CW: mentions of homophobia.
Are you a queer woman who’s tired of having your relationships hypersexualised by the male gaze in mainstream culture?
Me too. It’s an age-old issue; queer women feeling that they can’t be intimate in public with other women, for fear of a leering lad making a comment, or staring… or worse. I grew tired of men telling me that it was “so hot” that I was bisexual – unluckily for them, it turns out they were never really on my radar anyway.
Enter the latest TikTok trend (ignore that I’m slightly behind on the trends – that app is banned from my phone) of two female friends kissing each other. The sound “two best friends in a room, they might kiss” went viral on TikTok, creating the perfect breeding ground for straight friends to kiss each other for internet clout and male attention.
Maybe I’m thinking about it too deeply – a lot of straight girls probably don’t understand why this is an issue. Ever since my mum was sneaking into clubs underage, female best friends have been kissing each other for attention and free drinks from men. It’s a long-accepted joke on a night out. An ex-boyfriend even told me once that he didn’t mind if I kissed other girls during our relationship.
Here’s the issue: it’s this trivialisation of female-female relationships which sees people still questioning whether I mean “like… just friends or more than that?” when I tell them about my ‘girlfriend’; a question I was never asked upon introducing a boyfriend.
Not only does it wholly trivialise relationships between women, but it also perpetuates the notion of female sexuality only existing to serve the male gaze. I’m sure none of the girlies kissing for TikTok clout have never been told by an aggressively straight lad called Tom that he’d ‘turn’ them. I’m sure they’ve never had their sexuality so explicitly sexualised by its exact opposite target audience.
Lesbians have fought for years to have their sexuality recognised and accepted as a complete decentring of men. I promise we aren’t simply ‘waiting for the right man’ and I’m sure that 3 minutes of your mediocre jackhammering won’t convince me of that. When men are then centred in sexual situations which do not cater to or concern them, it reinforces the idea that female-female relationships exist purely to serve the male gaze. That two women kissing is such an overtly dirty and hypersexual act that we should feel ashamed for doing that which straight couples do so freely.
So why is this so widely considered socially acceptable? ‘Girls Gone Wild? Heterosexual Women’s Same-Sex Encounters at College Parties‘, a study by Megan Yost and her co-author Lauren McCarthy in Psychology of Women Quarterly, found that 33% of college women in the US reported kissing their mates at a college party. One of the most highly reported reasons for this is encouragement from boyfriends and 56% of women reported a desire for male attention as their motivation…herein lies the issue.
Simply put, if you consider yourself an ‘ally’ and you post pictures of you kissing your mates on your insta, neck your mates for free drinks on a night out or – god forbid – you’ve made one of these TikToks – you are not an ally. You are actively contributing to these issues that I’ve raised – inadvertently or not.
Please, listen to the queer women in your life when we beg you to stop doing this. Trust me, I understand the lure of a free drink, but please… think twice about it next time that kissing your best mate is the forfeit.
Image courtesy of Santiago Blando.