Friendship, entitlement, and feminism

What happens when you want to be friends with someone who wants a romantic relationship?

If you are a mature adult, you explain to the person that you only want to be friends and you make an effort to keep the friendship simple so as to not send misleading signals that you may change your mind.

Or you can complain about how friend-zoning is not and rant about how horrible men are for disliking rejection.

Vice published an article in which the feminist author skewered men over the notion of the friend-zone. She claims that it “isn’t a thing”. She attempts to dismantle the idea and take men to task. Instead, she reveals her own sense of entitlement and how ideology blinds one to seeing and understanding other people’s experiences.

A public service announcement.

The “friend zone”: a nice catch-all that evokes the picture of a sweet, sensitive, ginger-haired lad looking forlornly out to sea whilst you, the lady he loves, gallivants around town with another.

That sounds more like how you envision the man. The general vision is a good who attempts to woo a woman by meeting the characteristics she says she wants in a partner only to find she does not like those qualities in him.

All he wants to do is make you mix tapes of his favourite indie bands and show you his rare collection of first-edition Dylan Thomas hardcovers, but NO. You just want to be “friends” (you bitch). You just want to enjoy his company without also wanting his dick.

Again, that sounds far more personal than a general description. It also does not sound like you just want to enjoy his company, but I will get to that in moment.

The term “friend zone” has become so entrenched in our culture that it’s almost never questioned. A quick search for self-help articles aimed toward men shows that the “friend zone” is a regular focus: how to avoid the friend zone; how to know you’re in the friend zone; what to do if you’re in the friend zone. It’s almost as if no one is stopping to think what this term is saying to women, or how it affects us. It’s almost as if women aren’t the problem.

Given that the term can apply to women as well, this argument makes no sense. It also makes little sense to say “women aren’t the problem” when the use of the term implies that the friend-zoning party, typically a woman, is the problem.

When men use the term “friend zone,” they are explicitly attempting to shame women for hurting their feelings.

No, when men use the term, they are explicitly stating how women make them feel when men try to meet the standards women claim they want in a partner only to be rejected.

“Friend zone” shames women for exercising their right to say no, just as “slut” shames women for exercising their right to say yes (and “bitch” attacks women for their right to call you out on your horseshit).

No, it tells women that it is rather cruel and exploitative to befriend someone you know wants something more than friendship instead of making it clear from the beginning that you are not interested. It is just as exploitative to continue that friendship on a close or intimate level knowing the person wants more.

By using “the friend zone,” men are telling women that we owe them something.

Yes. Men are telling women that women owe men the decency of being upfront about their interests and not playing emotional games with men who want something more.

This is not a difficult concept. Nobody likes being led on,  nor do they enjoy being sidelined and used as a soundboard for another person’s relationship complaints. Yet this happens to many men who are friend-zoned. Women tell these men about their terrible relationships, complaining about not finding a “good” man to a man who has the very qualities they want.

It tells us we don’t have autonomy over our own lives, and that that should be decided for us.

No one says anything of the sort. The problem is the exploitation of men’s interest. You know he wants a sexual relationship, not just friendship. Yet instead of making it clear, you allow him to think he has a chance or do not explicitly say you are not interested. In the instances where you do tell him that, you expect to maintain this close friendship and you will feel hurt if he breaks it off.

We owe them sex or a romantic relationship because we should be grateful that a dude—any dude—is being nice to us.

No, men think that if they embody the traits women say they want in men, it is rather odd for women to constantly reject someone with those traits, particularly someone women appear to like.

Even though being nice is literally the bare minimum. You don’t get a cookie for passing the lowest possible bar of humanity. That’s great that you loudly proclaim you’re not sexist or racist or shallow or self-involved or abusive, but there’s no gold star for listing a bunch of faults you don’t have, or for doing what you’re fucking supposed to do.

No one is required to be nice to you. You are not entitled to anyone’s generosity or goodness. Yes, it speaks well of a person’s character if they are kind to others, but no one is entitled to that kindness, let alone are they required to provide it.

“I’m a nice guy, I don’t do that,” you might say. OK, but do you stand up against men who do? Or do you sit there and watch while you think about how nice you are?

You just stated that “there’s no gold star for listing a bunch of faults you don’t have, or for doing what you’re fucking supposed to do”, so why do you care what the guy does?

Women are constantly told that our instincts and feelings aren’t as important as those of men.

