Same-sex relationships, straight people, and Facebook

By , September 18, 2009 11:08 am

Last month, Daisy posted about straight people – usually women – “in a relationship” with people of the same gender. From the comments:

I’m quite sure that these women aren’t trying to trivialize lesbian relationships — I just think that’s the result. In order to have people I don’t know well take seriously my listing on FB as “in a relationship” with my girlfriend, I need to also list myself as “interested in women.” I find this annoying, because I’m not interested in anyone but my girlfriend. If the majority of female/female relationship pairings on FB weren’t jokes, no one would assume mine was a joke too.

While I hadn’t really considered the nature of Facebook relationships before, I agree that placing non-romantic same-sex relationships on Facebook on the same footing as romantic relationships has the ultimate effect of diluting those actual romantic relationships.

Earlier this week, I was at a bar with some friends and one of them had to go outside for a few minutes for a phone call. Someone asked who she’d been talking with and she said, “Oh, my wife.” She and I had talked about this a while ago, before Daisy’s post, because I noticed on Facebook that she and this friend were listed as “Married.”

She’d said that their relationship was really that close, that they were much more intimate than mere friends, and that – no – the weren’t actually romantically involved; they both identify as ‘straight.’

I didn’t really give it much thought at the time but, because of Daisy’s post, I’ve reconsidered. This friend and I are actually on pretty close footing in terms of how we view feminism and sexism in American culture, and have had good discussions about how to deal with sexist jokes made by friends (or friends of friends). I’d kind of like to bring this discussion up, and maybe I will when I see her this weekend, but I’m not sure how, or what specifically I’d hope to accomplish.

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