‘Girl Crush’: The Straight Woman’s ‘No Homo’
Girls having crushes on other girls has, to no one’s surprise, been going on for thousands of years. In the last few years a new term has hatched from the gargantuan egg that is pop culture to describe said feeling – that term being: ‘Girl Crush’. ‘Girl Crush’ is a term used by women to categorize women of whom they think highly, however the term does more harm than it does good. Now I am all for admiring women, in fact, I think the world is severely lacking in its adoration for women everywhere. So when it comes to women supporting other women, I’m so in. Women building each other up instead of tearing each other down? Yes, please. Girl Power?! All aboard! What I can’t get down with, however, is the implications that come with the term. Urban Dictionary defines ‘Girl Crush’ as,
I’m not sure what this definition of ‘Girl Crush’ has that wouldn’t fit under the terms role model or idol. Urban Dictionary defines a crush as,
Forgive me if I have trouble seeing the overlap.
The problem with labeling a woman as your ‘Girl Crush’ is that by adding “girl” in front of “crush” you are announcing that it is not a regular crush, but a ‘Girl Crush’, sidestepping any misconceptions about your heterosexuality. By including “girl”, women are able to declare feelings of love, lust, infatuation, you name it, while still remaining in the sphere of hetero safety. Just as men will say “no homo” when talking about a man they admire – because being mistaken for anything other than straight is so mindblowingly horrible – women use this term as a shield of protection from anyone wrongly assuming that they fit under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. It’s understandable that straight women would want to protect their heterosexual identity since we live in a society where queerness is often seen as unnatural and radical, but by trying to avoid being cast as queer, they are further contributing to queerness being seen as abnormal and less than ideal.
The issue that arises is that without directly trying to (or even meaning to!), women who use this term are further ostracizing queer women with genuine romantic feelings, attraction, or lust for other women. So I have to ask, when the spectrum of sexuality is so wide and encompassing – what’s so wrong with having a good ole’ fashioned same-sex crush? By using ‘Girl Crush’, women are able to play in the sandbox of the girl-on-girl world that is so sexualized by men without having to deal with any of the mess. They get to wipe their hands clean and go back to their playground of hetero privilege while queer women are left with the mounds of discrimination (x, x), increased risk of rape and sexual assault (x), and prejudice on a daily basis.
If you are reading this article and realizing that you are a repeat offender – don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all said things without thinking of what the implications might be. But next time you feel the words ‘Girl Crush’ on the tip of your tongue, maybe stop and think for a second. Consider who you might be leaving in the sand while you swing from monkeybar to monkeybar.