Friday, August 12, 2005

(Over-) Analysis of the "Girl-Crush"

Aaron has ordered me to take on the "girl crush," so here goes. But first, look here and here. Indeed, this is "man-date" all over again, and is hardly news.

But as for the NYT article itself, I have the following comments:

1) What are we asking of the Thursday Styles, the Symposium? The categories of relationship "discovered" by the section will never be especially deep, challenging, or creative.

2) If this were the Village Voice, these women would be advised to take their crushes to the next level. Frankly, I, too, would suggest that some of these women who say, "My heart races when she's around, I'm too nervous to talk to her, but oh no, no sexual feelings whatsoever," are probably on the verge of discovering some important things about themselves.

3) No one says "girl crush." While the terms "girlfriend" and "boyfriend" would also sound ridiculous if you'd never heard them before, you have. "Girl-crush" has not, and will not, catch on.

4) For the record, I do not have a "girl-crush" on Amanda Peet. I do, however, have a hair-crush on Debra Messing's hair, a dog-crush on two Great Pyrenees puppies I met yesterday, and a flan-crush on the flan at Bouley Bakery. If crushes can be asexual, why not crushes on hair, dogs, and pastries?

5) What happens when a straight woman with a so-very-now "crush" on another woman discovers that her crush is reciprocated? I don't think a lesbian or bisexual woman who discovers that the woman she's into has a crush on her, but not in that way, would be so pleased. The phenomenon of "girl-crushes" desexualizes women's interest in other women, which is good insofar as it allows for a range of types of attraction, but bad in that it makes things extra confusing for those with honest-to-goodness crushes on other women.

6) Dippy as the "girl-crush" article may be, it's kind of, kind of, onto something. I've seen this behavior, when straight young women get extra-attached to a female friend, preferring this friend to all others, overlooking obvious personality flaws in this friend, and so on. Girls who are "attached at the hip," most frequently until a boy enters the picture. It's crushy behavior, but it doesn't appear to be sexual in the sense of people wishing to have sex with one another.

7) But do all crushes, even the traditional, non-asexual kind, have sex as an end goal? Crushes many people have up through high school (and occasionally beyond) have sex as an end goal in only the most abstract sense. Someone too immature to have any sort of physical relationship may still develop a crush. Someone who truly believes sex is for married people only, who doesn't think of sex as an option, may still have a crush. People who are gay often remember the crushes they used to have on members of the opposite sex, without finding the need to denounce these crushes and claim their inherent impossibility. Crushes happen, and can't be taken back, even if they conflict with a person's overall preferences. So the "girl-crush," while silly-sounding, and while neither new nor worth noting, is nevertheless a somewhat real phenomenon.


Rachel said...

I have been using the term "girl crush" since senior year of high school. It is widely and liberally used in some circles, although I always took the meaning as the way a younger woman feels for a female mentor, not intra-generational. For Example my big girl crush was on an economist from Harvard who runs marathons, studies urban poverty, has a loving marriage, collects art, looks great and raised two kids.

Anonymous said...

i also use the term girl crush a lot, as do other people i know