I can’t pinpoint the moment, or the scene or the words that were being said when this happened. Maybe it happened gradually.
And I was excited about them from the “sex isn’t dating” comment. I was. But it still didn’t move my little fannish heart to shipping them. I’ve cited several reasons in the past — some of them more offensive than others. As a queer woman, I have felt some pressure to ship them, and yet, never have been able to get my heart behind it.
Maybe it’s because I didn’t find either of the characters particularly attractive. I’m a personality person — while appearance isn’t irrelevant, it certainly isn’t the first thing I notice — and while Brittany is hilarious, she’s not smart enough for me to pay attention. Santana really had almost no character for a very long time, other than being a popular, if nasty, cheerleader.
So, it could be that they’re developing both the girls’ characters more in recent episodes, because I’m starting to find Santana all kinds of hot. I love her cold-as-ice manipulation of Karofsky. I love the fact that she’s ready to accept that she will, at some point, be ready to accept herself. I love her adoption of gay culture, even if it is the dubious beard plotline. Because — regardless of good or bad — beards are a a substantial part of our shared queer history, and had a lot to do with keeping ourselves safe when there was no being safe.
But now that I’m thinking about it, I like Brittana. All through my childhood, I read stories of girls and women who were completely attached to another woman. The were “busom friends” or “like sisters”. When I was worrying about whether or not I was gay (very early on, and at least a decade before I actually figured it out), there was a host of evidence that my strong feelings of attachment (and other feelings) to my female friends did not mean I was gay, just that I had some kind of temporary (and totally unimportant/nonthreatening/could easily coexist with being normal, etc) girl crush.
So, now we have Brittana. We have Brittany and Santana, two conventionally attractive cheerleaders who are inseparable and walk around with their pinky fingers linked. They have relationships with the boys, but those always take a backseat to their “friendship”. And up until there, it’s all pretty textbook. Because in the standard story, one or both of them would finally find a man who would change things. And they’d remain close, but safely coupled up with men. Because those girl feelings were just, well, girl feelings.
But Glee, as it often does, turned things on its head. Not only were the girls braiding each other’s hair and spending weekends having sleepovers and watching Dirty Dancing all night, but they were “sleeping together”. And then Brittany wants to talk about feelings. And other stuff happens and then Santana suddenly has feelings.
Glee writers are taking Brittany and Santana’s story seriously. They’re taking these girl feelings seriously, which is pretty awesome, because in the stories I grew up with, the girls never ended up together and their feelings for each other were not important enough to change their destinies. Whoever these two characters end up with, their friendship is never portrayed as unimportant, or secondary to their relationships with boys. In fact, this friendship (as it is) has determined the majority of both characters’ personal growth this season.
Let’s hope it continues.