Friendship is about so many things.
Having fun doing the same things. Encouraging each other to be better than we are. Feeling safe with one another.
It’s not mutually exclusive with Romantic Love…but it’s something special, distinct, and different than Romantic Love.
Which is why, when I saw several works of fiction dirtying this platonic ideal, I had make a stand.
Can’t a girl have a friend who’s also a girl? Can’t two guys feel a brotherly bond – and nothing more complicated? Do these authors have to boil everything down to sex – sex –sex?
And if they do…what a sad, tiny world they must live in. In fact…a world without Friendship.
Blake and Yang: The Fall of RWBY
Anime-inspired web series
Blake and Yang are chosen by their school’s “random” selection to be partners and teammates.
They fight alongside each other, and go through the destruction of their entire school and the splitting of their team. Then, after separately dealing with their baggage and growing their characters, they reassemble with their battle-sisters to kick butt.
And that’s where Season 5 ends.
Yeah. If the fan art is to be believed, they went and shipped these two ladies.
Which destroys a beautiful friendship.
Yang is loud, bright, and forceful. Blake is secretive, angsty, and wrestling with guilt…yet she’s also very driven.
Together, they…er… Well, Yang applied her “Protective Older Sister” mentality to Blake, which funneled into a neat “your team is your family”/best friends motif.
Why on earth would you spoil that by sexualizing it?
A big part of Yang’s character is her fierce devotion to her kid sister Ruby, and so when she extends that to the other members of their battle team, it just makes their girl-dynamic that much better.
It’s like they’re all sisters, dig? Which is so sweet! Sisters, kicking butt together…y’know?
Wait…do you not have siblings you would totally die for? How sad…
Not all relationships have to be sexualized!
I’m not just mad because Blake already had a perfectly serviceable boy chasing after her, giving her back-up whenever she needed it, showing her unconditional support, and challenging her in ways that developed her character past her mental blocks.
That was a beautiful dynamic…no less for the fact that this boy never got so much as a peck on the cheek.
Maybe he felt that way about Blake…maybe he didn’t. But he didn’t need to make it about himself for him to help her. His affection was aimed at giving her what she really needed…not what she wanted.
What does changing the tone of Blake’s friendship with Yang give her?
No idea. I’m not watching the show anymore. And I won’t, because I don’t need my mature, kick-butt, mutually supportive sister-tribe corrupted with the need to be “edgy” – like everyone else.
The Sunday Philosophy Club
So I’ve been reading this pretty tepid cozy mystery where Middle-Aged Spinster sees Gorgeous Young Man fall to his death (by accident?).
She pokes her nose into the situation and interviews the young man’s flatmates – another boy and a girl.
Spinster Lady then talks with the male roommate alone, and asks if he “misses” the dead guy.
When the roommate admits that, yes, he “misses” his guy roommate — Spinster Lady immediately confirms her suspicious that these two guys were having a thing.
Not only that, but since she secretly witnessed the roommate guy slipping out of the girl’s room naked, she now labels Roommate Guy as not just homosexual, but bisexual.
In other words, he has no standards whatsoever.
Because of course friendship is dead and if you’re even vaguely unhappy that someone who shared your rent is dead, that means you were sleeping together.
I have no idea if Middle-Aged Spinster is correct (although she’s been pretty smug about all her freudian assumptions towards other people so far; she’s the protagonist; and their sexual habits haven’t had any bearing on the plot so far). However, whether she’s right or not, the author put that in there.
Dude. Are you kidding me?
Why? What’s the point?
(Okay, if the dead guy was murdered because of this sordid love triangle, I might have to publish a retraction…but I haven’t finished the book yet.)
Can’t two guys just be friends? Whether or not there’s a girl involved, whatever happened to a casual, affectionate respect for the people you see every day (coworkers, neighbors, roommates, classmates).
Does every relationship have to be boiled down to sex?
Silly me. I forget that Spinster Lady has a philosophy degree and thinks Freud was right. In which case, yes, I guess everything does have to boil down to sex.
Onward: To Bravely Progress (Or Not)
According to its review in WORLD Magazine, Disney-Pixar’s latest movie Onward has a gay character. Apparently there’s been a lot of marketing about it and stuff.
And, again going off the WORLD article (since I haven’t seen the movie myself), this is the situation that paints the character as gay:
A female police officer says, “My girlfriend’s daughter got me pulling my hair out.”
Well, except in the Russian version, where she says “my partner’s daughter.”
I believe Honest Trailers calls this a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” gay character.
First off…you’ve never heard a woman say, “I’m going to the mall with my girlfriends”?
This is how girls talk sometimes. It’s a means of emphasizing that this is girl time, which is important to us.
Boys go out for “man time,” too, but I don’t think they call it “guy time.” They don’t think about the same things we do.
Wave good-bye to simple friendship.
I admit it’s a kinda ambiguous statement. Why is she watching her girlfriend’s daughter? Baby-sitting? I know someone who adopted her best friend’s kids when the friend died of cancer…is that the situation?
But that’s the world they’ve given us…everything ambiguous must be interpreted their way. No one gets the “benefit of the doubt.”
Obviously, the progressives at Disney wanted to get as much “edgy” milage as they could out of it…which is why they bothered to change the wording for Russia (a more conservative market).
But again…this character is a police officer. Her “partner” could mean a spouse, or her partner on the force. Is she babysitting the child of some other police officer?
What does any of this have to do with the plot?
(Hint: nothing, I’m pretty sure!)
“Just Friends” Means Nothing Now!
It’s a staple of the romance genre. She’s says, “Oh, we’re just friends.”
Her girlfriends point out, “He ran across town in the rain to buy you an umbrella. You mentioned you like a certain band, and he bought you tickets. He got you flowers ‘just because.’ He wants to meet your friends and your parents –”
And She rolls her eyes and laughs derisively and says, “We’re just friends.”
It’s right up there with “her being inexplicably jealous of any woman in his life for no good reason” as a dead give-away that they’re heading for togetherness.
There’s gotta be some safe ground, though, right? Like ACTUAL friendship?
No. Actual friendship is dead.
A man and woman can never interact without the specter of SEX hanging over them.
It’s rough, but that’s the fact of it. Every relationship you have with the opposite sex needs safe-guards in place to keep you both honest and safe.
You owe it to the other person, and to yourself, to never let your guard down…except within the secure fortress of marriage. Even if you both behave yourselves and have nothing but inspiring, uplifting, platonic interactions – you don’t want to give outsiders a lever for false accusations.
But now, not even relationships with people of the same gender are safe.
A girl can’t just have a really good friend that she gets emotional and mental support from, and depends on for advice and back-up.
A guy can’t have his friend who does “man stuff” with him – like fishing, gaming, hunting, etc. – and who won’t take his baloney-sauce but forces him to become better.
Apparently nobody has work friends anymore, or is on good terms with their neighbors, or has someone to just chill with.
No. Now everything is about sex.
Everything must be a lame, one-dimensional reduction of human interactions. A hug is not just a hug…it means you’re a thing, now. Y’all can’t be Just Friends.
And it makes me sad for all of us.
Featured image is me and my mom. And we’re best friends.
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