Bodies, Confidence, Deviant/Default, Friendship

Friend Zone Believers Are Not My Friends

One of my lady friends recently sent me a great blog to follow and it’s been making me so happy that I want it to make you happy too! Enter Captain Awkward who answers any of those pesky questions you’ve been having about anything potentially awkward or social.

The good Cap’n wrote something I’d like to look at for a bit.

First, I’d like to signal-boost this post which perfectly sums up everything I hate about the idea of the Friend Zone. We all get crushes, right? And sometimes those crushes are on our friends, or we get crushes that turn into friendships. If your friends are awesome, and you’re with me on the “don’t date people who aren’t as cool as your friends” train, it’s bound to happen to you sooner or later. Describing that as “The Friend Zone” implies that you feel a sense of entitlement towards that person and think they owed you something different. If it’s not a friendship that sustains itself once the possibility of getting laid/loved is off the table? Simple. Don’t be friends with people you don’t value for their own sake. [x]

This is what made me fall in love with the Captain and it relates to something else I read recently, something related but taking a different perspective, in my humble opinion, the wrong one.  This article has some VERY problematic stuff in it but it makes one point that is true.  One of the ways in which patriarchy has propagated misogyny is by promising every media-consuming little boy a hot girlfriend just for breathing regardless of if she’s really interested in him.

When the Karate Kid wins the tournament, his prize is a trophy and Elisabeth Shue. Neo saves the world and is awarded Trinity. Marty McFly gets his dream girl, John McClane gets his ex-wife back, Keanu “Speed” Reeves gets Sandra Bullock, Shia LaBeouf gets Megan Fox in Transformers, Iron Man gets Pepper Potts, the hero in Avatar gets the hottest Na’vi, Shrek gets Fiona, Bill Murray gets Sigourney Weaver in Ghostbusters, Frodo gets Sam, WALL-E gets EVE … and so on.

Hell, at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman, Richard Gere walks into the lady’s workplace and just carries her out like he’s picking up a suit at the dry cleaner. [x]

What I find so very problematic about the article that this originates from is that the writer later reveals himself to be the kind of guy who uses the term ‘friend-zone’ in earnest.

Believing in the existence of friend-zoning means that you think women (who you deserve to sleep with by nature of the existence of their vaginas) choose not to sleep with you only to be cruel and not because they have autonomy/desires/a lack of attraction to you or one of a whole slew of other good reasons to choose not to sleep with you.

Between his tone and his #3 rule about his penis having a brain of its own that is bigger than the one in his head, he once again shoots all women in the foot by bringing it back to how men really are the victim.  As he puts it:

Science doesn’t seem to totally understand why the “base urges” part of the brain reacts differently in men. Maybe it’s just a matter of having 10 times as much testosterone in their system, or maybe society has trained us to be like this, or maybe we’re all spoiled children. My theory is that evolution needs males who will stay horny even in times of crisis or distress, and thus cuts off the brain’s ability to tamp down those urges. Whatever — nailing down the cause isn’t the point.

I disagree, I think the cause is very important.  This is not biology, this is far away from Darwin.  Meanwhile in the post which the Captain was signal-boosting:

Women are told almost constantly—by the media, the government, and the overall attitude of society—that our bodies don’t fu*king belong to us. The mythical friendzone is just another way for misogynists to enforce that idea while getting to play the victim. [x]

Don’t get me wrong, I can go on about why patriarchy is bad for men but that’s not what this guy bemoaning his ‘love/hate relationship’ with his penis talking about.  What he means is that because he was born with a Y chromosome he is always going to want and think about sex and so women should cover up so he won’t get an embarrassing (boo freaking hoo) boner in public.

At this point I’d like to say that the next time someone tells you that ‘men are just hornier than women’ you should direct them to me so I can tell them about my female friends.  My female friends who knock very loudly on each others doors and shout ‘are you masturbating?’ before entering.  My friends who use OKCupid to solicit very scandalous things.  My friends who are good buddies with Chrome’s Incognito feature.  My housemates who, when the internet was slow, would say ‘it’s all that James Deen I’m downloading upstairs.’  Men are NOT just naturally hornier than women.

Men are told that they are allowed to be who they are including their perfectly natural sexual desires on top of the message that wanting more sex makes you more manly while women are told that they should be ‘pure’ sexless beings regardless of their actual desires on top of the message that wanting sex will make them (dare I say it) less feminine/desirable/marriageable.  Combine these things and what do you get?  A lot of men with a varied sexual libidos acting like they want sex all the time and a lot of women with varied sexual libidos acting like they don’t want sex all the time.

