Queer Women and Their Straight Female Friends

 
 

2. JANE (WHOOPI GOLDBERG) AND ROBIN (MARY-LOUISE PARKER) — BOYS
ON THE SIDE
(1995)

Out lesbian musician Jane meets Robin when she answers an ad for someone looking
for a cross-country driving companion, in this serious and poignant film about
friendship, love, and AIDS.

Although the two women don’t hit it off right away — Jane initially tells
her, "I’m sure there’s somebody out there who wants to go cross country
with the whitest woman on the face of the earth, singing Carpenter songs and
reliving childhood memories, but it ain’t me" — the two woman end
up forming a friendship that survives the cross-country road trip, the revelation
of Robin’s HIV status, and ultimately, her death a few years later.

It was hinted at and eventually revealed that Jane did, in fact, fall in love
with Robin, but their relationship never becomes romantic, even as Jane tends
to Robin in her final days. Just before she dies, Robin asks Jane, "It
was me you loved, wasn’t it?" When Jane tells her "yeah, still do,"
Robin squeezes her hand and says, "Well, I loved you, too."

Although the movie itself has garnered mixed reviews, Robin and Jane’s relationship remains one of the most moving friendships between
a lesbian and a straight woman ever portrayed on screen.

Typical dialogue:

Jane: Well, Holly told me that you didn’t know I was gay.
I don’t want you to worry because…You know, I’m not after you.
Robin: I’m not worried….Why?
Jane: Luck of the draw, I guess.
Robin: No, I mean, why aren’t you after me?
Jane: ‘Cause you’re not my type.
Robin: Oh….Gee….Is this a black-white thing?
Jane: It’s more like, uh, blondes-Carpenter thing….You’re
safe with me.

1. BUFFY (SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR) AND WILLOW (ALYSON HANNIGAN) —
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
(THE WB/UPN)

Friends who meet in high school, Buffy and Willow become close through years
of fighting evil, adolescence, and occasionally, each other on this long-running
supernatural drama. Buffy falls in love with a vampire and struggles to accept
and control her fate as the defender of the human race, Willow falls in love
with a woman, and struggles to control her growing power as a witch.

Although
Willow’s low self-esteem initially gives Buffy more power in the relationship,
their friendship becomes more egalitarian over time as Willow matures emotionally
and magically, and Buffy learns to rely on Willow’s support (even if Buffy arguably remains somewhat self-absorbed).

Their friendship is sweet and playful, but also confrontational when necessary,
and always grounding. When Willow comes out in college, Buffy is surprised,
but quickly supportive; when Buffy sleeps
with a woman
in the graphic novel that picks up where the TV show left off,
it leads to a humorous conversation between Willow and Buffy about how they
aren’t each other’s type, anyway.

They help each other through darker times, too, like when Buffy has to kill
her boyfriend, and when Willow turns evil and almost destroys the world after the death of her girlfriend.

But that’s all in a day’s work for these two — one of the most enduring,
and evolving, friendships on American TV between a lesbian and a straight (well, mostly straight) woman.

Typical dialogue:

Buffy: Will, what do you got for me?
Willow: Some ideas. Well, notions. Or, theories based on
wild speculation. Did I mention I’m not good under pressure?
Buffy: I need you, Will. You’re my big gun.
Willow: [alarmed] I’m your – no, I-I was never a gun. Someone
else should be the gun. I, I could be a, a cudgel. Or, or a pointy stick.

Let us know your favorites in the comments (and international readers,
please let us know about some of the great pairings in shows/movies we might
not have seen).

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