Saturday Morning Cartoons: Girlfriends

Welcome to Saturday Morning Cartoons, a segment where four artists take turns delighting you with their whimsy, facts and punchlines on Saturday mornings! Our esteemed cartoon critters are Cameron GlavinAnna BongiovanniMegan Praz and Yao Xiao. Today’s cartoon is by Cameron!


girlfriend

Cameron is an illustrator hailing from Ohio. When she’s not drawing, she’s probably very, very quietly having loud thoughts about: queer things, her eventual shop, what to watch next on Netflix, food, names for her future pets, and tumblr.

Cameron has written 67 articles for us.

72 Comments

  1. Disappointed! I read the first panel and thought that this was going to be about poly lesbians 🙁 SO SAD!

    I am also confused 100% of the time that straight people talk about their “partner.” I’m always like, “oh, I’m gay too.” >:|

    • If it’s anything, it’s pretty common and unremarked on in the UK for a straight person to refer to their partner. As in, ungendered reference in that way is the norm, and tends not to be used specifically to refer to a queer relationship.

      Though I understand, maybe in a different culture, this is completely different and the usage is actually really annoying! So,sympathies there :/

      • As another UK person, I agree. It’s just a general term for any fairly committed couple relationship of any gender combo if you are adults and not married. To me it means any adult relationship past college age where you probably live together or are headed that way.

        I do often use partner myself because bi invisibility. I like to keep things gender neutral as long as possible in the hope I won’t get automatically lumped into the straight category.

        I kind of like girlfriend too, I like the quaintness of it. And I like to believe everyone is at least a little bit gay, so I like the sense of possibility. But if I was actually looking for a partner I can see it would be annoying…

      • As another UK person, I agree. It’s just a general term for any fairly committed couple relationship of any gender combo if you are adults and not married. To me it means any adult relationship past college age where you probably live together or are headed that way.

        I often use partner myself because bi invisibility. I like to keep things gender neutral as long as possible in the hope I won’t get automatically lumped into the straight category.

        I kind of like girlfriend too, I like the quaintness of it. And I like to believe everyone is at least a little bit gay, so I like the sense of possibility. But if I was looking for an actual girlfriend I can see it would be annoying.

        Cartoon is perfect, though!

      • Yes, this is absolutely how it works in the UK, especially once people get to a certain age and/or level of relationship commitment. It seems to be a bit different in the US.

        Personally, I really like ‘partner’ for its gender neutrality.

    • I get confused about that too. I feel like it’s also a trend that’s mostly popular among young, politically conscious (feminist) people, which annoys me. It’s fine to prefer a different word, but if it’s to try to be less heteronormative, you’re failing.

    • YES! I hate it when people do that. First of all, I’ve been trying for way too long to get people to stop automatically using the word “partner” when they find out I’m gay to have it suddenly start being a trendy thing straight people do. Second, stop confusing me or trying to make us the same or… what are you doing? We’re not the same and you’re making me think we are and that’s not fair.

    • I like it because girl friend is often used in a subtlety possesive way. “This is john” (who is an independent person) “this is John’s girlfriend Sally” (who exists in relation to John). Or maybe they have a non traditional relationship? I like that it is not gender specific, women usually get the short end of that stick, and some people are gender fluid.

    • People are upset about straight people using “partner,” but I like it. A gender-neutral, marriage-neutral word for a primary romantic attachment is one more step away from a heteronormative culture in which marriage is the end all be all.

    • I like using the term “partner” regardless of the gender of person I’m with because it’s more descriptive of the nature of my relationships. For me personally, “girlfriend/boyfriend” feels kinda… high school. “Partner” implies an equal partnership in creating a life together, y’know?

  2. Cameron, thank you! I love looking at the milky colours and textures this week. I just woke up and got excited to check your post! I just moved to Canada for. Europe where NOBODY says ‘girlfrind’ unless it’s a romantic kinda situation. The use of ‘girlfriend’ platonically throws me every time here and it quite annoying. I already think everyone is or should be gay so it only encourages me. Also, I have a severe cat allergy and can testify it is absolutely because of straight ladies throwing around a term that has complex coding for my lady-loving community.

  3. This is great Cameron, thank you 🙂
    Totally reminded of how I’ve tried to come out my cousin recently with repeated use of ‘girlfriend’. She is JUST. NOT. GETTING IT. She actually keeps specifying for me that I mean ‘friend’ , which is like a weird and horrifying reverse of this whole thing.

  4. It confuses the crap out of me when straight girls do this. I’d imagine for femme lesbian couples, this makes it even harder for people to belive them when they mention their girlfriend. People just assume you mean friend. -_-

  5. Straight-lady usage of the word “girlfriend” once led me to attempt make-outs, but instead of kissing, I got to have this fun convo:

    Her: “Wait, no, I’m sorry! I’m not…”
    Me: “Oh, no, *I’m* sorry. I thought…?”
    Her: “No! I mean, that’s cool, but I’m not…Thanks, though!”
    Me: “Oh. You’re welcome?”

    To be fair, there were other misread signals, but I’m glad to hear that it’s not just me who finds this usage completely baffling.

  6. so i was at a bar the other day, like ya do, reading and drinking, when this young woman sits next to me and we start chatting — she’s p. sad about this boyfriend crisis she has going on, very complicated, and she’s just ordering a second beer when she says “oh look, my girlfriend just texted me, she’s here, you two will love each other,” and i’m like “aw, no shit, you’re also non-monogamous?” but she’s like “oh my – my girlfriend girlfriend – my i mean – my friend – girl. friend.” these are dangerous times. language is a lumbering beast.

  7. i don’t mind the term girlfriend, friend + girl = girlfriend. it reminds me of how my mum used to describe her school friends in the 1950’s (before lesbians could use the same word out loud). what i do hate though is straight girls using the term “wifey” to describe their best friend! if you are not married, you are not having SEX, she is not your wife!!! where’s the cartoon/public service announcement about that?

  8. Suggestions to replace “my girlfriends”:

    The girls (my step-grama uses it and is tight like the GGs with her lady-buddies)
    The squad
    The crew
    My amigas (but is that appropriation because I like that one the best
    My lady-buddies
    My sestras
    My lady-friends (can not be used in singular)

    I never mentally sat down and thought of replacements until the comic strip and I am a thinker type, but to be far I have lots of thoughts and sometimes it kills my in front of my face thinking.

  9. OK, I’m not the age group that most of you are but I really, really loathe the use of girlfriend and gal pal ’cause they both sound so infantile and trivialised to me. It’s also probably a non US thing too. On this I’m with the Europeans in that partner, seems so much more inclusive and gender neutral as well as respectful of an adult committment. Friend will do to.

  10. This is brilliant, and reminds me of an actual conversation I had with my mom a couple months ago, in which I was attempting to come out to her as poly without having to explain what poly means-

    Me: “So, you know how S and I have an open relationship? I think I’ve mentioned it before?”
    Mom: “Yes, you have. Why?”
    Me: “Well, I have a new girlfriend.”
    Mom: “…Do you mean friend girlfriend or girlfriend girlfriend?”
    Me: …
    *facepalming hard* “Girlfriend girlfriend.”

    I’m still unclear as to how she needed the clarification in that particular instance (S is also a woman; I have been out for many years; etc.). I blame society at large.

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