The “Friend Zone” Myth: By Guest Kraken Jerika Coleman

A post I recently saw on tumblr really inspired me to say something about the ‘friend zone’ trend, and how much it honestly pisses me off. The post read: “Slut is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say yes. Friend zone is how we vilify a woman for exercising her right to say no.” Reading that made me think. Because everybody is aware of the fact that women will be judged for having sex (she shouldn’t be judged, but she will be, and that’s a sad fact of society right now), but it’s not as often that we encounter the opposite: a woman who becomes a bad person because she won’t have sex. So, now, not only are women being punished by society for having sex with men that weren’t our friends, but we’re actually being punished for not having sex with men that are our friends. There are obviously very few, if any, ways for women to win in society when it comes to our sexual behavior and this friend zone thing is making it even worse. 

The friend zone has become a widespread internet meme. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it was essentially coined by many not-nice guys claiming to be nice guys, and who therefore believe that this entitles to them to sex with all their girl friends. There are six pages of definitions for it just on Urban Dictionary, most of which seem to be written by men who are just angry and bitter that they put time into a relationship without getting a sexual pay-off. Men collectively mourn their ‘fallen brothers’ who have ended up in the friend zone, and praise the ones who have managed to ‘escape.’  I’ve seen friend zone flowcharts with dozens of lines and layers trying to explain to men that they’re in the friend zone and how to get out of it, and holy shit I did not know that being friends was putting men through such a personal struggle. Guys got it real rough, y’all.

Search ‘friend zone’ on a website like 9GAG and you get a couple hundred results.  Some of them are relatively light-hearted, praising men like The Office’s Jim Halpert for being able to ‘overcome’ the friend zone and get a female friend to fall in love with him.  As if Pam was never a person to Jim, just an object to be achieved – as if any woman ever is just an object for a man to achieve, like a level in a video game. To men, we are all Princess Peach, and if you’re just good enough, and nice enough, we’ll let you come save us from Bowser, and you’ll win the game.

Some are much more violent, or angry in nature, like one I read that was written by someone claiming to a “Good Guy…or rather, a New Found Asshole.” He blasted his female friends for not wanting to have sex with him, a self-proclaimed great guy, and for instead choosing to sleep with men that he had deemed assholes. What makes this guy a great guy? Why, he’s always been nice to you! He’s listened to your problems, helped you out, and given you advice. What makes this other guy an asshole?  I’m assuming just the fact that he got to have sex with the girl.

Guess what: some of you may think its funny, but in reality, it’s actually sexist B.S. that further perpetrates our unfortunate rape culture. In 2012, that is literally the last thing that women need. For the love of God, are my female friends and I really going to have to go through the rest of our lives being treated like shit because we fail to meet male expectations? Really? In the 21st century, this sort of judging crap isn’t over with yet?  Because I am getting bored of it, and frankly, I want to have better things to do than worry about what people think of me.

The concept of the friend zone is depressing as hell, if you actually sit down to think about it, which hopefully you will after this. Judging by the concept of the friend zone, no man has ever actually wanted to be friends with a woman. Ever. Because friendship isn’t enough? The idea of a guy being friends with a girl is no longer a positive thing, it’s become a punishment. “Ugh,” men around the world seem to be collectively thinking, “this girl wants to talk to me, and wants to hang out, and joke, and share common interests.  What fresh hell is this and when the frig will it end?”

I just read a post on tumblr, ironically tagged ‘chivalry’ (leading me to believe that English classes are failing to teach people the actual definitions of words), written by a guy who claimed that the only reason a guy would stick around in a friendship is because he wants a romantic relationship, and eventually that guy will get tired and move on, ending the friendship. WHAT? NO! HOW? There are no actual friendships, there are only pre-sex relationships?  And the punishment for not having sex with a guy is that the relationship is over entirely? My friendship isn’t worth as much as my vagina? How is this okay? How is anybody (not just girls) okay with living in that kind of world?

Men are seemingly desperate not to be friends with women; I guess they’ll do anything to get out of it. So, shout-out to all my guy friends who I haven’t had sex with, so…all of you, sorry I’m so boring and clothed all the time, but thanks for sticking with me! I guess this has been really hard on you. Men just want to be friendly enough with a woman that she will eventually want to have sex with them. Judging by the rage that men feel when this fails to occur, men don’t just want to have sex with women, they feel as though they actually deserve it. The men who believe in the friend zone inherently believe that if they are just nice enough to a woman, that they should be rewarded with sex. That if they’re just a nice enough guy, that getting to have sex with a girl is their right.

That is what being in a rape culture means. In this day and age, very few people are going to come out and say, “yeah, rape is okay.” I honestly do believe that this is because most people actually know that rape is bad. I believe that given the opportunity, most people will not rape. The act of rape is not normalized within our culture as it is in others. But being in a rape culture means that men will still get enraged if they feel as though they’ve been denied a woman’s body; that a woman’s body can even be denied to begin with. Living in a rape culture means that men are brought up to believe that all they have to do is be a good friend, and they will be rewarded with sex. Almost every movie with a male hero ends with him getting the girl of his dreams – women are trophies for good behavior. Any woman who refuses to be this trophy is deemed a horrible person who needs to be attacked – most often verbally, but sometimes physically too.

