Mention Brittana to almost any gay lady and odds are the reaction you’ll get will be somewhere between an appreciative “awww” to a full-on “squee!” They’ve soaked into our pop culture vocabulary and earned a special place in our portmanteau couples hall of fame.
But after reading the mainstream recaps for this week’s episode of Glee, I’ve realized that mentioning Brittana to straight audience could elicit an entirely different reaction. I’d put it somewhere between a confused look and some random comments about Britain. The mainstream media has focused heavily on Kurt and his coming out, as they should. But they’ve largely ignored the unlabeled, but now undeniable, relationship between Brittany S. Pierce and Santana Lopez.
A sampling of Brittany-Santana recap mentioned from the mainstream press/blogs:
From Entertainment Weekly:
From TV Guide:
From Vanity Fair:
From The Atlantic:
From Television Without Pity:
From The A.V. Club:
Right, so if I’m reading those right they see Brittana relationship as erotic, confusing, straight, non-existent and/or all-about Artie. And don’t get me started on the bird kisses thing – what does that even mean? Naturally, this is not how I or most of you probably feel about Brittana.
What has struck such a vibrant chord about the Brittana coupling, besides the fact that they’re smoking hot cheerleaders who scissor, is that they remind many of us of our own nascent teenage lesbianism. (Or current nascent lesbianism, for others.) Maybe you fell in love with your best friend. Maybe you fooled around with your best friend. Maybe you didn’t label it. Maybe you weren’t out. Maybe one of you was more into it, or less in denial, than the other.
Don’t be frightened, straight America, but this is happening in high school everywhere. It’s real, not just salacious.
Much has been written in the straight and gay press about the impact of Glee and its overtly gay themes. Kurt and out actor Chris Colfer have been deservedly heralded. In the same recap this week, EW said (yes, in bold and italics): “Kurt is the most important character on television right now.”
That could very well be true. Watching Kurt face an often unkind world with courage and strength each week is an unspoken promise to all LGBT kids out there that it really does get better. But we shouldn’t forget the ladies, either.
For gay women, Brittana is every bit as engaging, albeit on a smaller scale, than Kurt is for gay men. Their legitimate, if unlabeled, relationships matter to us. We’d like it if it mattered to you, too.