Friday, 9 February 2018

The Importance of Platonic Love!

Ah February, the month of love.  (Or the month of waiting 15 days and buying all the cheap half price chocolate which I guess is the same thing really...)  Hearts are being revealed, soppy statuses are being shared and it really does seem like love is all around. 
With the exception of ‘Galentines Day’ this is a very romantic heavy month in every single way – from the adverts on TV to the inside of shops and yet media wise there is no clear difference between the material being released now than the films and shows that will air later in the year.  Now and later on a good 80% of them revolve around girl meets boy, they fall in love, end of story.  

Not only is this ridiculously heteronormative but it also doesn’t seem to represent anyone I know accurately – a lot of the times in these rom-coms the main characters best friend is a very present character for about half the film but slowly the love interest seems to take over and push the platonic relationship aside.  Yet in my own friendships this doesn’t happen; my best friends are still my best friends no matter what my relationship status is. Yes I am still young; the majority of my friends are only just starting relationships (or like me are still single) but even those friends are not suddenly a ‘background friend’ because of their new romantic status and I know of several other people for who this is also true; and for me personally at this point in my life I am much more invested in platonic relationships that I am in romantic ones. 

A quick scroll through any social media feed shows me half a dozen or more posts about friends; night out with the lads, night in with the girls, don’t know where I’d be without this one, etc. so I feel that I am not alone in my appreciation for friendships.
But why do we rarely see platonic love represented on screen?  Is it impossible to show both romantic and platonic love in the same media?  I don’t think so; there are many popular shows which revolve around platonic love.

Take Friends for instance, even as the group moved through relationships, jobs, marriages, babies and yet more marriages the focus still managed to stay on their friendship.  Too many times in the media we see amazing, healthy friendships suddenly vanish into the background when one of them finds a relationship. The show started with the six of them on screen and, despite several other main characters and significant relationships who could have been put into the final scene, it finished with only the six of them on screen.

Friends in the first episode and friends in the last; how many times does that happen?  I could list several shows off the cuff where it starts out with it’s a completely different story.  I mean ‘Friends’ is the title of the show so maybe I shouldn’t read too much into it but right now it is the only show I can think of that puts platonic relationships on exactly the same level as romantic ones and I think that’s a shame.  So much of what we see in the media feels like a representation of a ‘dream life’ – perfect hair, wonderful job, amazing partner, that when our actual lives (alright hair, okay job, non-existent partner) aren’t anything like that it can sometimes feel disheartening and like a bit of a let-down.  The shows that have a focus on platonic love on the other hand don’t feel like such a stretch, at least for me anyway, I already have wonderful friends so seeing that in the media doesn’t feel out of reach or untouchable, it feels realistic and like I actually want to keep watching.

Am I alone in this? Maybe.  Am I thinking too much into it? Definitely.  I don’t really know what the solution is – other than to put more friendships and platonic relationships into TV shows and films.  I want the ‘month of love’ to actually look different from the rest of the year in terms of content rather than just being a little pinker.  

Healthy, platonic love is one of the best things reality has to offer and I firmly believe that general forms of media would benefit so much from including it more, making it a focus and not side-lining the best friend off when the main character gets a boyfriend – we wouldn’t stand for that in our lives so why should it be the norm in fictional ones?

Love (platonically) 

Twitter: @eloisewrites
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Eloise is an up and coming writer who is a well established bloggers and runs one of the biggest blogging communities on Twitter. Eloise writes about an assortment of topics from the implications of being 'femme' the the lack of queer representation in YA literature. Her loves include tea, books, writing and dancing around to musical theatre

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