That’s why men insult women. Some men probably are just prudish and backwards enough to think that having any sex at all makes a woman a whore (I have a male friend who was willing to label a mutual female friend of ours a slut simply because he’d heard rumours that she’d slept with TWO men). But I think that in the case of most men, it’s that they’re bitter and jealous. Most men are actually super-okay with women having lots of a sex, as long as all the sex they’re having is with them.  BECAUSE THEY EARNED IT, BY BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING, DON’T YA KNOW.

Which is crap, because if you’re the type of guy who thinks just being a decent human being means that a girl has to have sex with you, you’re not a decent human being.  You never were. You’re just a tool. Odds are, she can tell. It’s probably why she doesn’t want to have sex with you to begin with. We’re not idiots. If you were actually a decent human being, you’d be okay with being rejected. That doesn’t mean you want to be rejected (nobody does), but it means that you recognize a woman has the right to reject you.  An actual ‘nice guy’ won’t go around insulting a girl because she ‘failed’ to fall in love with him.  We haven’t failed to fall in love with you, like it some goal that we all had that we just couldn’t achieve, we just don’t love you. An actual ‘nice guy’ would respect women, and respect our right to make our own romantic choices instead of complaining about them.

You know how I know the idea of the friend zone is sexist? Because there isn’t an equivalent for women. That isn’t to say that women don’t often have unrequited romantic feelings towards their male friends, because oh my god, do we ever. Should I show you my diaries all the way from middle school up until last week to prove my point? But girls don’t go in the friend zone. Because if a girl likes a guy who doesn’t like her back, she’s just labeled hopeless and needy. As far as I know, there is no large gathering of girls lamenting the fact that we were SO NICE and WHY AREN’T WE BEING REWARDED. A man isn’t judged for wanting to just be friends with a girl (lol guyz, she’s probably super ugly or something, its totes understandable – that was sarcasm, BTW). Society taught us that, if guy isn’t attracted to a girl, it’s the girl’s fault – we failed at making ourselves attractive or acceptable enough for him to like. And if a girl doesn’t like a guy, well, society says that it’s still her fault too, obviously. A man’s relationship choices are always valid, and never attacked, no matter what. Why are women attacked for wanting to just be friends with a guy, but very few people are sitting around saying, “uh, men, why do you want to just have sex with me, and not actually be friends?” (hint, because the rules mostly made by men, and they don’t want to be told how wrong they are). Men are allowed to choose their romantic partners without judgment, and women aren’t. That’s how I know the friend zone is sexist, and that’s how I know it’s wrong.

Nobody has any obligation to like anybody. Ever. Ever. There is literally nothing on this planet that somebody can do that automatically means someone else will have to like you. Stop, no, there is nothing, so whatever you’re thinking, the answer is no. You could always be there for me whenever I needed you, and that would be lovely, but that doesn’t mean I have to have sex with you. You could give me a billion dollars, and I’d frigging think you are the most awesome person ever, but I still have final say on what my vagina does and does not do, thank you very much. That just isn’t how attraction works. There is no one to blame when someone says that they’re not sexually attracted to you. So, stop blaming girls, and stop talking about the frigging friend zone like it actually exists. It doesn’t, it’s not legitimate, you’re actually not suffering, so get over it.  Start recognizing that you’re actually a little (or a lot) misogynistic, and then stop being misogynistic.

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You can find Jerika on twitter @dreamsofmarchesa

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35 thoughts on “The “Friend Zone” Myth: By Guest Kraken Jerika Coleman

  1. I totally agree with everything here! The phrase “Friend Zone” fucking infuriates me. I have TONS of female friends, and most of them mean more to me than I can express, AS JUST FRIENDS. I’ve blogged/ranted about this phrase many times so hopefully these guys will start getting the message!

    • Ohhh fuck this is retarded. Friend zone usually doesn’t even refer to sex. Usually it means that you are interested in a girl but she doesn’t feel the same way. She only sees you as a friend therefore friendzone. Its a neat convenient term refering to a 1 sided relationship not “sex for kindness”. Also its relatively rare for woman to be judged on their right to say yes (except extreme cases with many partners in a short space of time) and even then most of the time the general attitude amoungst men is “who cares”. (As a side note it is not uncommon for men to put woman in the friemd zone)

      • I agree with Elton here. But the fact that she used the phrase “not-nice guys pretending to be nice guys” instead of the “Nice Guys TM” she won some respect. Nice guys (genuine) do respect a girl and see more difference between friendship and relationship than just sex. In fact they see a lot more to the fact where they know sex will happen (if your dating it will most likely happen sometimes especially if it goes anywhere), but they care less for it.

        They’re looking for love and not lust. When feminists think “Oh he just got mad because he expects sex from me that I wouldn’t give him” when he uses the term friendzone it shows two things in my eyes.