This is not biology.  This is the cultural kool-aid you’re drinking and brewing and bathing your children in.

People (worthwhile, mature people at the very least) do not reject other people out of spite, they reject people because they are not attracted to them for one reason or another.  Believers in the friend zone, get over it, someone isn’t attracted to you.  How fortunate that there are other human beings in this world for you to flirt with.

5 thoughts on “Friend Zone Believers Are Not My Friends”

  1. Here’s… okay. Here’s the problem that I have with the Feminist Blagosphere’s problem with the concept of Friend Zoning. –I know. That doesn’t sound like a great start. But hear me out.

    I agree completely with all of the supports for being mad at the sort of seedy underbelly of dudes telling each other they got “friend zoned.” Nobody has a right to anyone else’s body or affections. It’s plain sexism to say that men’s sex drive or anything drive is inherently moreso than women’s.

    But as the Captain writes, we all get crushes. We’ve all been in that situation when we were friends with someone and really, really, really wanted it to turn into something more; and then the other person is not interested, and we have a right to be disappointed about that. Not to be anything else–we’re not entitled to be mad at the object of affection, or disappointed in them either, but we do have a right to feel sad that something that we felt so strongly about isn’t gonna happen.
    And so we end up with this linguistic concept, this phrase that captures the situation we feel ourselves in: “Friend Zone.” We wanted to be more than friends, but the arbiters of Sim City have declared this zone for residential, this zone for industrial, and that zone for friends. The wonderful land of sexing that you could so clearly see from the border is closed to you; thus, zone. I’ve always thought of it as closer to the phrase “dumped” than anything misogynistic or sexist; it describes a feeling rather than a person.

    Far be it from me to make an argument that words are divorced from the sexism they’re baggaged with; I’ve been disgusted by enough people using “rape” in inappropriate contexts to know not to make that argument. But I do think there’s a line in there somewhere, where attacking the language itself isn’t as helpful. It seems like the right thing to do, because it’s not like just standing by and being sexisted-at is a good solution either. So we counterattack the language. Sometimes, that’s really important. We need to stop the way words like “slut” and “bitch” and “rape” are used in parlance because they’re inextricably linked to patriarchy and rape culture; they ONLY describe misogynist situations. The problem with “friend zone” is with men feeling that they’re entitled to sex, and then feeling like they have a right to degrade the women that deny them said sex. If you take away that one phrase, something else is going to take its place. I’d rather recapture it, try to divorce it from the sexism and misogyny, because I think there’s a root of universal human experience to “friend zone” behind the sexism and misogyny.

    The phrase itself (unlike, for example, “bitch,” which includes sex and gender right in the term) doesn’t have anything inherently sexist. Which–I’m not arguing that, in general when people use it they aren’t being sexist. They are. Like I said, I agree with all of the arguments against it that I’ve read, because they’re true: It’s mostly dudes acting like they have a right to sex from whatever lady they are attracted to. BUT what I’m arguing is that the sexism is a function of the people using the phrase, not the phrase itself, and so railing against the concept of the “Friend Zone” is like giving someone a lozenge for a sore throat they have from coughing up all that tuberculosis blood. The… yeah, the throat’s not in great shape, but soothing the throat isn’t going to stop the bloody lungs. And if we could take care of those lungs, we wouldn’t have a problem with the throat either?

    Because when you get rid of all that stuff, I kind of like the phrase “friend zone.” I like that we have a term to describe a situation where, you know, you’re hurting. I still have buttloads of respect for all of the ladies that have turned me down, and I’m so grateful to have their continuing friendships, but I also like feeling like there’s a concept out there for the way I’ve felt, something that lets me know that it’s okay to feel bad to get rejected because there’s other people talking about feeling that way too: they came up with a phrase for it, and maybe we can all sort of commiserate constructively, without stupidly lashing out at people or trying to degrade women because it makes men feel better about rejection. I think it’s an equal-opportunity phrase, if we can manage to wrest it away from assholes.

    Maybe you’ll disagree, and you’ll say that “friend zone” has been around too long. It’s so much bathwater that we’re not even sure there’s still a baby in there. I get that, and I also get that it’s not up to me to decide whether the term is still usable. But if we get rid of “friend zone,” I think the feminists and humanists have to be on the vanguard of setting up a new, non-sexist term. I think it’s important for us to have constructive language for rejection, and phrases that help us understand that when you get rejected it’s not an assault on your masculinity or femininity or whateverinity that has to be counter-assaulted in order to preserve your fragile sense of self-worth–it’s a human situation that you’re allowed to hurt from, and then get over.


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