1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Need imput (mainly from females)

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alesia, Apr 9, 2013.

    Ok lemme clear this up. Despite my username (long story dealing with my obsession with the Gauls), I am a male.

    Now, on to the question.

    My latest project is female BFF's (best friends forever) going through a really tough time together. They've known each other since infancy and have been inseparable since then. That said, I'm having trouble figuring out how close they can come together without skirting same sex romance. (Personally I don't have a problem with them getting a minor crush on each other while still maintaining their heterosexuality, but there's alot of unfortunate narrow-minded people in my life that would never let me live it down if there was even a HINT of same sex going's on). I guess what I mean is I don't really know how female friendships work. The idea for the book was given to me by a female friend, and she's helped alot, but I'd like to cover alot of bases.
     
  2. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    Publish under a pen name if you're worried what people you know will think. (I'm male and have little authority on the rest of your concerns.)
     
  3. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    But this is the thing, I want them to be extremely close without turning it in to a femslash piece. I don't know if girls can develop a "crush" of sorts on their BFF without it implying anything sexual. My girlfriend says it can happen.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know how male friendships work, so it's difficult to answer your question without any examples of the things that you're considering. I know that women can generally say positive things to one another, compliment one another, be directly supportive, and so on, while I suspect that men are less comfortable communicating these things directly? I have the possibly false notion that men tend to jockey for position, set up a pecking order, express affection with insults, that sort of thing.

    However, a "crush" feels unlikely, if you mean the heart going pitter-pat when the person comes in view, and mooning dreamily over the other person's silky hair and alabaster skin, that kind of thing.

    Got any more details for us?
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've never heard of it really being a "crush," but female friends, especially ones who have been friends since infancy, could absolutely be extremely close and friendly without a sexual element. I've heard some questions of this sort before, always from men, and it's left me a tad puzzled but also intrigued at what seems to be a dichotomy between how men and women think. It strikes me that men are always looking for a sexual element. Men seem to be looking for it more than women.

    I was recently at a critique group where a group of men and women reviewed some short stories. One woman wrote a short story about a woman who had been in a bad, abusive marriage and she fled to a friend's house. The friend was another woman. In reviewing the story, one of the men in the group asked if there was some sort of lesbian element to the relationship with this woman. The answer from the author was no. We did a little poll to see who thought this element was present. (I found the question somewhat baffling and surprising, because the thought had not even occurred to me.) Interestingly every man in the group had wondered this. None of the women had, and none of the women thought this was even a possibility.

    Given all of this, I'm not certain it's even possible to write your story of a female friendship without at least some men seeing lesbianism.

    But, I'm also wondering why you've chosen to write about 2 female characters if you don't feel comfortable doing so, and say that you don't understand female relationships. It can be hard to write a character of the opposite sex -- some people can't do it. Others, however, can do it easily. I'm just wondering, though, if it's right for you, given that you already feel some discomfort and unease in doing so. Just something to think about. If the characters really need to be female, and it's important to write this story, then go for it.
     
  6. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    It's still in the planning stages. It was a rough plot a female friend gave me to work on for fun because she says she can't write. What I'm uncomfortable with is how close girls can become without same sex lust coming into play. Her vision is heterosexual. I know girls hug, they can sleep in the same bed, cry on each others shoulders, share stories, and stuff like that.

    On that point, it's like there's some kind of rampant fetishism with lesbian fiction among males right now. It seems like every story I read involving two women, especially if it's written by a man ends up a femslash piece. One example goes as far as video games. I was talking about Final Fantasy XIII with a buddy, there's two characters (Fang and Vanille for those of you familiar) and they pretty much view each other as sisters. No mention of sexuality is given, though I think Vanille has a boyfriend, yet our conversation inevitably turned to if two women are very close, they MUST be lesbians, or at the very least Bi. The same thing goes on among men. If you're closer than arm's length with another guy you MUST be gay.
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    "Writing the Other" is always a matter of research, research, research. There's a lot you can do about research. For example, I'm writing a female superhero of sorts, and so I read up on a lot of feminist critiques of women in comic books and video games. Talk to your female friends and ask them what is important to them in their same-sex friendships, how that differs from opposite-sex friendships, etc. I'm sure there is a plethora of non-fiction written on this subject. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus is one, though I've never read it, but stuff like that. You can also find dissertations or other published works on sites like apa.org and proquest.