        1) Either they’re misjudging the term friendzoned in how it’s used by the nice guy.

        2) the only difference they think guys see between a friendship and relationship is sex.

        The genuine nice guys won’t question that you said “no” but may back off for a while or forever due to their emotions for you and their pain inside. That doesn’t meanthat they never thought of you as a friend. They might have just wanted to get to know you better before dating you and ended up becoming your friend before asking you out or maybe they were just shy and that’s how things turned out.

        However if you end up in a lot of abusive relationships (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually…etc), he may wonder why you choose such guys and or possibly choose to stay with such guys. He might even worry about you and try to give you advice like a good friend would. Who’d want to see any of their friends abused, after a while you might get annoyed that any good friend (male or female) keeps putting themselves in situations where they get hurt (also called the classic nice guy whine about why women only seem to date jerks).

        Though if you dated a truly good guy the nice guy friend you rejected wouldn’t have a need to wonder why you stick with him or chose to date him. Also as the article said a nice guy would accept rejection and your chose without referring to the childish name calling of “bitch” or “slut” towards the person who rejected him. A nice guy may however wonder if anyone is attracted to his nice personality if rejected a lot and wonder what’s wrong with himself.

        Though today relationships seemed to be started only based off initial physical attraction (not necessarily sexual attraction) first and everything else comes later on. Society decieves some men saying that women only care about personality. However physical attraction means as much to women as it does to men in my observation. I may not understand it correctly but as an asexual male who’s not attracted to anybody but has dated and fell in love, I don’t think physical attraction matters as much as personality.

  2. Brilliant and comprehensive post about a very insulting phrase. It’s interesting how guys get to whine and mope when the overdeveloped sense of entitlement isn’t fulfilled, but still, guys aren’t whiny. Women are whiny, and needy, obviously. Everyone knows that.

    Thanks for a very good read.

  3. YES. ALL OF THIS. EXCELLENT. Ugh, the friend zone. That thing all those poor Nice Guys (TM) suffer from. Because women are only attracted to Bad Boys (TM). Hos, amirite?

    I think the worst case of this for me was the only time in my life I actually had multiple suitors, back in high school. One was a guy I’d had a crush on forever, the other was a close friend, and the third a younger guy I had just met in musical. When Guy 2, the close friend (for a couple years at this point), heard about Guy 3’s desire to ask me out, he told a mutual friend that it was okay, because I knew him first, therefore once I got over Guy 1, he was next. Like, he had priority over Guy 3 because he was there first. And he wasn’t joking. BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW MY BODY IS LIKE SOME KIND OF SERVICE YOU JUST LINE UP FOR OR SOMETHING AND I HAVE NO SAY IN THIS. (Also, he would have had to wait for a long time, since I ended up dating Guy 1 for four years.) And Guy 2 is a man I’ve remained friends with for years without ever dating (and he is with someone else now) so CLEARLY he did value me as a friend aside from my ability to have sex with him and he STILL HAD THIS ATTITUDE. Maybe he just meant that he had a better chance because he knew me better, but the wording was so very off. So careful, dudes. You might not always realize you’re thinking this way. Okay, rant over.

    Anyway. Well done, Guest Kraken. This is a good post and you should feel good. Welcome to the Krakenhood of the Traveling Blog.

  4. Hate to disappoint, but Friend Zone doesn’t mean “oh man, this girl is a bitch for not having sex with me” it means “I’m romantically interested in this woman, but she won’t take our relationship further and leads me on either by ignorance or for some other reason.”

    As a guy, I find it insulting you immediately assume it’s a way to villify women for not having sex with us. Not all guys are sex obsessed monkeys. Some, actually are interested in what are called “relationships”. They actually want emotional/spiritual/mental intimacy, not physical or JUST physical intimacy. Sex is not the only difference between a friend and a girlfriend.

    It’s completely assinine to assume all a guy wants is sex out of a woman and that’s all the “friend zone’ is about. I’m not saying it justifies the term/idea (why can’t males/females just be friends?) but it doesn’t necessarily have to do with sex.

    • I totally agree that not every guy is a sex obsessed monkey. I know for a fact that there are men out there who are interested in real relationships.

      This article is about the popular use of the term “friend zone” and how it’s used to vilify women. Even in your own definition of “friend zone” you said it’s when you’re interested in a relationship with a woman, and she “leads you on either by ignorance or for some other reason.” Ignorance that you had feelings for her? What could the other reasons be that she would “lead you on?” Either way, your own definition of the word is accusatory towards women, and yes, the idea that a woman would “lead you on” is a way to vilify her.

    • “I’m romantically interested in this woman, but she won’t take our relationship further…” That’s called unrequited feelings. It’s a sucky but normal thing that happens. Though, interesting choice of words: “won’t” take our relationship further. I might’ve said “doesn’t want to.”

