I love you, man: gendered narratives of friendship in contemporary romantic comedies

Karen Boyle, Susan Berridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


This article begins with a simple observation: there are very few contemporary Hollywood films in which women are shown becoming friends. This is in contrast to the “bromance,” in which new connections between men are privileged, yet this pattern has gone largely unremarked in the literature. This article has two aims: to sketch this pattern and explore reasons for it through comparing the “girlfriend flick” and “bromance.” To do this, we first discuss those rare occasions when women do become friends on screen, using Jackie Stacey's work to understand the difficulties this narrative trajectory poses for Hollywood. This raises questions about the relationship between the homosocial and homosexual which set up our comparison of female and male friendship films and provides the rationale for our focus on the beginnings of friendships as moments where tensions around gendered fascinations are most obvious. The films discussed are Baby Mama, Step Brothers, I Love You, Man, Funny People, Due Date, and Crazy, Stupid, Love. The differences we identify hinge on issues of gendered representability and identification which have long been at the heart of feminist film scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-368
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Issue number3
Early online date7 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • film
  • female friendship
  • homosociality
  • bromance
  • comedy


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