So the other day when I was on Tumblr (which is like… everyday), I found this gif set and reblogged it. I did it for two reasons; 1) I absolutely love Hayao Miyazaki films. That man is brilliant. And 2) I completely agree with this statement. I’m really hoping this is an actual quote from him, but even if it’s not, I definitely agree with it. I’m really getting sick and tired of the generic “Hollywood” formula for male-female relationship portrayals on screen.
I’m sure you have an idea of what message I’m talking about, right? The message that “men and women can’t be friends.” If you observe any of your favorite television shows, sitcoms, cartoons, movies, etc., you’ll find that this Hollywood formula is repeated and regurgitated again and again. So it’s no surprise that we as consumers have internalized that message and now some people truly believe men and women CAN’T ever be just friends. I mean, really? How sad is this world we’re living in?
Men and women CAN be friends and it is definitely possible for them to just inspire each other to live without having romantic feelings involved. So call me optimistic or whatever, but I’m a firm believe in changing your attitude can really change a movement. If we all just started to believe in something and make it the norm, then it would become the norm. It’s really not that hard of a concept to swallow.
One of the main reasons people feel like men and women can’t be friends is that we can’t look at each other in a non-sexual way. So you know those arguments you would have with your significant other about “that girl he was texting from class” or “that boy that wanted to meet up with her for coffee?” Yeah, that’s US internalizing those messages about men and woman not being able to be friends. Because if we truly believed we can all just be friends, then there would be no fcking issue. BUT THERE IS ONE! And it’s not anyone’s fault necessarily, so stop getting angry at your significant other. It’s no surprise that a society that conditions people to think this way will result in people applying these concepts to their own lives.
The two shows in my childhood that really pissed me off about this concept were two Disney channel shows: Lizzie McGuire and Kim Possible. In both shows, the protagonist is a female and they’re both dealing with adolescence, growing up, and finding love. Their supporting characters, Ron and Gordo, are the best friends. Both characters have been childhood friends with the protagonists and harbored romantic feelings for the girls. And just as you’ve guessed it, they all end happily ever after at the end of both series.
Let me be real here. This really bothered me. Like, seriously bothered me and I was only 12 or 13 when these shows were playing. The way I can tell if a pairing in a show is a true OTP of mine (one true pairing) is if at the end when they’re finally together, I’m genuinely very happy. With Lizzie/Gordo and Kim/Ron, I totally felt like that shit was forced on. As if the producers of both shows were like, “Ok! Time to end the series. They need to do a big kiss scene and we need to order some fireworks and shit to go off in the background.” How ridiculous can this get?! Not only were both pairings not really developed throughout the series enough, but it just goes back to what I was saying from the beginning – the Hollywood formula for male-female relationships.
Honestly, both series would have been fine if it ended without both pairings ending up together. In fact, it would have been BETTER! Because that would show two strong, young females continue to grow and learn about themselves without having a romantic love interest. This is why kids nowadays think they need to be in relationships! This is why ANYONE thinks they need to be in a relationship! Because this notion that solitude = forever alone, scary, sad, and depressing, emphasizes that we should all be looking for our soul mate at any cost. Whatever happened to the messages that we can thrive in this lifetime as an individual being? Hm? Where’s that Hollywood formula? Oh wait… yeah that doesn’t exist because this whole society is driven by the biblical teachings that we are put on this planet to procreate so procreate we shall do!
And just for the record, I’m not trying to be Anti-(insert religion here). I’m just challenging the ways that we’ve always been taught to think. Because who’s to say your way is wrong and my way is right? Or vice versa? We’re all alive and living our lives, we might as well live it the way we want to, right?
So let’s start writing our own stories about friendship and growing up. Let’s start teaching the youth about respecting all types of friendship. And most importantly, let’s stop fcking sexualizing everything.
Now go forth and preach that shit.