Since the conversation is about friend-zoning, the literal meaning of the above statement is that your instincts and feelings tell you to befriend someone and share intimate details about your life with him, but warn you against having sex with him.

You do realize that the bulk of a relationship is essentially a friendship? So if he is trustworthy enough for you to sleep in the same bed with him if you cannot make it home, why is he suddenly too untrustworthy to have sex with?

Do you not see the contradiction? It would be one thing if you did not find the person attractive. Yet to say this person meets all your desired characteristics and rebuff him seems odd.

Don’t like being hit on at work? But how is he supposed to meet romantic partners? Don’t like it when strange, greasy guys at the club say you have fuckable titties? Maybe you should learn to take a compliment!

Yes, because all men flirt with women at work and are unkempt jerks. Such an argument is in no way sexist.

It’s funny how often “You need to learn how to take a compliment” is said by fully-grown men who still have not learned how to take rejection.

You could always trade places. As a woman, you could approach men, give them compliments, and see what it feels like to present yourself as best as you can only to have someone shut you down. It does not feel very good, particularly if you really like the person or if you found it difficult to put yourself out there.

Of course, as a woman you have the privilege of never experiencing this.

If a woman tells you she fears for her safety because of street harassment, and your main concern is that you now can’t hit on strangers on the street, then I would reconsider your fucking priorities.

And I am sure you apply this warped logic to all other situations. If a white person tells a Mexican person they fear for their safety because of violent immigrants or a Christian tells a gay person they fear for their safety because of pedophilia or someone living in the West tells a Muslim they fear for their safety because of terrorism, the main concern should be those people’s irrational fears, not the bigotry driving those fears.

If you think women are crazy for not accepting your compliments, you’ve never had the unique experience of being hit on by a man, then the same man threatening to kill you in the time it takes you to say, “no thanks.”

And how often is that the response to a rejected compliment? Perhaps a better question is why did you reject a compliment? Do you not like people saying nice things to you?

Often, the love-stricken friend in this non-existent “zone” launches into a volley of romantic gestures: he sends you little hello texts every morning, he comes to all your house parties, he likes everything you post on Facebook and he tells all his friends about you. Sweet. Charming. Harmless. Because he just *knows* you’re meant to be together, and if society has taught men anything, it’s that persistence pays off!

And who sends the men the message to be persistent? Who plays hard to get? Who pretends to have no interest until a man has performed the right number of inane actions to prove himself worthy of dating? Who later tells a man who backed off due to a lack of reciprocation that they wished he had kept trying?

Of course when women perform the same sweeping romantic gestures to men who clearly say they’re not interested, it’s seen universally as desperate and sad. Stage 5 Clinger! Stalker. Bitches be cray.

And why is that? Why would we find it odd for women, who generally do not pursue men, to constantly contact a man who has shown no interest in her? And what do we call this behavior when a man does it? Do we not call it creepy?

But if a woman tells you she’s not interested, she’s not speaking in code. When she says, “I’m fine,” what she really means is: She’s fine. Just like when she says “no,” it’s not a yes in disguise. Or a “yes if you pursue me.”

Except sometimes it is, which is why men have to double and triple and quadruple check to see if she really means “no”. The simplest solution would be for women not to play games with their interest. However, if they are going to do it, the consequence is that men will have to continuously ask if women mean what they say.

Stop believing that women don’t know how to accurately express themselves.

Men will do this when women accurately express themselves.

And stop believing that you can claim a woman because you saw her first, or because you’re positive you are exactly what she needs.

You are right. Men interested in the same woman should gang-flirt her, not give one guy a chance to see if the woman returns interest. Likewise, men with the qualities women claim they want should not assume women may find them interesting.

The argument that men can also “friend zone” women has been put out there, but it ignores one universal truth: women don’t see men as binary options like fuckable or friend. Women have complex, nuanced, confusing, fulfilling, tumultuous relationships with women, men and non-gender-binary persons.

Actually, that is the core issue of friend-zoning. It is using someone for certain intimate needs while knowing they want something more. It is a horrible thing to do to someone with romantic intentions because it confuses the relationship.

Naturally, men can as well, but the type of man who claims he’s been put in the “friend zone” is explicitly telling you he is categorizing your worth on whether or not he wants to stick his dick in you.

No, he is explicitly telling you that you have categorized his worth on whether or not you want his dick in you.

And since we are acknowledging that men do this too, why not run this scenario by a man. Go and tell a man how another man befriended a woman he knows wants to have sex with him but he intends to just be friends. Run that by men and see their response. It will sound something like,  “Either fuck her or drop her.”

