Commentary

If Stories Treated Straight Couples Like They Treat Queer Couples

As we’ve learned from numerous popular works, showing a basic romance is impossible. Kissing is too gauche for a general audience. The word “love,” especially preceded by “in,” doesn’t sound natural in dialogue. And if you look away for one second, a character dies senselessly. That’s why we’ve all seen these headlines about our biggest hits.

After Touching Arc With Aragon, Arwen Goes West and Marries Whats-Her-Name

Arwen says If ever I was to marry someone, it would have been Rosie. Aragorn asks: who's that again?

In the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy, Arwen is forced to choose between following her people into the west as her father wishes, never to return, or staying with Aragorn even knowing that she will outlive him. In a touching show of loyalty and devotion, she ultimately chooses to stay with Aragorn.

Of course, once Sauron is no longer an issue, Arwen stops hanging out with Aragorn to do what she actually wants: go hook up with Rosie. You know, that one elf chick we saw dancing in a brief panning shot in Rivendell. Rosie never seemed to factor into any of Arwen’s decisions during the trilogy, but apparently Rosie is the one for Arwen. Before she heads into the west to marry Rosie, Arwen gives Aragorn a big hug. After all, she’ll never see him again.

Angel Spin-Off Canceled After Character Is Killed by Stray Bullet

As Angel lays dying, Buffy asks: How did this happen? No one was even trying to kill you!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer broke ground when Buffy started a straight relationship with the sweet Angel. He might have seemed like he was Buffy’s new best friend at first, but a season after they started dating, they finally had their first kiss onscreen.

Their heartwarming relationship was so popular among fans that the network announced that Angel would be getting his own spin-off show set in Los Angeles. Then tragedy struck. In trying to kill Buffy, an incompetent minor antagonist accidentally shot and killed Angel instead.

At this point in the show, Buffy had already been resurrected twice, and her old love interest, Faith, had been resurrected once. Even so, the show’s writers specified that with Angel’s demise, death is now very permanent. According to the network, they falsely promised a spin-off because it was the best way to make Angel’s pointless death feel even more upsetting.

Anna Stands in Proximity to Kristoff

Standing next to the main cast, Anna says: I belong here. With these people. Maybe including that guy.

After the blockbuster that was Frozen, many straight watchers expressed opinions that the character of Princess Anna was heavily straight-coded. In many scenes, she appears to be romantically interested in men, and she has a whole song that heavily hints at her desire to get to know a man a lot better. And while her sister, Elsa, romances two different women in Frozen, Anna doesn’t have a love interest. To get Disney to do the right thing, many fans publicly called for Anna to have a boyfriend in the sequel.

In a possible attempt to appease these fans while not angering heterophobes, Frozen 2 forwent the usual female love interest for its princess and instead introduced a handsome young man named Kristoff. He exchanges a couple cute lines of dialogue with Anna, and at the end, Anna decides to stay with his people, which must include him. Isn’t that romantic? It’s just like in a fairy tale.

Watson Insists He and Mary Are Not a Couple

John Watson sits next to his bride on his wedding day, saying: Why does everyone always think I'm straight?

In BBC’s Sherlock, John Watson develops a close partnership with Mary Morstan and quickly moves in with her. Seeing the two together, every character on the show other than Watson seems to think that their relationship is romantic. Whenever someone suggests it, Watson gets defensive, insisting he’s not straight. For her part, Mary says that having a girlfriend “is not really her area,” but when asked about a boyfriend, says she’s married to her work.

However, the creators of Sherlock would like us to know that any hint of romance between Watson and Mary is entirely in our imaginations. The suggestive comments from side characters may be identical to romantic buildup in other TV shows, but this time it’s not romantic because… because. Ignore the fact that Mary is walking down the aisle in a white dress. She and Watson are just friends who live together and care about each other deeply.

Kylo Ren Develops Spontaneous Backstory With New Ex-Boyfriend

Kylo Ren walks with three storm trooper behind him. He says: Meet my old trooper team. FYI, I'm still hot for the guy with the shoulder pad.