    In your research, just be careful when you find one-sided arguments. Try to find truth in them, but also be a critical thinker and know when it's just a stereotype.

    But the most important thing to understand about "Writing the Other" is to first make them a person, second make them a woman. Their actions are not "because they are a woman." (DEFINITELY not "because they have PMS.) But because they are a person. This person happens to be a woman, and that my influence their decisions, but it doesn't necessarily drive them.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're assuming that closeness will lead to sexual attraction, even among two same-sex heterosexuals? If not, could you clarify what you mean?
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    As a female with no sexual interest in other women, I can't relate to your premise. Why would a very close friendship overlap into a sexual attraction? I don't get it. Would guys do that? Close brothers or sisters?

    I'm all for sex with friends, guys that is. Been there, done that. And I'm all for being friends with the man I love. But the idea a close friendship with another woman would have sexual undertones, just don't see it.

    That's my take, anyway.
     
  10. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Is the question "Is this Typical?" or "Is this possible?" because they are very different questions.

    "Is this typical?" I agree with people here that this is certainly not typical, and that a typical close friendship between two girls can be very intimate without ever becoming sexual. My girlfriend has a best friend who is basically her sister, and she is no way attracted to her physically. That is most common.

    "Is this possible?" Just because it isn't typical for close women friends to develop "girl crushes" doesn't mean it doesn't happen, and it certainly doesn't mean it can't happen in a story, where anything can happen. Some people are gay, some are straight, some are bi, some are mostly straight but fall in love with one person of the same sex and have no attraction to anyone else of the same-sex. Some may be almost entirely straight, but have a one-time fantasy about a friend, and never act on it.

    The possibilities are endless.
     
  11. Terralala
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    Terralala Member

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    First separate Love and Sex, my best friend and I were born within two months of each other and have been inseparable ever since and I absolutely love her. We have no sexual attraction to each other although I wouldn't be surprised it if someone who didn't know us very well assumed we were flirting with each other. Because of that, I am not sure I will be much help, but I will try.

    I think it is important to note that there is no clear cut line, Female friends can be just as sexually inappropriate around each other as males are with their friends without it meaning anything sexual. Heck, in college my BFF and I used to hide a dildo (it was a gag gift from another friend) in odd spots around our house for each other to find, it was a running joke in our house. Try not to read to much into it, you don't need to specify that there is no physical/sexual relationship in my opinion. If I was reading a book about two friends I wouldn't assume there was a sexual relationship between the two unless that was implied via physical actions or internal thought, I would simply assume they were good friends and if anyone assumes differently that is because of their own preconceived notions about females and sexuality.
     
  12. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I'm not assuming, I'm thinking of the reader base. It goes back to what I said about males in society today seem to have some fetish about lesbian romance and will read that into any mention of affection between two women, regardless of weather or not it has been stated that they are heterosexual.
     
  13. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I don't think they'll necessarily "read into it," and assume it's a lesbian relationship, but might wonder if it's going to happen. You can be extra clear about the nature of their relationship, however.
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    In that case, it sounds like what you need is not input from females about what might actually happen, but input from men about what they think would happen - because what men might think seems to be your primary concern. I can say that it shouldn't be your primary concern, but if it is, it is, and in that case perhaps writing works that contain two female characters just isn't for you?
     
