Since the original season of The Bachelorette aired, we’ve heard a lot about the ‘bro code.’
While the men on Sam Frost’s season outwardly established a code, the (majority of) men on the current season appear to abide by an unsaid set of universally understood rules.
Ones that says they’ll build each other up instead of tearing each other down – ones that say that even though they’re rivals, they can still be friends.
There's an ongoing discussion around whether a similar phenomenon exists for women.
Many people argue that it doesn't. Women can be bitchy and cruel to each other - they (understandably) believe there's limited space at the top so they have to rigorously compete to get there.
On The Bachelor, we saw female contestants who were quick to demonise their competitors. We couldn't even imagine them sitting in a circle singing goddamn Kumbaya. They were shown describing other women as "too bogan," "too quiet," or "not his type," and every season there seem to be at least a few who insist they're not on the show to make friends.
But when the show ends, it's a very different story. Probably because reality TV ≠ reality.
In real life, there is a girl code. A universal one. And it's powerful.
I remember a few years ago, not long after I had moved to the US, I walked out of work to see a man aggressively walking towards me. "HEY!" he called out. "You're beautiful hunnni, come here!"
Before I could even come up with a tactic to deflect his attention, a girl had come up to me, told me to act as though we knew each other, and yelled at him to leave me alone.
This, my friends, is just one example of girl code. We look out for each other, we respect each other, we understand each other. The nuances of women's relationships aren't shown on The Bachelor, and are absent from most portrayals of women in pop culture. Mainstream media demands we believe women are against each other - but they're not. Not for the most part.
Here are just some examples of girl code we've crowdsourced from both the Mamamia office and our readers. Some are silly, some are serious, but all of them are a testament to the unique way women interact with each other, just as men do.
"If you're out somewhere and you say 'I need to go to the toilet,' the person you're telling must come."
"Thou shalt assist me in the drafting of texts to the guy I like. Without complaint."
"It doesn't matter if you kinnnddd of think your friend is in the wrong with a guy - he's still an effing AHOLE and HOW DARE HE."
"If you see another girl really, really drunk or out of sorts, you go and make sure she's okay."
"You help with your friends' kids whenever you can."
"Whatever you overhear in the bathroom is a secret."
"If someone compliments your dress/shoes/etc, you are obliged to divulge where you bought it."
"When your friend has a baby, you come over and make your own tea."
So I'm sick of hearing about bro code, and how great men are for teaming up and supporting each other. Because women do the same thing, and I experience it every single day.