Political tensions rise around the world and produce more and more resistance. Nigerians are protesting SARS and the US presidential election is only eight days away. Highlights: Centering friendship, controversy over the BMA selling art, white women love fall, niche sports, southern hip-hop, the white gays, the Godzilla in all of us, HBCUs and Kamala Harris and mass incarceration, and the second presidential debate.
As a country, while we’ve shifted over the past few decades what constitutes marriage and who has the right to marry, “what hasn’t shifted much is the expectation that a monogamous romantic relationship is the planet around which all other relationships should orbit.” I’ve heard and made the case for centering friendships for years. Mostly, I’ve heard these conversations in queer spaces and amongst Black, Indigenous, and people of color—but women more specifically. Over the past year or so, however, I feel like I’ve seen more and more white people who don’t identify as queer centering friendship—and not marriage—in their lives. There has been a resurgence of friends that “live in houses they purchased together, raise each other’s children, use joint credit cards, and hold medical and legal powers of attorney for each other. These friendships have many of the trappings of romantic relationships, minus the sex.” This type of relationship was more common in the 19th century, but became less accepted as “men and women’s divergent social spheres began to look more like a Venn diagram, enabling emotional intimacy between the genders.”
While a shift back toward intimate friendships might have been growing for decades, the pandemic has highlighted the need for diversity in one’s relationships and not expecting to receive “emotional support, sexual satisfaction, shared hobbies, intellectual stimulation, and harmonious co-parenting” all from one person. “Such totalizing expectations for romantic relationships leave us with no shock absorber if a partner falls short in even one area. These expectations also stifle our imagination for how other people might fill essential roles such as cohabitant, caregiver, or confidant.”