  15. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Some of these responses are interesting. I think you can definitely write it without it becoming femslash. Some people may choose to find homoerotic subtext. There's a big difference between emotional and physical intimacy. I've noticed men are not as comfortable being emotionally intimate with their friends as women are. I'm straight and have had close male friends where nothing romantic ever came of it or was ever desired from either party. I've never had a female friend I felt attracted to in that way. How I see it is I have a deep admiration and commitment to my close friends. It's a social/emotional attraction, if that makes sense. I desired their company and admired many qualities about them yet I had no desire to date any of them. So I think it's absolutely possible seeing as my experiences are proof of that. :p

    I often compliment my female friends and try to be encouraging and uplifting to them when they are going through something rough. I am a very touchy feely person as well so I hug on people a lot. How people handle physical contact or express love varies widely from person to person. I've had female friends who hated being touched even when upset. When I'm upset the first thing I want is a hug. If anything a lot of my friendships with women are more relaxed because there's always been the understanding neither of us wanted anything romantic out of the friendship. I don't worry so much about being too affectionate or too effusive because there isn't the concern that it will be misread. Now that I think about it I am definitely more physically and verbally affectionate with female friends or male friends who I know have no interest in me romantically. Especially having a serious boyfriend I am more careful about it.
     
  16. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I understand your concern, Alesia, and there's a reason why I tend to avoid a lot of manga and anime. If you wanna play it safe, give your ladies boyfriends or male love interests. Are you writing from limited 3rd person? First person? Omnipotent narrator? If you glimpse into your characters heads (and you should), there will be little to no misconceptions about the nature of their relationship.

    Let's just say that there's always the chance that some dude will go "omg, when are they gonna kiss?" and some chick go "omg, girls are so not this gay around one another." People are very different, and BFFs can walk hand in hand -- or they don't. BFFs can practice hickeys on another in elementary and junior high school -- or they don't. I had a BFF, and we practically never touched, but we were emotionally very close and hung out together all the time and talked endlessly about boys. If your characters have strong sexual identities and can clearly identify as heterosexual, they will probably be more comfortable around one another.

    And maybe... don't make a big deal out of physicality? If you mention they are hugging and holding hands in every chapter, it's like "why is the author putting so much emphasis on this?" It won't look natural.

    And note that some people love to "accommodate" to a stereotype.

    Word.
    Yet don't underestimate the impact womanhood can make on a person's identity. To some the sex/gender matters less, to some more.

    Pfft, the number of things I do because of PMS... or "because." People (and women) are different, so let's drop the 'definitelys', yeah? I'll take the heat gladly if someone starts complaining about my portrayals of 'how things go to hell while PMSing'.

    Signed by: Mrs. Why-Do-My-Knuckles-and-Shins-Hurt-Like-Crazy-Today.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Alesia, I don't understand your question - what *is* your question?? :confused:

    Can BBF have a crush on each other even if they're hetero? Well, I think it depends on the age. I've never had any sexual desires for women, so I can safely say I'm straight, but seriously, I thought I had a crush on one of my best friends (also female) when I was 16. But then again, during adolescence, most people go through a phase where they try to figure things out, and sexuality is certainly one of them. I remember speaking to an older woman in her 50s, asking her if what I felt was normal, and she said that in her generation, it was absolutely normal for girls to have a "crush" on each other and it didn't mean anything sexual. I never quite understood the concept, but it did put me at ease (yes, I was terrified that I could be a lesbian, it was a rather confused time. I never desired that friend sexually, the idea never even crossed my mind. But somehow I wanted to be close to her, be the most important person to her, be "special" to her - in short, I'd become an obsessive stalker for a year or so. Friend never found out lol) These feelings never came back either, for the friend or for anyone else.

    If you don't now how to work on BBF - maybe look at sisters who are very close.

    Hmm, I'd really encourage you to be more specific with what you're asking. You laugh and hug each other, you even stroke each other's hair - but say, stroking their hair whilst gazing into their eyes would become undoubtedly romantic, I don't do that. Sometimes I touch my girlfriends' hair, but usually from the back or side. We hug, maybe even a really tight hug - I'm quite short so it always means my face goes into the girls' boobs, which always results in hilarious laughter. That's fine. But now, would I *snuggle* into their boobs? No. The thought is creepy for me. When I was hanging out with 3 of my girlfriends, at some point 2 of us started comparing boob size lol - no idea how that started - and I wondered what bra that girl in question was wearing. But I never wondered what she looked like in her bra. I was curious to see if her boobs were smaller/bigger than mine (I was insisting that hers was bigger) but I had no feeling about it beyond that of curiosity - like, I wonder how tall that guy is or I dunno, where this chocolate was made. It's just a fact that had little emotional meaning to me.

