“Gal pal” is one of the news’ favorite phrases nowadays, especially tabloid “news.” Whenever there was a story last year about Kristen Stewart, for instance, there had always been a mention of her good gal pal, Alicia Cargile. Her good, live-in gal pal. Her good gal pal who she lives with, kisses in public, and holds hands with.
Gal pals, who in fact were confirmed to be dating, but were still labeled as “galpals.”
Why is the media so afraid to simply come out and say that two women are dating?
The term "gal pals" is irritating at best, and low key homophobic at worst. Women who date other women already have a difficult enough time trying to explain to people that they’re dating. This insistence on labeling relationships between women as not-gay-at-all-thank-you-very-much is incredibly offensive. "Gal pals" gives the connotation that there is simply nothing romantic going on in the relationship, even when there are incredible amounts of evidence to the contrary.
It’s hard to explain why “gal pal” is such an irritating word. It’s just about as irritating as introducing your partner as your girlfriend, and having people assume that she’s just a good friend, because of the straight women who insist on calling their other straight female friends their “girlfriends.” Why is this trend so prevalent in our society today?
A gal pal gives the connotation that the person that you’re with is a platonic friend, not someone you could be dating. Calling someone’s girlfriend their gal pal is disconcerting, and highly offensive. In no situation has a man’s girlfriend been called his gal pal, and in no way will that ever happen.
A man with a woman is perceived as romantic, without a doubt, but when a woman is seen holding hands with a woman, or kissing her, the media insists on branding them as gal pals, refusing to acknowledge the fact that there is the possibility that they are dating. The term is insulting. It makes relationships between women seem frilly and illegitimate, like they’re something to be overlooked.
This phrase ignores and invalidates the females who are involved in the relationship. Being labeled as “gal pals,” or more accurately, “just friends” is incredibly insulting and offensive, particularly to the people who are in the relationship in the first place.
For instance, Rose and Rosie are a popular couple who make videos on YouTube together. In 2015, Rose and Rosie got married, and many of their weddings photos were sprinkled around the Internet, to be found by straight girls. (Here is their wedding video!)
Two women, holding hands and walking down the aisle together, can only ever be seen as platonic. Getting married to a woman is “friendship goals.”
It's entirely exhausting to have your relationship branded as straight, especially when you know that it's not. When the two women in the relationship express how irritating and insulting it is to be shown as "gal pals," that is something that must be addressed.
The heteronormative society that we live in pushes for the labeling of female-female relationships as entirely platonic. Language is important, and the way that we use our language can express either positive or negative connotations towards the things that we perceive. Delegitimizing someone's relationship using these kinds of terms is what continues this pervasive trend.
A man's girlfriend is not his "pal." His wife is not his "pal." You call her what she is -- his girlfriend, his wife. Why is it any different when it's a woman who is in a relationship with a woman?