      “…and leads me on either by ignorance or for some other reason.”
      And that’s what makes it an issue of friend zoning instead of just unrequited feelings, the accusation that the girl was leading the guy on. Look, sex is great. Wanting a deeper connection emotionally is also great. Wanting one or both from a girl is great too. When her answer is no, however, it’s your responsibility to respect that. Yeah, it sucks, but calling it friend zoning makes it out to be something the girl actively did to you rather than, you know, a reasonable choice she made for herself. That’s how the term vilifying. You don’t have to actively think she’s a bitch to subconsciously vilify her.

      My recommendation is to take a step back and ask why it is so much more important for you to get to keep using this term than it is for a woman to not feel shitty and guilty when she doesn’t want a romantic relationship with her friend.

      • I’d just like to point out a disparity. Plenty of women, both in real life and on blogs, will say that ‘men just won’t give me the time of day’ or ‘he just won’t look at me like he looks at her’ or any other use of the word ‘won’t.’

        I think this is a perfectly acceptable use of the word, both for men and women, and if a woman can say the guy she likes just ‘won’t notice her, so too can a guy say such about a woman he finds attractive.

      • @Troa Axaltion (I can’t reply to your comment for some reason I dunno how do I internet)

        Fair enough, I don’t really want to turn this into an argument of semantics. The word choice just stuck out to me as interesting in context. However, on the claim that this is a disparity, I have to point out that the “but group B does/says whatever to/about group A and no one cares, why can’t group A do/say whatever to/about group B?” argument only works if group A and B are on equal footing. When a woman says “he won’t give me the time of day” it doesn’t have the same negative implications about the guy (in fact, it often has negative implications about her and her apparent lack of being-time-worthiness, i.e.: desirable). Even if she meant it as a he’s-the-worst-for-not-wanting-to-date-my-fabulous-self, she doesn’t have the larger systemic, societal, and social narrative backing her up the way guys do. That doesn’t mean it’s okay for her to treat guys that way by any means, but guys do have the back up of the larger social narrative when they do it, making it a lot easier for the girl to end up feeling guilty for something that isn’t her fault. (This also applies to a lot of other comments on this post as well that are saying “But girls get friend zoned too!”)

  5. Hi there! I LOVE this post. I work at a girls empowerment nonprofit organization. We focus on self-esteem building. We recently did a team building exercise where we brainstormed all the reasons that why our work is still so important in today’s world.

    I brought up the friend zone for all the reasons you listed here. I’m probably one of the more internet connected of the people on staff and most of them hadn’t heard of it, and they were understandably outraged. But clearly, it is directly relevant to why I have dedicated my life’s work to reminding girls that they DON’T have to stand for entitled male attitudes.

  6. Pingback: The Fat, the Bald and the Ugly « divorcedivorced

  7. Must agree the friend zone is a myth
    It is actually “the used zone” that makes men bitter.
    Had an ex gf that “zoned” me, kept contact and wouldnt let me go. She enticed me to give her oral sex with no recipocation at all, puppysit her dog etc etc.
    If a woman holds onto a mans heart it is comparable to a man using a woman for “friend sex” but witholding his heart from his sex buddy.
    Guessing some women get bitter being put in the buddysex zone eh?
    Both scenarious involve someone with greater power treating another poorly.
    That being said the pathetic puppy dog that sniffs after women clearly out of his leaugue then badmouthing them cause they wont have sex, they disgust me.
    Guessing they are the type your mostly addressing in your post?

      • Oh beleive me I have, if a woman attempts to manipulate me using her sexuality (conciously or subconciously) I pretty much laff it off now. Suprisingly refusing to be a lap dog is as effective as the online seduction gurus say it is, just wish I could find some online advice how to dissuade my 2 current stalkers lol!
        How come we guys cant friend zone without sex or a relationship being expected? whats good for the gander should be good for the goose.

  8. Glad this topic is being acknowledged for it’s flaws and ridiculousness. The most disturbing part about the “friend zone” thing (to me, anyway) is that it treats friendship — one of the most powerful, meaningful connections people can have — like a dirty rag we toss aside when it doesn’t serve our purpose. Isn’t being someone’s friend in of itself a privilege? Or has the modern definition changed, and now “friends” are only worthwhile when they can do something for us — like provide sexual gratification?

    Re: your comment about men being brought up to believe they deserve sex/women, you might find this article interesting: http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html

  9. Hi there. I was researching the term ‘friendzone’ online today and stumbled upon your article.

    I used to use the term ‘friendzone’ when I (in high school, a decade ago) found myself attracted to a girl who just didn’t see me the same way, or when I couldn’t work up the courage to express my emotions to her for fear of rejection. I know, I know, not very courageous to just let my feelings slide, but I was a lesser man back then.

    I never blamed the ladies for putting me in the friendzone, never blamed them for it or resented them for it, heck, I put girls in MY friendzone from time to time, girls I liked as friends but nothing more.

    Only recently did I hear the term being attached to ‘douchebag guys’ who ‘only want to get laid’ and ‘none of whom respect women,’ etc. etc. which is why I did my research today.

