The Rise of Delayed Marriage and Female Friendship – article from The Atlantic
Speaking of friendship: there is an account on Twitter whose owner sticks up for friendship and sometimes blogs against the Christian obsession with marriage or the stupid Billy Graham Rule. That account is (Link): Forbidden Friendships (@ )
The Atlantic has a very long article about societal shifts concerning the delay or demise of marriage and the rise of female friendships, as they discuss it in the context of some television show called “Broads” that is about two lady friends. I’ve never seen the show.
(Link): Broad City and the Triumph of the Platonic Rom-Com by Megan Garber
The show’s new season asks what its heroines, Abbi and Ilana, are to each other: friends? Partners? More?
….Abbi and Ilana share, basically, what a lot of young women—and young men—share in this age of delayed marriage and emergent adulthood and platonic roommates and geographic peripateticism and economic prosperity and economic uncertainty: a friendship that occupies the psychic space that used to be devoted to spouses and children.
While the (Link): marriage plot may still, dissolved and distended, drive many of Hollywood’s cultural products, Broad City reflects friendship’s age-old, but also new, reality: The show is suggesting that its heroines are already, effectively, married. To each other.
…The women’s partnership [which is platonic; they don’t have sex with each other], crucially, is not merely a matter of social circumstance; they aren’t simply keeping each other company until their respective dudes carry them along to their Happily Ever After. They are each other’s Happily Ever After. The pair, as Ann Friedman (Link): put it, are “more obsessed with each other than they are with men.” They are very probably the loves of each other’s lives.
Which makes Broad City, on the one hand, yet more evidence that we are living, as The Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg (Link): put it, in “a golden age of female friendship.”
Recent culture is rife with encouraging examples of female friends, from the BFF to the sorta-frenemy: Leslie and Ann (and Donna and April) on Parks and Recreation, Meredith and Cristina on Grey’s Anatomy, Alicia and Lucca on The Good Wife, the women of Bridesmaids and Mad Max: Fury Road and Girls and Orange Is the New Black.
… It’s a culture, too, that is increasingly ambivalent about marriage as its own kind of #squadgoal. (Link): Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own —Kate Bolick’s book-length follow-up to her article (Link): “All the Single Ladies”—emphasizes the promise of a post-marriage world. Rebecca Traister’s upcoming book (title: (Link): All the Single Ladies) promises to do the same.
As far as Hollywood goes, even the shows that purport to be the definitive new rom-coms involve narratives that either reject or ironize the marriage plot. Married offers matrimonial realtalk. Togetherness offers the same. You’re the Worst plays up the “o no” in “monogamy.”
Master of None questions whether marriage is an “outdated institution.” So transformed have the traditional norms become that New York magazine recently (Link): claimed that the old, aspirational standby—marriage and two kids—has become “a most scandalous fantasy.” Matrimonormalism is out; friendship—and all its possibilities—is in.
What that amounts to is a culture that is not only recognizing the primacy of friendship, but trying to carve a space for it. A culture that is trying to turn deep, passionate friendship—best friendship, platonic life partnership of the Fey-Poehler and Broad City vein—into its own kind of category.
…While, today, friendship has been (Link): at least partially relegated to secondary status—as Tara Parker-Pope (Link): pointed out in The New York Times, even sociologists and psychologists tend to downplay its effects in favor of those of romantic love—female friendship is also, Yalom and Donovan Brown argue, on the rise
…The friendships, here, aren’t competing with romantic relationships. They’re not treated as “ancillary.” Nor are they making, à la Thelma and Louise, subversively feminist statements. Instead: They just are.
…Friendship, so long relegated to second-class status as a category of relationship, is reclaiming its place—as a social institution, and as a pursuit worthy of human time and attention and love.
Related Posts or Material:
On Twitter: Forbidden Friendships (@ )
(Link): How the Sexual Revolution Ruined Friendship – Also: If Christians Truly Believed in Celibacy and Virginity, they would stop adhering to certain sexual and gender stereotypes that work against both