Ten seasons, 236 episodes and six relatable characters made a show that would never get old. Set in Manhattan, American Sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S, first aired in 1994, gave its viewers major friendship and relationship goals. Its funny sequences won our hearts and the famed jokes are still used as references in casual conversations. As one of the most-watched TV series in all of history, the show was quite progressive and surprisingly, had a feminist core. Here’s why I believe that FRIENDS was a feminist show.

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Busting the Stereotypes

Several scenes challenged the widespread stereotypes like the one where Monica gets down on her knees to propose Chandler or when Rachel makes Ross realize that it was completely natural to employ a male nanny for Emma. Also, Ben playing with Barbie dolls was first taken as a taboo by Ross but he is schooled by the three females. Further, by showcasing Monica as a strong and competitive woman, it challenged the portrayal of women as a ‘damsel in distress’.

Wholesome Female Friendships

Female friendships too received the limelight they deserve through the show. There are various instances where the girls prove that they don’t need men to have fun and my personal favourite is the one where they sit and drink beer in wedding gowns. The sequence of Mindy and Rachel coming together to confront Barry of his cheating habit proved that girls have always got each other’s backs.

Motherhood

From single motherhood, surrogacy to adoption, FRIENDS shows every form of becoming a mother as respectful. Phoebe becomes the surrogate mother to her brother’s triplets and takes care of herself without the assistance of a man. Rachel decides to be a single mother by denying to get married to Ross just because of her pregnancy. Monica and Chandler adopt the twins when the couple gets to know that they are very unlikely to conceive kids naturally. Moreover, the lesbian couple (Carol and Susan), although a target of homophobic jokes, successfully raise Ben on their own.

Female friendships too received the limelight they deserve through the show. There are various instances where the girls prove that they don’t need men to have fun and my personal favourite is the one where they sit and drink beer in wedding gowns.

Career Oriented Women

The show often made clear that the women completely focused on their careers over anything else. Monica decides to stay in New York for her job when Chandler has to move to Tulsa. The series starts with Rachel cutting her credit cards, paid by her dad, and finding a job at the cafe. Her growth throughout the series is commendable and is no less than an inspiration. She even considers moving to Paris for the sake of her job.

Undeniably, the show did have some questionable examples of transphobia and sexism but was much ahead of its time. From women playing poker to football, the 90s sitcom, sure told some progressive tales.

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Image Credits: BuzzFeed

Saavriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are of the author’s own. 

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