    I dunno, does that help show you some distinctions? lol
     
  18. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this post is hilarious; seeing differing points, aspects of what makes a friendship, a crush. Where the line is drawn from that frienship to something more physical. The girls here have little clue about how guys work and vice versa.

    Personally I have no idea what goes on in a woman's mind, I wouldn't even venture a guess. What I do know however is girls are not as homosexually uptight as men. Straight girls love gay guys, straight guys not so much. Straight girls will kiss each other (passionately) on a dancefloor then go home with a guy. There is not enough money in the world for a straight guy to kiss another guy in that way. Girls will use the cubicle 3 at a time to Pee - guys need the stall either side vacant. Girls will compliment each other on each their butt, boobs, hair and dress. Guys wouldn't even notice there friend's new hair colour.

    Straight girls will read about F/F friendships, pyjama parties etc, straight guys will wait for the sex between them and will probably be dissapointed when there isn't any. Men are from mars etc
     
  19. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Totally agree with Chicken on this one -- I think what you might really need is input from males about how they read this friendship.

    But, you also initially wrote:
    Who are these people? I've always been under the impression that men enjoy a good lesbian scene. Not a scene between two men - never. But a scene between two women? They're all for that. So, first of all, I don't think most women are going to see sexual undertones if you don't put any in the story. So your question is really with the men in the reading audience. If they're going to see sexual undertones, almost regardless of what you do, is that really so bad? Even if there were sexual elements in the relationship, most women (certainly not all, but most) probably wouldn't be too bothered by it -- they might not relate, but that would be okay. For men, it seems like they'd be okay with it, too. So who is in this target audience that will be offended? Again, I get the issue with guys -- my husband, to his day, has utterly refused to watch Brokeback Mountain, even though it was a really good movie. He will not watch it no matter what. If the plot were about two lesbians, I wouldn't refuse to watch it. But my husband probably would have bought the DVD ;-)
     
  20. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I could totally go for a manly beer with your husband! The movie "I love You Phillip Morris" made me cringe - put me off Jim Carey for life! Now if it was "I love you Phillipa Morris" with Jennifer Anniston....
     
  21. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had not heard of this movie, but it sounds very interesting. There's no way I'm going to be able to sell my husband on it, though. I sent him an email to ask him, just to see how vehemently he will refuse to watch.
     
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  22. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I always thought a crush was a desire to have a romantic relationship with someone, so I'm not sure why hetero female friends would have crushes on each other. Maybe it means something different these days? I'm nearly 40 and don't know the lingo anymore. :)

    I know female friends that will cuddle up together, hug, hold hands etc. and it is completely and utterly non-sexual or romantic in any way. I think women are, sometimes, much more accepting of physical contact, and their sense of security and closeness comes from touching. Isn't that why we want out guys to cuddle us after sex? lol
     
  23. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not sure an "out-guy" is gonna have sex with you in the first place :)
     
  24. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Keep in mind this is all so cultural. In India, for example, male friends hold hands in public all the time, while women generally don't touch each other. It's kind of flipped.
     
  25. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    My friend is in the same age range and that's why I used the term "crush' because that's how she put it. And she said the same thing, it wasn't sexual, but I'm not sure what exactly "crush" means in that context, say if you were writing thoughts or actions.
    Not necessarily a "target' audience, rather my homophobic family and a few narrow minded friends. I love sharing my work with them, but if I cross a certain line in their mind, they'll never let me live it down. Some of them even if they kiss once, that's enough for a bitching out session. But a kiss doesn't HAVE to be sexual. Thelma & Louise comes to mind, they have a small kiss right at the end. It's well established they are both straight.
    Can I borrow this lol? It's pretty funny because one of the girls is about 6'2" and the other is 5'8"
     

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