Read Related: Which Real Housewife Are You?A landmark 2002 UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women. The researchers suspected that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest that more oxytocin is released, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. The study shows that this calming response does not occur in men because testosterone—which men produce in high levels when they’re under stress—seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen, on the other hand, seems to enhance it. Perhaps the writers of all of these shows knew it just felt good to be around other women, even when times weren’t good.
friendships. Through their personas, which were neatly packaged in that clean, digestible eighties gloss, we got a glimpse into the universe of femininity and the various complexities and dynamics therein (and we also got to glimpse at a young, shaggy and smoldering George Clooney looking mighty sexy in a pair of form-fitting Calvins, but I digress). Back then, girl power was sacred, celebrated, glorified and made to feel crucial—very different from the blatantly antagonistic back-biting cattiness that today dominates our culture with phenomena like The Real Housewives and The Bachelor.Before Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, and even before Dorothy, Blanche, Sophia and Rose—there was Jo, Blair, Natalie and Tootie: The first fabulous foursome from The Facts of Life. These girls essentially gave us all a primer on, well, the facts of female