Straight Best Friend: Inverting G.B.F.’s Failed Attempt at a Political Statement

original-print“The presentation of this fairy-tale ending, where everyone lives happily ever after, neglects to address the conflict between the three girls and their horrific treatment of Tanner. This quick and sloppy resolution trivializes the abuse Tanner faces and thus normalizes gay submission to those in dominant social roles.”
—Susanna Penfield, Jules Olliff, Jess Keniston, and Winston Xu (Block 4 2016)

“The color scheme of the poster, and entire movie, is itself a binary that further enforces gender and societal divisions. Despite the sparkles and pastel-tint that render the title and background slightly more effeminate, and thus more gay, the primary colors are still blue and pink. Due to its predominate size and position, the pink title G.B.F. fills the upper half of the poster while the bottom is predominantly blue. This contrast points to the constructs society has imposed on male-female relationships and the separation that is maintained between behaviors of the two sexes.”

“Although the trailer for G.B.F is an attempt to satirize the behavior of individuals who sensationalize sexuality, the trailer devotes little time to showing Tanner’s plight, treating him like a minor character. The trailer’s focus on the other characters’ struggles detracts from Tanner’s own journey. The trailer reiterates several times how having a G.B.F is beneficial to one’s social status. ”

sbf“The difference lies in the character’s sexuality as Tanner has now “come out” as straight in a society that has embraced queer to be the status quo, meaning that the three depicted women are all meant to be homosexual. This, however, is not evident in the revised print as each character is presented as confident and autonomous, firmly grounded and perpendicular to the surface they stand on regardless of gender or sexual orientation.”

“By creating a world where queer women possess the mainstream narrative, we lend voices to individuals that are typically overlooked by the media. This, in turn, highlights the widely accepted notion that heterosexual men naturally occupy a dominant space. This choice counters the heterosexual norm, while pointing out the ridiculousness of normalized shock and tokenization that are common reactions to homosexuality.”

More than Friends: Subverting NBC’s Friends

Original Print“At first glance, Friends is an innocent, family-friendly sitcom. However, it contains problematic and discriminatory themes, reinforcing hegemonic expectations […] Friends serves as a medium through which white and heterosexual hegemony are reinforced.”
—Lyric Jackson, Nathan Makela, Jamie Baum, and Eliza Mott (Block 5 2016)

“As the women in the photo are wearing lots of makeup wearing and revealing clothing and the men are not, we see that they are shown in ‘postures of sexual submission, servility or display,’ subtly perpetuating the ‘dehumanizing objectification’ of women.”

“While other popular sitcoms have been critiqued for perpetuating racial stereotypes, Friends succeeds in almost completely erasing racial minorities altogether […] Homophobia and transphobia are also apparent throughout the show. Any lifestyle straying from heteronormativity is used as a source for humor, reinforcing gender and sexual stereotypes.”

New Print“With a racially diverse group of individuals that are not just white or black, we eliminate the erasure of people of color and challenge the problematic black-white binary. This also prevents the perpetuation of the white superior as the ideal” (Chidester 157).

“Television has limited its standards to monogamous relationships that thrive on heavy commitment and possessive social interactions. We decided to shift the tone of the trailer to be more relaxed in order to deviate from the hypersexualization of polygamous relationships. In our new show, we extend the conversation beyond such limited perspective and create a much more inclusive environment.”