There are a million reasons why Phoebe Buffay is my favorite Friends character, without question. As a fellow weirdo who has the deepest sympathies for acoustic guitar performers and the coffee houses they inhabit, I would've loved to be besties with Phoebe. Hell, I could listen to stories about her mom who killed herself and her stepdad in jail aaaaaall day. But, more than any of that, I appreciate her for being an unlikely feminist hero.
Stop side eying me, I know it's a bit of a stretch. But I'm not talking about her in a radical, constantly involved, loud and proud activist sense. I'm talking about her general progressiveness, and the way her trademark open-mindedness and naturally blunt attitude makes her walking womanspiration. I mean, there were some legitimately feminist aspects to Friends. And, through Phoebe, you can see a lot of them.
But rather than have you marathon watch Friends on Netflix again (although you should definitely marathon watch Friends on Netflix again), I'll save you time and just spell it out for you. So enjoy this quick collective of all the times and reasons Phoebe makes for a strong feminist icon.
1. She Was Never Afraid To Exercise Her Right To Say "No"
Usually when it required doing any kind of work, but I still think that not falling into the passivity of a facilitator — i.e. the normal role of a woman — is something we should all embrace.
2. She'll Also Easily Confront Any Man That Tries To Get Under Her Skin
Sometimes she's just standing up to an uptight, impatient waiter trying to shoo her off her table. Other times, she's calling out her close friends. When she flippantly says she doesn't believe in evolution, Ross has a hissy fit asserting its validity. Finally Phoebe remarks,
Wasn't there a time when the brightest minds in the world believed that the world was flat? And up until 50 years ago, you all thought the atom was the smallest thing, until you split it open, and this like, whole mess of crap came out. Now, are you telling me that you are so unbelievably arrogant that you can't admit that there's a teeny tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?
Ross caves. Phoebe then laughs at him for cracking and says she no longer respects him. She's awesome.
3. Her Time Living On The Streets Has Made Her Decidedly Not Classist
Remember when Ross and Phoebe are confronted by Pheebs' mugger friend Lowell? Not only does she confront him and say "no" when he asks for her purse, but, once, she recognizes him they start catching up like old friends. These moments show an unpretentious side of our girl, likely because her wacky adventures in homelessness have left her remarkably empathetic.
4. She Also Mugged Ross & A Bunch Of Nerds When She Was 14 So Um... Girl Power?
Mugging people isn't really feminist or a... good overall habit, but it shows she was willing to fight hard to survive.
5. She Regards Herself As Nothing Less Than Perfect
I mean, it's not like anyone can contest that, but we should all have her kind of self esteem.
6. She Supports Gay Marriage... In The Sense That She Married A Gay Guy
Always willing to help.
7. She Supports Unconventional Family Situations, In The Sense That She Had Her Brother's Triplets
It's a women's right to choose (if she wants to be a vessel for her sibling's babies).
8. But Most Of All, She Supports Her Fellow Women
When she had to break up with Mike's girlfriend Precious (um, Susie), she asserted there was nothing wrong with her and that she needed to "pull [herself] together" and "have some pride." And, despite their occasional tiffs, Phoebe was a constant source of support for both Monica and Rachel. Though her honest abrasiveness and kooky demeanor could make for some tough love, nobody can deny that she made for a good friend and, yeah, a feminist hero.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Giphy (8)