‘I don’t shine if you don’t shine’


Since 2014, co-hosts Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman have used their podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend,” as a platform to discuss pressing social, cultural and political issues. In particular, Sow and Friedman highlight women who are agents, creators and those who initiate change. In doing so, they ensure “Call Your Girlfriend” gives a voice to women.

“Shine Theory” is a practice of cultivating genuine happiness and excitement when your friends are doing well and being there for them when they are not. The duo also coined the term Shine Theory, which they cite as the show’s backbone. The philosophy calls for an intentional approach to friendships and relationships that, in turn, fosters a more confident community.

While the theory can be applied to relationships between people of any gender, I believe that Shine Theory is uniquely important for women to understand and adopt.

Women nowadays are too often pitted against one another. The idea of women as rivals is something we have been fed our whole lives through the books we read, the movies we watch and the advice we receive. Shine Theory attempts to challenge this norm of competition among women and instead encourage a reality in which women invest deeply in one another.

One of the ways Shine Theory works is by compelling people to ask the question: Would we be better as collaborators rather than as competitors? Sow and Friedman argue the answer is almost always yes.

In a world where women still struggle to achieve success at the same level of their male counterparts, it seems foolish to create more barriers and enemies. No one understands the challenges females face when climbing the ladder of success more than other women. In this sense, we should be thrilled when we see other women reaching their goals and thriving even if these women are succeeding at the same things we wanted to achieve.

Practicing Shine Theory is not easy. It is an investment that takes place over a long period of time and is never practiced seamlessly. Even as a big proponent of Shine Theory, I sometimes fail at my attempts to practice it.

I still get jealous when I see other women succeed at something I have been trying to do. I am never a big fan of women dating someone whom I dated or who used to date someone I am currently dating. I am not exactly disappointed when I hear that ex-best friends of mine aren’t doing great. However, I understand that altering the way I view my relationships with other women is a process, and I am only at the beginning of it.

I strongly feel Shine Theory is a philosophy all women should try to live by. It will not be easy nor will it always make sense. However, if women are able to at least attempt to intentionally approach their relationships with other women, we will soon see a more confident female population that is able to take on the world knowing they have an army of others helping them shine.

Abigail Miller is a UF political science and journalism senior. Her column appears on Mondays.