “I’m so proud of you and even though I got paid all those years to do it, I am so lucky to be your friend every day for free now.”

Because let’s be real, genuinely wanting to support and celebrate your friends is priceless.


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