The “Girl Crush” Problem

Sarah E.

I’ve noticed a trend of various women figures (some more well-known than others) using the term “girl crush” to describe women who they claim to feel deep appreciation for, ostensibly on (mostly) non-sexual/romantic levels.

I’m pretty sure that the women who use this expression aim to present as heterosexual. While they may comment on the physical qualities of their said crush, thus playing into the double-standard that a straight woman can find another woman sexy and not be labeled lesbian or even bisexual, while a straight man who does this is usually considered gay (even with the growth of metero-sexual “bromance” culture), this usually isn’t the case. While physical appreciation sometimes is suggested, It’s much more likely to hear women comment on another woman’s humor, activism or spiritual focus, or life mission as the reason for their “girl crush”.

I’m not out to stop heterosexual-labeled women from expressing desire and admiration for other women, romantic or otherwise. What I do find troubling, however, is that the term “girl crush,” often used as an all-encompassing phrase to describe appreciation of other women in a (mostly) non-sexual/romantic context, isn’t available to those who aren’t heterosexual women.

As individuals who appreciate others on a spiritual path/ activism path/whatever path we consider ourselves on, it seems we are in need of better language to describe this deep appreciation. “Girl crush” has emerged in our language as a stand-in that, until now, seems only available to straight women.

It is challenging to talk about the profound draw we have for people of all genders and sexual orientations. But we deserve better than the limited phrase “girl crush” to describe this something-other soul connection. I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions for how to describe the deep, intense appreciation that is (not exclusively) romantic between two people, regardless of gender.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!


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