The idea has rapidly grown in popularity in the last six years—even major retailers have gotten in on the celebrations—to sell us something. (Feel free to buy your friend a Valextra Slim Portfolio in White for a cool $2,030).

Vanessa, a writer who recently graduated, has been holding women-only parties for a while now. Her social gathering lead up to her annual celebration of Galentine’s Day. Last year, dozens of women read poems and short love notes to each other.

Vanessa told me that these parties are a space to just enjoy hanging out with other women in a non-competitive environment. “I’ve become evangelical about it,” she admitted. Vanessa emphasizes that these spaces aren’t just about excluding men, but making a conscious decision to make all women feel included and loved. Her parties have become so popular that she’s now planning a Galentine’s club night.

It’s at these parties and social spaces that we can peel away at the destructive notion that you have to tear other women down to build yourself up. Where I’d once feel competitive and at times jealous of the rich, meaningful lives the women around me lead, now I can celebrate them. Their hard-won victories are mine, too. Their burdens and failures are shared across the group.

The friendships I have with the women in my life aren’t an addition or a bonus to the committed relationship I have with my male partner. These parties aren’t what you do in lieu of hanging out with men. It’s a space to get a fraction of what women who love and support give to each other: “support, salvation, transformation, life.”

These parties radically challenge sexist stereotypes that when women gather to socialize, it’s a “bitchfest.” At the heart of these stereotypes is a deep misunderstanding of the powerful and profound relationships women can have. “When you can access those feelings of security and appreciation from a group of women, anything is possible,” Jane added.

Don’t let anyone try to ridicule or dismiss that.

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