I was recently made aware of a discussion about whether two male characters who are very close in a musical were in fact in love with one another. An actor clarified that his character loves the other character like a brother. I was incredibly impressed by this. Recently I realized the need for more representation of close friendships in media. We are surrounded by love stories- companies constantly write and sell these stories of people finding happiness through romance. While this is important ESPECIALLY when it includes LGBT representation, I have something important I’d like to discuss. Intimacy and love in friendship is just as important.
It’s completely possible to adore someone more than life and not love them romantically or sexually, but love them like a sibling. For years, I bought into the need for romantic love. Society tells us, particularly women, that we should crave attention from romantic partners (and unfortunately this is also damaging as heteronormativity). To start, this is harmful to people who are asexual or aromantic because it insists that this is a “need” or there is something wrong with ace relationships, which is entirely untrue. For men, any ounce of affection is immediately met with snickers of “GAAAAAAAY!” which is harmful on so many levels. Affection is not only a female trait,to insinuate that is derogatory to women AND men, as affection is not weak, and this feeds into unhealthy ideas of masculinity that kill and harm many people. Equally harmful Ideology that women “need a man” has been around for centuries, and still persists. I know so many girls who define themselves based on how men see them. I definitely suffered a lack of self esteem because men never gave me the time of day.
Then I fell in love with my group of friends. I have a group of women who I adore and who fulfill every need I could ask for. They make me better, encourage me, and inspire me by being amazing. I can’t think of too many examples of that. While I have never experienced romantic love, I look forward to it, but I know that I will always love these people just as much. I love watching shows like The Bold Type and movies like Frozen which show that true love is found in sisterhood, and if you’re lucky enough to find that, maybe romance too. Our social needs as human beings are to be met not just by romantic and sexual attraction, as that diminishes so many other types of intimacy. Love your friends as much as your partners, show them that affection, and be an example of positive relationships.