After The Force Awakens, fans were delighted with the camaraderie between Rey and Kylo Ren. These enthusiastic “Reylo” shippers were rooting for a straight romance between the characters, leaving the director of the The Last Jedi with no choice but to exile Rey to a side mission with little plot relevance. She may have been a central character, but this way she didn’t have too many exciting moments with Kylo Ren. The Last Jedi also introduced a new woman to be her love interest and inserted an unexpected shirtless telepathy scene between Finn and Poe.

However, these valiant efforts didn’t push away the straight-shipping fans. So Disney had to make it clear how very gay Kylo Ren is. Sure, the plot of Rise of Skywalker was already crowded without introducing a spontaneous backstory and new hot guy for Kylo to hit on, but priorities, people. Destroying hope in the straight romance comes first; telling a good story comes second. As to the success of this first priority, Disney officials were asked if they knew what a “bi” or “pan” person was, and they seemed confused.

Rowling Declares Harry Dated Ginny Offscreen

A group of Howarts students poses for the camera, Harry and Ginny among them. A fake tweet from Rowling states: Harry and Ginny are completely in love here. You can tell by the faint glow in their cheeks. Blogger’s note: just in case anyone is confused, this tweet is fake.

Shortly after the release of the last Harry Potter book, J.K. Rowling dropped a bombshell by telling everyone that she always saw Harry as straight. In fact, he at one time had been deeply in love with Ginny Weasley. Excited by this news at first, fans have increasingly asked why the relationship never came up during the story. After all, Harry and Ginny’s history was important to the plot of the final book.

In the years since Rowling’s announcement, the Harry/Ginny relationship hasn’t been depicted in any movies, stage plays, or in the Pottermore online community. However, Rowling assures us that it was intense and passionate.

Romeo and Juliet Are “Like Brother and Sister,” but They Still Die

Romeo embraces Juliet as he leaves after their night together. Romeo says: I can't bear to end our completely platonic secret slumber party. Juliet responds: I don't want to be part for even an hour, friend. Because you are such a good friend.

Who can forget the classic Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet? It’s created a lot of controversy recently, as some scholars have argued that maybe the relationship between Romeo and Juliet isn’t entirely platonic. During the story, Romeo and Juliet have an intense friendship behind the backs of their feuding families. Their activities include meeting with a friar to conduct some kind of ritual and then having a secret two-person slumber party afterward.

Despite this radical new non-platonic interpretation of the text, most performances continue to depict their relationship as like brother and sister. That is, up until their deaths at the end.


We get it: romance is hard. Thankfully, all the romance problems here have one simple solution. Don’t be a coward.

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Comments

  1. Jeppsson

    I LOVE THIS!!!!

  2. Cay Reet

    Ew … kissing in public. How could straight people ever do that

    It’s always interesting to twist a scene or a plot around and see if it would still work.

    • Dernhelm

      Yep, it’s sad how a ton of children’s stories are fine with the villain kidnapping the heroine to marry her or bad guys like Jafar and Jabba Hut forcing women at their mercy to change into revealing harem costumes (with all the disturbing implications) and the princes kissing unconscious women yet two men kissing are treated as obscene and potentially traumatizing to children’s sexuality.

  3. Rivers

    I love the Blogger’s note. 10/10 post.

  4. Omega

    You know what really irritates me? It’s that every romance in mainstream entertainment is depicted as asexual. As an allosexual, I feel as though we are starved of representation.

    Even more disappointing is when stories show a romantic couple that look like they might actually be sexual, just for them to have a gratuitous cake-eating scene together out of nowhere.

    • Cay Reet

      I agree … it would be nice to know they’re sexually active, even if it’s not outright depicted. You can always stop at the point where they’re walking into a room after a dialogue which makes it clear what they’re about to do or when they tumble on the bed or something similar. That would still make it clear they’re also sexually involved.

      While it is true that cake-eating can be better than sex, sex definitely is better for your shape

  5. Julia

    The snark is strong with this one.