    At first, your article was very neutral, talking about the bad ways it can be used, the damage this does to women, the hurt this term can cause, and how SOME people use it as a way to excuse their mean-spirited insults and sexism.

    However… then I read this:

    ‘To men, we are all Princess Peach, and if you’re just good enough, and nice enough, we’ll let you come save us from Bowser, and you’ll win the game.’

    That is the most sexist thing I’ve ever read in my entire life, and I’m very offended by it.

    Imagine the inverse, if I’d said, ‘to women, we’re all Mario, they get themselves hopelessly involved with some massive jackass and then lay around waiting for us to save him just to prove ourselves over and over again by solving all their problems.’ That would be no more true, and just as offensive.

    Next, your rebuttal to a certain man’s tumblr post, ‘There are no actual friendships, there are only pre-sex relationships? And the punishment for not having sex with a guy is that the relationship is over entirely? My friendship isn’t worth as much as my vagina? How is this okay? How is anybody (not just girls) okay with living in that kind of world?’

    For me personally, I can have female friends when I’m not dating anyone, and only then OR if she and I aren’t hanging out alone. Every girl I’ve ever dated hasn’t wanted me to hang out with female friends, so eventually I stopped investing in them as heavily. To be fair, I know tons of guys who feel the same way about their girlfriends hanging out with other guys, but in my experience, it’s far more accepted for a girl to hang out with a guy friend while she’s in a relationship than a guy hanging out with a female friend while HE’S in a relationship.

    As an example, my girlfriend can hang out with Jonas, a man she was friendzoned by and whom SHE later friendzoned, without my worry. However, I am only allowed to hang out with MY female friends in groups, like with her present or when several other guys will also be there. I’ve never cheated on anyone before, nor asked for any weird threesome crap, and have ZERO attraction to these ladies, but she still won’t allow it. And I accept this disparity as normal, simply because a majority of society also enforces this rule.

    So, if you’re mad about guys ending their friendships with you because they’re looking for a relationship, realize that many of the actual good guys out there simply desire a romantic relationship and know that if they find a girl that loves them and returns their affections, she probably won’t want you two hanging out anymore anyhow, so that friendship will still be over.

    It’s a sad truth of our society that Girls are allowed to be friends with Guys, but not the other way around. I don’t want it to be this way, but if it’s going to change, it’s got to start with girls trusting their guys to hang out with other girls as friends. If the guy acts like an idiot and tries something, dump him obviously, but if guys don’t get the chance to hang out with female friends after they find a companion, many of them will simply choose to make male friends they get to keep instead of female friends they’ll lose when they finally get the relationship they want.

    In short, several girls simply won’t allow their men female friends, so why should they try to have them when they know it will damage their chances at finding love?

    • “Friendzone” is nothing more than a word to describe unrequited love. Men get friendzoned, women get friendzoned, nobody ever gets offended when a woman is mad about being friendzoned. Granted, I just saw someone post “Friendzoned? Welcome to the RAPE ZONE!” on Tumblr and I can’t understand FOR THE LIFE OF ME why there’s no “alert abuse” function on there, that dude belongs in prison. So I can see what’s got women riled up about this. But there’s a heck of a lot of men out there who don’t call women “b***hes” for friendzoning a guy, much less that horrible nonsense I saw.

      Friendzone = unrequited love. Some people take it further into douchebaggery but that should be entirely on them, not the word.

      Signed,
      a married self-proclaimed fedora wearing nice-guy.

      • “But there’s a heck of a lot of men out there who don’t call women “b***hes” for friendzoning a guy, much less that horrible nonsense I saw.” True. The OP, however, is not about those men. It’s about what men are socialized to believe, the internalization of that belief, and the damage it has done. Side note: that damage can be a lot subtler than straight up calling a woman a b***h.

        “Friendzone = unrequited love. Some people take it further into douchebaggery but that should be entirely on them, not the word.” In a perfect world, but not the one we live in. Words have meaning, and then they have implications and social/historical baggage on top of those meanings. As an extreme example, I can think of MANY sexist/heterosexist/ableist/racist/etc slurs that have a neutral definition but powerfully negative implications and baggage.

    • “‘To men, we are all Princess Peach, and if you’re just good enough, and nice enough, we’ll let you come save us from Bowser, and you’ll win the game.’ That is the most sexist thing I’ve ever read in my entire life, and I’m very offended by it.”
      a) This generalization is in the context of a larger article talking about a social narrative wherein this is true. It does not apply to all men, but it *is* what men are socialized to believe and thus many have internalized this belief. b) THIS is the most offensive thing you’ve heard about your gender? I am legitimately jealous. c) What you quoted isn’t sexist. Sexism = sex/gender discrimination + systemic oppression. It’s possible to be prejudice against men as a sex/gender, but men are not systemically oppressed because they are men.

