Women Need to Give Up on Having a Gay Best Friend: Stop fetishizing gay men

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Ava Angle

Woman watching gay anime characters kiss

Ava Angle, Opinion Writer

Many women are guilty of fetishizing gay men and it’s revolting. From the desire for a stereotypical gay best friend to the feminization of their appearance, this behavior has become too normalized and overlooked. Some female authors feel the need to write about an experience that isn’t theirs. Popular books like “Love, Simon,” “Heartstopper” and “Red, White & Royal Blue” are all written by women, just like the majority of gay media. No matter your sexuality, if you aren’t a gay man, you have no right to depict gay media.
Shows and movies like “Mean Girls,” “Sex Education” and “Clueless” all have characters with the gay best friend stereotype. Even if the actors are gay themselves or seems harmless. Some definitely are harmful such as “Isn’t It Romantic” and “Glee.” Gay best friends depicted in films are typically overly feminine, flamboyant and gossipy. Masculine gay characters are rarely depicted in shows. They hardly ever have an individual personality. This makes unassuming viewers believe that every gay guy acts that way.
“Personally I’m not really that bothered by it but it does make me feel a certain way, like my entire personality revolves around my sexuality when I’m more than that as a person. Sometimes the ‘gay best friend’ stereotype does get to me though…, when my straight girl friends describe me as that and only that to other people around them,” freshman Alex Steele said.
This issue isn’t limited only to America; it’s prevalent worldwide. Asian dramas and yaoi (gay romance anime) are big contributors to the fetishization of gay men. The main issue is that the target audience for this genre is primarily women. Anime in general has a big influence on the fetish with examples like “Ouran Highschool Host Club” and “Kiss Him, Not Me” that show MLM (men loving men) fan service, which consists of two characters of the same sex having a romantic scene with each other to make the opposite sex flustered. Not to mention, most yaoi cosplayers are women as well which isn’t surprising but is still disgusting. Even if you were to argue that it’s innocent and harmless, the argument wouldn’t stand for every point. Some yaoi cosplayers even create mature content marketed to other women on subscription websites. I don’t understand how dressing up as gay men can ever be seen as okay. Many fandoms “ship” or want certain characters to have a relationship even if there is no romance. Every single fandom has shipping in it, whether or not it’s bands, shows, books or games, they are all affected. If you can think of it then it probably exists. It’s weird and creepy especially for music artists. I can’t begin to imagine how finding sexual art and fanfiction of yourself must feel when you are just simply existing. The defense for consuming mature MLM content is that it isn’t catered to the male gaze and isn’t full of toxic masculinity but there is plenty of straight media that isn’t created by men and their social standards. It’s hypocritical how we judge men for fetishizing lesbian relationships if we don’t hold women accountable for doing the same thing.
These stereotypes are harmful and happen all the time, on the internet and at school. Not every guy wants their sexuality to be their only personality trait or the only reason you are friends. Let people live without labels and be who they want to be. Stop fueling double standards and think twice before calling someone your “gay best friend.”