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OPINION

Our Beloved Friends

FRIENDS: Is the Iconic Sitcom Homophobic, Transphobic or Sexist?

By Margarita Hovsepyan
February 12 2018


So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your love life’s D.O.A.
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year, but…

The unforgettable opening to a legendary sitcom-our beloved Friends.

The iconic show, centered around the lives of six best friends in New York, Rachel Green, Chandler Bing, Phoebe Buffay, Joey Tribbiani and Monica and Ross Geller, became available on Netflix recently and its new audience is finding it problematic. They are upset with the classic characters and the messages they have been spreading since 2004.

Rachel Green

Rachel is now being criticized for her decision to employ an unqualified assistant based solely on his looks. Her ditsy demeanor and love for fashion is also under scrutiny. Supposedly, by portraying one woman as ditsy and fashionable, the creators of the show are discriminating against all other types of women by leaving them out.

What this new audience fails to realize is that it’d be incredibly difficult to have a show in which all women, of all shapes, sizes, and interests would be represented. Rachel, alongside Phoebe and Monica, should not be judged for being into a ‘feminized’ career path.

Monica Geller

One of the most frequent flashbacks that occured on the show portrayed ‘Fat Monica,’ the overweight girl that Monica used to be in the past. Monica’s group of friends won’t ever let her forget about the ordeal, always ridiculing about the weight she once was. This is, of course, a form of fat shaming.

Fans also noticed the change in personality that Monica goes through between flashback and real life scenes. She is more confident and happy in the skinnier, present version of herself.

Instead of shaming those who are overweight, the show is trying to reinforce the idea that everyone should aim to be the healthiest version of themselves. As for the ridiculation she continues to face from her group of friends, being comfortable enough to joke about one another’s shortcomings is merely a sign of close friendship.

Joey Tribbiani

Throughout the series, Joey is portrayed as the ‘dumb’ one, the one that has a near obsession with women. His comparison of women to ice cream has in return, labeled him an objectifier and disrespectful of women.

Chandler Bing

Chandler is mostly criticized for the paranoia he exhibits when the topic of his sexuality comes up. The idea that women might find him homosexual continues to be a thorn on his side.

This doesn’t, in any way, prove that he is homophobic.

His uncomfort with label can be explained with the fear that he is losing potential romantic partners.

In addition, the disappointment and shame he directs at his father, a cross dressing owner of a gay club, is supposed paramount evidence as well.

Ross Geller

Arguably the most criticized character on the show is Ross. From his sentiment to not allow his child to play with barbie dolls to the way he judges the male nanny that was hired for his son, Ross’ actions are arguably sexist. He does have a very masculine idea of the way that men should and should not behave.

Marta Kauffman, co creator of the show, stated, “That is a criticism we have heard quite a bit. When we cast the show, we didn’t say to ourselves, ‘This is going to be an all-white cast.’”

She added that the mission was to “find the cast that suits and elevates our writing in such a way that we see something in the characters that we hadn’t seen before. And these were the six best actors for the material.”

If nitpicked, the show does certainly have transphobic, sexist, and homophobic elements to it. However, none of these came to mind when I was watching the show because I was too busy laughing. Most other fans will agree with me on this.

If all of these elements were vanished, if friends was made to be a pc friendly show, it would have never garnered the attention, fame and lovable nature it has.


Margarita Hovsepyan is the Editor of the Opinion Column for the Mirror publication and website. She’s currently in her second year for the publication, which she joined during her sophomore year.

Her articles and blogs tend to focus on politics, social justice, and feminism with mainly a conservative perspective. She also heads the Your View Column, collecting a weekly account of select students’ viewpoint on various issues.

Outside of school, she partakes in Model United Nations conferences and Armenian Tree Foundation promotions.


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Our Beloved Friends