      It’s cool that you’re cool with your gf hanging out with her guy friends, and I’m sorry she doesn’t let you hang out with your gal friends, but that’s a problem you need to discuss with your gf, not us. If you’re not okay with that situation, then that’s something for the two of you to work on. I know many women who are cool with their boyfriends having gal friends, so don’t address us like possessiveness/jealousy/self-consciousness/trust-issues/whatever-makes-people-want-to-police-who-their-SO-hangs-out-with is a universal girl trait (speaking of generalizations…). I’m sorry that your experience in that department has been different, but that’s not the point of the OP nor the discussion happening here in the comments.

      “In short, several girls simply won’t allow their men female friends, so why should they try to have them when they know it will damage their chances at finding love?” Um…because…they…value their gal friends’ company? I’m not trying to be snarky here, I genuinely don’t understand this part. You value a hypothetical future girlfriend who has some (also hypothetical) issues with being possessive more than your friends who happen to be ladies? I’m confused.

  10. The fuck is wrong with all of you?

    The friend zone is when you ask someone out, and they say, “Let’s just be friends.” That’s all. It doesn’t have a single thing to do with being “entitled to sex.” Where the hell did that idea even come from?

    This whole thing is just a bunch of straw men. No one – seriously, no one – actually thinks that buying a girl flowers entitles him to sex.

    One thing that you completely fail to acknowledge is that plenty of times men try to be romantic with women – and this leads to a misunderstanding where the guy thinks the girl likes him, but she doesn’t. Again, though, no one – seriously, no one – believes that this means she owes him sex – it means that he thought he had a chance with a woman that he didn’t. The whole “entitled to sex” thing is either a) your strawman or b) you’re overgeneralizing a FEW men to represent ALL men.

    And why aren’t you even bothering to unpack the bullying and pressure that young men go through when they are single. Are you completely unaware that a 15-year-old boy without a girlfriend is going to be called “gay” every day of his life? And that this leads to some serious fucking pressure on that child to get a girl’s attention and get a girlfriend? And that, yes, when faced with constant bullying, it’s really fucking hard to cope with constant rejection from “friends”. And, no, a girl doesn’t owe a boy anything, but when that girl saying “yes” is your one and only hope to escape a life of daily verbal abuse, it hurts like fucking hell when she says, “no.”

    Not to mention the simple fact that pressure is put on men to be romantic initiators, and OF COURSE men are going to have a certain vocabulary to describe and cope with different situations they find themselves in when trying to live up to that unrealistic gender role of prince charming.

    You COULD be unpacking the real gender issues that men face – but instead you’re just going to just blame it all on how horrible men are and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. You COULD use the friendzone as a chance to talk to men about the pressures they face and explain to them that, no, actually, that’s all sexist bullshit, and you don’t need a girlfriend to be a man. You COULD do all of that. But you’re not.

    • Hey, Tessa, your blog has reached the MRA! You’ve really made it now! HIGH FIVE!

      Okay, so, yeah, there are a few things wrong with what you’ve said, dear Franklin, and I’m just going to break them down by quoting and responding.

      “The fuck is wrong with all of you?” Oh, you know, marginalization. Whatevs.

      The point of this article is that your definition of the friend zone is what it should be – I mean there’s nothing inherently wrong with the phrase – but privelege and entitlement have skewed it to have a lot of sexist implications and turned it into a verb instead of a noun. That is the topic being discussed here and now.

      “No one – seriously, no one – actually thinks that buying a girl flowers entitles him to sex.” I can’t decide if it’s cute or sad that you genuinely believe this. Maybe a bit of both? I think it’s awesome that you’ve apparently never met a guy who has ever resented a girl for rejecting him, ever thought that if she just gave him a chance she’d change her mind, that she was using his friendship all this time, that if he can’t be romantically involved with her he doesn’t want to be her friend, etc, but just because you haven’t met these dudes doesn’t mean they don’t exist. A lot of women, including several in these comments, have met that guy. Don’t try to invalidate our experiences plzkthnx. Also, side note, it’s interesting that you can so definitively say what all men think. Did they elect a spokesperson for their gender? Huh. I wasn’t informed.

      “You’re overgeneralizing a FEW men to represent ALL men.” God, I wonder what having your whole sex constantly generalized and stereotyped would feel like. Must be terrible.

      “And why aren’t you even bothering to unpack the bullying and pressure that young men go through when they are single.” Because that’s not what this post is about. All the things you list are crappy things men go through, for sure, and worth discussing, but they aren’t the subject of this post. Maybe the problems caused by society’s expectation for certain gendered behaviours will be a topic for a future post on this very blog, but it’s not the topic of this one.

      “You COULD be unpacking the real gender issues that men face.” Yeah, we could, but that’s still not what this post is about. Also, “real” gender issues? Are you implying the issues we mention aren’t “real?!” Oh, thank God. Ladies, we can all calm down, we don’t actually have any “real gender issues” to worry about. Thanks for the heads up.

      “You COULD use the friendzone as a chance to talk to men about the pressures they face and explain to them that, no, actually, that’s all sexist bullshit, and you don’t need a girlfriend to be a man.” Yeah, we could, but that’s not what this post is about. Whoa, hold on a sec, guys, experiencing some deja vu.

