Warning: contains spoilers for Something Borrowed (movie version), Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, Matched series by Ally Condie, Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick , and Fallen series by Lauren Kate.
Last week I talked about the lack of media portraying platonic relationships between heterosexual male and female couple. This week, I want to talk about the portrayal of female friendship in the media and how it is affected when a romantic interest comes on scene.
According to much of the media, including YA, there seems to be two main things that can happen to a female friendship once one of the girls begins a romantic relationship. Option one, the girls can both be after the same guy, and this wrecks their friendship. Option two, the newly smitten girl ignores the friend that has been with her through thick and thin for years in favour of the new boy.
The first case brings to mind Something Borrowed and Anna and the French Kiss.
I haven’t read Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, and I’m not sure I ever will simply because the plot itself makes me feel sick to my stomach. I am a very loyal friend. So loyal in fact that the moment one of my friends becomes interested in a guy, I lose interest. The idea of a girl sleeping with her best friend’s fiancé completely boggles my mind. Not to mention the fact that the best friend totally knew that her friend was in love with him before she started dating him in the first place! Yeah, their friendship wasn’t built on the greatest of premises, but the point is you don’t sleep with your best friend’s fiancé. You just don’t.
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is one of my favourite books ever, but unfortunately it also falls into this trap. Twice. First Anna’s best friend from home, Bridget, begins hooking up with the guy Anna had an almost thing with and had been totally head over heels in like over. Then Anna totally has a thing with Étienne despite the fact that she knows Meredith, her first friend in France, is totally in love with him (and the fact that he has a girl friend…but that’s a whole other story). It’s been awhile since I read this book, but I think the girls all make up in the end, but you don’t really hear about either Bridget or Meredith in Lola and the Boy Next Door (that I can remember), so did they really make up?
WHY ARE GIRLS DOING THIS? Why are we being taught that it is more important to get the guy than to stick with your girl? Why is friendship once again being devalued when compared to a romantic relationship?
The second option is visible in basically all the popular YA novels with female protagonists. Let’s check out goodreads most popular books of 2011, shall we?
Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick (#23) is part of the Hush, Hush series. What happens to Vee and Nora’s relationship once Patch is in the picture? Seems to me like Vee fades quite a bit into the background, which is really too bad considering she’s the more interesting character of the two.
Crossed by Ally Condie (#24) is the second part of the Matched trilogy. Didn’t Cassia have female friends before she started going ga-ga for Ky? Well, you don’t hear about them in Crossed!
Don’t even get me started on Passion by Lauren Kate (#25) of the Fallen series. Luce’s best friend in the first series freaking dies because of her and Luce is barely affected. Yeah, I definitely want Luce as my best friend.
This is another side-effect of romantic relationships being put on a pedestal. The message being thrown at us over and over again is that being in love is fun, finding a hot guy with dark a past who for no apparent reason is in love with us should be our life’s goal, and friends are only there for those scenes before we meet HIM or for after he breaks our heart for our own protection. And I for one am tired of it.