The long-awaited reality series “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys,” highlighting the unconventional relationship between heterosexual women and gay men deputed on the “Sundance Channel” on Dec. 7. The show is produced by Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, the gay producers of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
And the show is going to be a great reality series.
Because “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys,” reveals how honest and raw interpersonal dynamics in friendships emerge among unconventional and fiercely loving and supportive relationships between heterosexual women and straight men contradicts the dominant views of gender and sexual identity coupling.
And the show not only gives a human face to this reality of straight women with gay men as their “best friends forever” (BFFs), but the show also highlights our universal yearning for a person with whom we have a feeling of deep and natural affinity, love, intimacy, spirituality, and compatibility — irrespective of race, gender and sexual preferences.
Straight women with gay men as BFFs are not an anomaly. And the entertainment industry has successfully captured that reality.
For example, television sitcom “Will & Grace” that aired from 1998 – 2006 was about a gay male lawyer, Will Truman, and his BFF, Grace Adler, a Jewish woman who ran her own interior design firm. And, also, in 1998 the romantic comedy “The Object of My Affection” starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd was a story about a pregnant New York social worker and her gay male BFF.
But back in the day “women who like men who like men” were called “fag hags,” a slang that originated in U.S. gay male culture that some heterosexual women still find insulting.
Straight women who have rejected the label “fag hag” argue that lying at the etymological root of this moniker are misogynistic stereotypes. And they feel that the term is not only derogatory about them, but that the term also demeans and distorts their rich relationships with their BFFs.
But there are many other women who have also lovingly embraced the term. Comedian Margaret Cho regularly talks about being a fag hag in many of her stand-up routines and she has written the now famous and oft-quoted piece “On Being a Fag Hag.”
“I am fortunate enough to have been a fag hag for most of my life. A fag hag is a woman who prefers the company of gay men. The marriage of two derogatory terms, fag and hag, symbolizing the union of the world’s most popular objects of scorn, homosexual and woman, creates a moniker that most of those who wear it find inoffensive, possibly because it smacks of solidarity. Some women have come to me urgently expressing their desire for a new name.”
While it is clear that the unconventional coupling of gay men and straight women disrupts heterosexist patriarchy, it also debunks the stereotypical assumptions hoisted upon this distinct demographic group.
Gay men whose BFFs are straight women are perceived to be effeminate, or “wanna be females” or looking for a gay-friendly mom, while others are perceived to embody internalized homophobia or relationship phobia.
The commonly held assumption about straight women whose BFFs are gay men is that they are the world’s female rejects, who are annoying, clingy, and incapable of intimacy. In other words, they are the consummate “dumpees” of failed heterosexual relationships. They are perceived to register low, if at all, on the sexual attractiveness, social self-worth, and body esteem scales that they seek safe refuge in the “gay world.”
But the stereotypes are far from the truth. As a matter of fact, in a 2009 study conducted to test the hypothesis if there is any truth to the negative stereotypes surrounding “women who like men who like men,” research psychologist Jesse Bering wrote in “Scientific American Mind” that straight women with a lot of gay male friends actually fare better in life. The study found “the more gay male friends that a woman had, the more sexually attractive she found herself,” meaning these women either surround themselves with hot guys who happen to be gay, and/or gay men laud their BFFs with so many compliments it helps these women to perceive themselves to be attractive.
“We are from all walks of life, all classes, all ages, all races; straight, lesbian, and somewhere in between. We are as diverse as we are numerous. The common bond that we share is our alliance with gay men, a connection that is both nurturing and powerful, sweet and sour, retail and wholesale,” Cho wrote.
“Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” is a must-see!
But what might the general viewer not understand about these women?
The friendships that “women who like men who like men” have are a special bond like no other. Gay men have an innate capacity to connect on deeply emotional and spiritual levels with women that is too often not experienced with heterosexual men. And with these friendships devoid of any sexual tension and competition for the same male suitors, it’s easy for both gay men and straight women to open up to each other.
And let’s also be honest, “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys” will give viewers an opportunity to see why so many women — across sexual preferences — say, we “enjoy having our gay men friends because it’s like having a girl friend in a boy friend.”