      “You COULD do all of that. But you’re not.” …yup. I’m sensing a theme here. This isn’t the post you want it to be. Tough. There are lots of places on the internet where the discussion you want to have is happening, but it’s not here, right now. Trying to make it happen right here, right now is a derailment tactic (this one specifically: http://birdofparadox.wordpress.com/derailing-for-dummies-google-cache-reconstruction/#moreimportantly ). Sorry for not engaging.*

      *Not actually even a little sorry.

    • Oh spokes person of all men, I commend you on your post. But have you ever noticed how its “OK” to be sexist if you’re a woman??(Only a few are but they aren’t shouted down when they say something offensive, they are encouraged). The same situation is present in south africa, my home country, in a slightly different sence. Some black people feel they cannot be racist because they were oppressed for so many years.(seriously I called the security guard where I work racist and he denied it “because you can’t be racist to umlungus(whites)). This is clearly not true as I get racist comments thrown at me for being a white man and understanding a little bit of zulu. My point is if you look through these posts with an unbiased viewpoint you will see nestled amoungst your facts and feelings there are a multitude of sexist comments. Where ever the writer has used terms like “to men” or “men think” just look through these things lines objectively and you’ll notice how sexist some of the coments are. You should feel ashamed if you are part of the guilty party.

  11. i get the the rant that this article is , and it should be more like an op-ed piece.
    to do this article real justice you need to do more research than just what pop culture and a few bad experiences have led to this article being written, now i get it i understand the reasons , i’ve seen it and or been it (pardoning the rape/assault/battery/ ect)
    everyone demeans everyone , but the “friendzone” thing is more an extension of another underlying issue that men of the past 2-3gens dont know what it means to be a real man , to really understand not only that but what it means to not only be the hero, or to quote b.w. “to be that guy” and it doesnt have to have anything to do with saving the princess so to speak –
    personally i have little interest in damsels in distress sure i’d save em however i find the heroines more interesting an equal….. theres so many elements here at play this could be a book because you need to look at the origins of language , psychology , sociology , where the trends start , and then look at the gender behaviors and the counter with examples in different physical locations , states , countries and continents.
    The male being mario is true to impress the princess (not really said but implied in the story), its more to do with every male having a need to prove himself not to her but to themselves and others(friends , parents theirs or someone elses) not out of ego or pride its much more fundamental than that and not nearly as sexist as is thought .. unless that male that hasnt been taught what it really means is using it as such .

    Friend Zone ~ means only what that persons context means it to be …

    1. yes shes a blah blah wont give me none but loves those jerks
    2. im just friended
    3. *shrugs*

    to quote freud , sometimes a cigar is just a cigar , sometimes not…

    i really recommend some serious reading into psychology and wide research into popculture, talk to someone over 40-60 in all fiscal classes and compare social notes and behavior before vilifying every walking male around as existing in a rape culture and perpetuating hatred towards male , we hate ourselves *generally* much more than you seem to be aware of and hells its prolly a reason why they pass their self hate to another the next socially perceived weaker person.

    • Yeah, it’s almost like this post is about how the term “friend zone” is applied to women, what it means socially, and why it’s problematic, and *not* a book on social gender psychology and the tragically underrepresented perspective of men.

      You are derailing the discussion by trying to turn this post into something that it isn’t. Please only post comments about the topic actually being discussed in the OP.

  12. Alright, I need to address something here: there have been a few comments that are along the lines of “This article COULD talk about men’s gender issues.” or “This article COULD talk about psychology!”

    Please, let me be clear: if you came here expecting to read about how hard it is for men, or to read an academic research paper on the topic, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE. Find another blog! Because you really can’t read something and then tell me I wrote about the topic wrong. Write your own god damn rant.

    I know you all feel like you are adding to the discussing by bringing up things that were not discussed in the article, and sure, why not. But you are not bringing them up for the sake of discussion, you are bringing them up in order to explain to me, and Jerika, what the friendzone REALLY is, because she must be confused/ignorant/wrong.

    yes, this is an op-ed piece. I don’t know why people are suddenly acting like this is the be-all and end all of the friendzone discussion, because this is the most accurate article on the internet and nobody else write about it cus we did it already kthxbye.

    If you feel like this needs to be discussed from a male perspective (lol cus nothing is ever discussed from a male perspective) or it you feel that this needs to be “researched more” and should delve into psychology, please, start your own blog. Go for it. They are free.

    Basically, what you are saying when you tell me what this should be, is that when you clicked on the link you thought: THIS IS GOING TO BE EXACTLY MY OWN THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS AND WILL BE EXACTLY WHAT I WOULD TALK ABOUT IF I WAS WRITING THING. If this is how you go about you life, you’re gonna have a hard time.

    • I think there is room, however, to note something a bit off on the definition and how that relates to the female perspective itself (namely, the situation in which women find themselves when the whole “friend zone” thing comes up in their lives or relationships). There’s another dimension to the “friend zone” issue that is very common.