  6. J. M.

    Was the gay couple in Star Wars supposed to be Poe and Finn? Also, Sam and Frodo would’ve made an adorable couple. I mean, two small hobbits who’ve gone on adventures together? What’s not to like? You could argue that Frodo’s expression in Return of the King was sort of sad when Sam got married, but Sam and Frodo could’ve at least kissed in the end.

  7. Ems

    I’m a straight ally and everything, I just don’t think they should be depicted in kids media, you know? It’s just inappropriate

    • P. G. Macer

      From a fellow straight: Unless you also feel straight couples shouldn’t be in kids’ media as well and with the same stringency, you are exhibiting a double standard. There is nothing inherently more sexual or inappropriate about same-sex* couples than opposite-sex couples. LGBTQIAP+ children exist, and seeing examples of them in their media helps show they are valid. To make such people and relationships adult-only is to imply they are taboo and make things harder for such children.

      *There’s almost certainly a more non-binary-inclusive way of wording this, but I don’t know how to write it.

      • Cay Reet

        I think something like ‘non-heteronormative’ might work, but that’s a huge word to sling around.

        I agree with you, though. There’s no reason not to show every kind of romantic relationship in a kid’s story – especially to the degree it’s usually handled, which might include handholding, hugging, and kissing, but hardly anything sexual. Children should see that every kind of relationship exists and is okay, that if they feel love for someone of their own gender (or someone non-binary), that’s as okay as the ‘regular’ heterosexual couple. That being non-binary is just as okay as feeling comfortable being a definitive gender.

        • Coolname

          The problem ive always had with “heteronormative” as a word, is that its actual meaning is something like “different average” and its hard to learn from a second language. I dont know any better term, but that one is pretty bad.

          • Juliette

            “Queer couples” is a good term if you want to encompass all of it.

          • Cay Reet

            Yeah, the problem is we don’t have a regular, simply word for that.

            Queer couple leaves out the non-binary folk, too, I think, so it’s not an ideal solution, either.

          • Juliette

            Queer encompasses everyone in the community, including non-binary people. It’s an umbrella term for anyone who isn’t straight, cis, allosexual, or all three. So it doesn’t leave anyone out.

    • Cay Reet

      Explain what you think is inappropriate about two men or two women holding hands and sharing a kiss. We’re not talking ‘hot, steamy gay sex’ here, we’re talking about the regular way media for kids presents a romantic couple.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      For the record, I *believe* Ems is mocking the idea that queer relationships shouldn’t be in fiction with a post that’s like “I’m an ally to the straights but I just don’t think they should be in kids’ stories.”

  8. Paphvul

    This is all so true, it hurts.

  9. AuntieKitty

    I think you missed the satire of the post you’re replying.

    They were joking about *straight* couples being inappropriate for kid’s media, paraphrasing the way homophobes say the same thing about same-sex couples.

  10. Mrs. Obed Marsh

    She-Ra actually gave a straight couple the gay treatment – never explicitly establishing they’re more than very close friends – while establishing multiple gay romances as canon!

  11. Lexy

    This post made my day and is now my new favorite post from you!! :’D Absolutely brilliant, thank you so much! The Ginny and Harry one that was meant to represent Grindeldore got me good. X’D

  12. Sophia

    Can someone explain the Frozen one to me (like, not in the upside down version)? I didn’t pick up on anyone being a love interest to Elsa, so I’m pretty lost.

    • Cay Reet

      In Frozen 2, Elsa has a love interest, but not in the first movie.

      Since Anna has both interest in Hans and in Kristof in the first movie, she has two male love interests, so if you turn that upside down completely, then Elsa (the other sister, upside down #1) would have had two female love interest (other gender, upside down #2).

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      To clarify a little more, in Frozen 2, Elsa spends a few scenes interacting with the Northuldra character Honeymaren. I don’t think she’s actually named in the film, so I had to look that up. This is not explicitly a romance, but the way they talk and interact is still *coded* as one, in a way that’s very easy for Disney to deny if any homophobes get mad.

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