Seeking a Friend for the End of the World… (really though) Popular Media’s Lack of Hetero Platonic Friendships and Its Consequences

seeking a friend buckwalter 615 focus

I watched this movie with my mom, brother and sister on Christmas night. Needless to say it was a cute movie but the title and the outcome of the movie bothered me a little bit. I was actually really looking forward to a legitimate movie about friendship, but Hollywood Heteronormativity never fails to disappoint.

This movie was sweet and had me thinking a lot about what I would do with the last days of my life. Of course I would want to spend it with someone I love, but my disappointment lies in the lack of “just friends” representation among men and women in popular media. The movie begins with the two main characters as strangers who try to survive together, end up having sex “just for fun” then end up falling in love.

I wish there were more movies about men and women who are friends and THAT’S IT. Because it does exist. & Representation matters. Ending every movie in heterosexual romance obviously only represents ONE type of romantic relationship, it contributes to unrealistic expectations of one-time sexual encounters,  marginalizes & ignores genuine, platonic friendships between men and women, normalizes unnecessary stress between couples, and constraints healthy friendships for everyone.

I’ll admit for most of my life I thought I men and women couldn’t be friends because in my experiences someone always wanted something more. However, this could be true among same- sex friendships also, and most of my experiences were only based out of the only culture I’ve ever known. Now with all my nineteen years of wisdom I see how silly it is for people not to recognize legitimate close friendships between heterosexual individuals. My experiences with this are slightly different, identifying as queer but I think it is sad how long it took me to realize that this was a possibility. I remember getting uncomfortable when a previous (‘straight’) partner of mine had many close friends of the opposite same gender. This individual identified a a hetero cisgender male and had many hetero cisgender female identified friends. I was never actually threatened by any one of his friends but I felt I had to be concerned because of the mentality movies like this continuously shove in my face– that “men and women just can’t be friends”. When he said he “loved” these women I felt like I needed to be jealous, looking back now I can say I was disappointed in myself for it. Instead of really getting to know these individuals my partner loved so much I spent energy worrying about things I didn’t need to. I could have used that same energy to understand what made these individuals so special and awesome to be around.

Aside from the obvious need of increased non-gender binary media representation and an many other intersectional issues, there needs to be more media representation for situations where men and women are just friends and only friends because it hinders potential genuine deep connections and even missed business opportunities. The mentality of this movie and many others implicitly leads to unhealthy possessive relationships and generally follows the binary – hetero “romantic script” of most western main stream movies.

The pictures below made my heart feel warm & truly express a message along the lines of what I’m talking about.

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