What Brittana looks like to the straight world

Mention Brittana to almost any gay lady and odds are the reaction you’ll get will be somewhere between an appreciative “awww” to a full-on “squee!” They’ve soaked into our pop culture vocabulary and earned a special place in our portmanteau couples hall of fame.

But after reading the mainstream recaps for this week’s episode of Glee, I’ve realized that mentioning Brittana to straight audience could elicit an entirely different reaction. I’d put it somewhere between a confused look and some random comments about Britain. The mainstream media has focused heavily on Kurt and his coming out, as they should. But they’ve largely ignored the unlabeled, but now undeniable, relationship between Brittany S. Pierce and Santana Lopez.

A sampling of Brittany-Santana recap mentioned from the mainstream press/blogs:

From Entertainment Weekly:

In more surprising couples news, Artie and Brittany teamed up for a duet and ended up sleeping together! Um WTF? I was totally caught off guard. But even more surprising was Brittany actually showing emotion when Artie felt hurt by her using him. Are we beginning to see shades of Brittany beyond the classic dummy? It seems so. We also got a fairly erotic bisexual moment between Santana and Brittany. (So I guess their make outs weren’t just all talk.)

From TV Guide:

Elsewhere, while Brittany and Santana make out, Brittany wonders whether they can do a duet together, but Santana is not about to make that commitment.

…. On the other love train, Brittany attempts to hit on Artie in hopes of getting him in a stroller, and probably because she wants a duet partner. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it makes Santana jealous.

…. Do you think Brittany has real feelings for Artie?

From Vanity Fair:

Santana/Brittany: Despite overt avowals to the contrary, Santana and Brittany finally and fully get their lez on in this episode, horizontally speaking. Of course, it ends badly — and dude-ly — like it always does in straight girl soro-mances. But for an instant, I thought they might finally sing my longed-for rendition of Prince’s “Computer Blue”—or at least stop that weird bird-kissing and take a bath.

From Gawker:

OK, what is up with Brittany and Santana? Brittany is clearly in love with Santana, but is Santana in love with Brittany too? And did Brittany really have feelings for Artie? Does that mean she’s not a lesbian. God, life is so much easier with sexual labels!

…. Wow, Brittany and Santana really have the most complicated and interesting relationship on primetime television.

From The Atlantic:

Brittany and Santana make out? Brittany and Artie make out? Brittany stares brokenheartedly into the distance after Artie dumps her EVEN THOUGH THE SHOW HAD IMPLIED SHE WAS ONLY DATING HIM TO MAKE SANTANA JEALOUS, WHICH ALSO MAKES NO SENSE? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

From Television Without Pity:

Meanwhile — and get ready for this — Brittany and Santana Lopez make cuddly plans to sing together until poor little Brit-Brit gets all weird and clingy about the whole thing, so Santana Lopez teams up with former rival Mercedes instead.

From The A.V. Club:

(Nothing. Only a mention of how Brittany’s sleeping with Artie affected him.)

Right, so if I’m reading those right they see Brittana relationship as erotic, confusing, straight, non-existent and/or all-about Artie. And don’t get me started on the bird kisses thing – what does that even mean? Naturally, this is not how I or most of you probably feel about Brittana.

What has struck such a vibrant chord about the Brittana coupling, besides the fact that they’re smoking hot cheerleaders who scissor, is that they remind many of us of our own nascent teenage lesbianism. (Or current nascent lesbianism, for others.) Maybe you fell in love with your best friend. Maybe you fooled around with your best friend. Maybe you didn’t label it. Maybe you weren’t out. Maybe one of you was more into it, or less in denial, than the other.

Don’t be frightened, straight America, but this is happening in high school everywhere. It’s real, not just salacious.

Much has been written in the straight and gay press about the impact of Glee and its overtly gay themes. Kurt and out actor Chris Colfer have been deservedly heralded. In the same recap this week, EW said (yes, in bold and italics): “Kurt is the most important character on television right now.”

That could very well be true. Watching Kurt face an often unkind world with courage and strength each week is an unspoken promise to all LGBT kids out there that it really does get better. But we shouldn’t forget the ladies, either.

For gay women, Brittana is every bit as engaging, albeit on a smaller scale, than Kurt is for gay men. Their legitimate, if unlabeled, relationships matter to us. We’d like it if it mattered to you, too.