      “Friend zoning” a guy does not simply mean saying no to sex or romance. It refers to continuing to interact with and tacitly or implicitly encourage a guy who we know has primarily a non-reciprocal romantic interest in you because the attention feels good or that it feels comforting to know there’s a “plan b” simmering on the back burner should we ever decide we need it (even if we don’t ever envision ourselves going there)…and then getting angry with the guy when he makes the occasional attempt to break out of the “zone,” encouraged by the tiny crumbs of hope that we sent his way all along.

      Now, I realize that sounds accusatory, but I don’t mean it to be so. Often times, we’re just trying to avoid the conflict and awkwardness of ruthlessly cutting things off when it becomes clear that he can’t just “be our friend.” Some girls might be afraid to look shallow (which is not necessarily justified every time we say “no,” but the perception of judgement is a factor). I think it’s very few women indeed who consciously set out to keep some poor sucker on the hook, tormented, but the result is still the same. (As an aside, I’m sure there are a few guys who do pursue the friend zone out of expectation for sex, but they are as much in the minority as the women who set out to deliberately manipulate some naive sap).

      Ladies, we know who these guys are in our lives. If we have a Steve Urkel following us around, there is no doubt in our minds that he wants something more than we are willing to give (and I’m not talking about sex). Perpetuating the situation is cruel, even if it’s not intentional. Not only that, it makes our own lives more difficult, because we then have to deal with the effects of having that time bomb in your life. We know that some day he’s going to try to break out of the “zone,” or make an embarrassing chivalric scene in front of friends or significant others, or just finally get fed up with the waiting and turn to anger (making an even bigger, more embarrassing scene). Why do that to ourselves by keeping the guy around?

      It is true, that the guy can make his own decision to stay in the situation or leave, but an integral part of the “friend zone” concept is the giving of hope…little things that tell him there might be a chance “if only” some set of criteria are met or little things that tell him there might be a change in the way you’re looking at him. Most of us like to tell ourselves that we don’t know we’re sending them, since I don’t believe most women send them consciously, but inviting these guys to socialize one-on-one in date-like activities out of boredom, saying things like, “I’m not looking for a relationship right now” (when what we mean is “I’d be open to a relationship, just not ever with you”), or turning to them with relationship troubles when we know they are eagerly waiting for our current relationship to end can and does only ever have one effect: Hope. So yes, they are making a decision to persist, but they’re doing it with some false information we’re sending them.

      So I would say that if you find yourself in a position where you have a guy in the “zone,” or have been accused of “friend zoning” someone, it might make your life easier to ask what role you may have had in the creation of the situation (there were two people involved, after all). I’m sure you’d like to avoid having to deal with that kind of situation, but only by honestly addressing the causes can that be done. I cringe whenever I hear the sex-based definition of the “friend zone” because it usually comes from women who have at least an inkling about their complicity in the development and maintenance of the situation in the first place, but prefer to either avoid criticism of their own actions or are inching over into the “deliberate” territory regarding the total control they have over continuation of the situation.

  13. OK, so in the way you used the term Friendzone, yes it is rather misogynistic. However, you GROSSLY over exaggerated it’s usage…would not ANYONE (as you pointed out women fail to attract men too) be disappointed if someone they WANTED a romantic relationship with/wanted to have sex with rebuffed them?

    So to be clear…being put in the ‘Friendzone’ does not mean men and women can’t be friends…I have many female friends that I don’t have sex with. However, when my attraction to a woman is unrequited and I am placed in her ‘friendzone’ it sucks. Because as we know, what makes a workable sexual/romantic relationship is not often the same as what makes a platonic friendship… So in the end, I am left with a relationship/friendship I don’t really want to be in. Again, as most of my female platonic friends are NOT the type of girls that I would WANT to be in a romantic/sexual relationship with, and vice versa.

    So please…just as you want men to stop generalizing all women as sexual objects to be obtained…stop generalizing all men as immature Marios rushing into Bowser’s castle to claim the prize Peach

  14. The only reason guys are “friend-zoned” is because girls are repulsed by their FACE. 6/10 girls expect chiseled dark haired olive skinned male models. Any guy is willing to bang a butterface with a slim body (All a girl has to do is loose weight) Whereas guys are limited by their genetics. Girls dont care about personality and humor. You can’t talk your way into a girls pants if you have an NW2 hairline big forehead),blonde hair, and a pink facial complexion. A recent poll showed women find 80% of men unattractive. Guys are victims of their genetics. Misogyny wouldn’t be an issue if cosmetic gene therapy was approved.

  15. > Most men are actually super-okay with women having lots of a sex, as long as all the sex they’re having is with them.
    Just wanted to say, not even this is always true. I know plenty of guys who will date a girl, try to sleep with her on the first date, and then if she does give them the sex they want, they will “lose respect for her,” and never date her again. But if only she’d acted a little bit more like she didn’t want to have sex when they did, they’d consider her “long term material.”

    Some men will lose respect for a woman for who does what they want to do. They’ll willfully sleep with a woman and then demean her over it.

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