The reason most men would respond that way is because they find it cruel to use a woman in that manner. If you know you are uninterested, the respectful thing to do is either end the friendship or keep it limited. To do anything else is just playing head games, and that is a rather scumbag thing to do.

“Friend zoned” men need to grow the fuck up and handle rejection like adults. Because the “friend zone” isn’t actually a thing.

Imagine this: you go to a company for a job interview. The interview goes well and the manager seems to like you. The manager invites you to lunch to discuss the business. He invites you back for another interview. He invites you to a business function. He invites you to hang out at his house. He calls and texts you to bounce off ideas about improving the business. He even pushes you to make suggestions on your own.

But he never hires you.

Every time you bring up the open job position he changes the subject. This goes on for months until he finally admits that he will not hire you because you would not be a good fit for the company. However, he would like to continue the working relationship you developed, including having you come to the office to suggest ideas.

How would this make you feel? Would you consider it a failure to accept rejection if you complained about this scenario? Would you not consider it cruel to lead you on like this?

This is what friend-zoning looks like. It is a person engaging in every aspect of an romantic relationship except for sex, and expecting the denied party to enjoy it.

Let us be clear: there is nothing wrong with wanting an intimate platonic relationship. You can have that intimacy if you want. There is a problem with trying to do this with someone you know wants to have sex with you.

Again, this leads them on. It makes them think that if they do the right set of things that you will give them a chance.

Perhaps instead of complaining about men’s feelings of rejection you should make your interest clear. And if you encounter a man you know wants something more than you are willing to give, do not use his desire as a means to fulfill your want of “complex, nuanced, confusing, fulfilling, tumultuous relationships”.

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7 thoughts on “Friendship, entitlement, and feminism

  1. “A quick search for self-help articles aimed toward men shows that the “friend zone” is a regular focus: how to avoid the friend zone; how to know you’re in the friend zone; what to do if you’re in the friend zone. It’s almost as if no one is stopping to think what this term is saying to women, or how it affects us. ”

    God forbid that men should have a conversation amongst themselves about relationships.

  2. Feminists are really sensitive about this issue and adamant about denying it. I think they gain some advantage that they would rather not talk about. For guys, the best defense is the three date rule. To the ladies, sorry, but you brought it on yourselves. By limiting it to three dates, the guy is not going to be chasing sunk costs. While I can hear the feminine groans as I write this, I can understand how faith could limit your response, the guy does need to have some token that the woman is serious about this.
    In the meanwhile, what are women doing by stringing guys along? They are turning them bitter to all women.

  3. This is such utter crap that I’m not going to even bother refuting it

    All that “friendzone” ever meant was “platonic only”, and not wanting to get stuck there because you feel differently about that person. There. Is. Fuck. All. To. Do. With. Feeling. Owed. Sex. People who think like that tend to be unpleasant and abusers, even rapists, and some of them – shock, horror – are women as well! Fuck knows, some of us lads are abuse or rape victims and want to actually pick ourselves up from the dust, so to say “no, you’re not allowed to talk about relationships, it’s demeaning to women” displays a jaw-dropping lack of self-awareness considering what women say about their sex partners to one another, not to mention that being told that it’s immoral to find self help is sexist.

    Having said that, the “friendzone” is used as a boogeyman by fake advice gurus to sell info, and I advise all men to avoid buying these idiots. They don’t care about you or your self esteem, they play on your insecurities. Some of them are decent, but they tend to offer more coherent and full advice, and actually have decent experience with women.

    I was pretty much terrified of sexual contact out of fear of violence because of what happened to me, so it took a lot of counselling (and a one night stand) to help me pick myself up from the dust and feel more confident. I don’t know what the feminist mob was smoking when they came up with this, but as I keep saying, they aren’t very bright.

    The only sense of entitlement stems from the dishonest women who want to pull male strings and frame them as the bad guy if they question this bad behaviour, in order to continue manipulating them.

  4. It strikes me as weird to see “friend zone” used as a verb. I always thought that “friend zone” refers to the status of the relationship, it is not something either party does to the other. It’s similar to the concept of a “Bad lead” in marketing- noone is saying the lead is a bad person or wasting the salesperson time, just that an experienced salesperson would learn to recognize when a conversation is simply not heading toward a sale.

  5. Gentlemen .. please return to your proper position .. of slave on the plantation .. your escape was not authorized by the fem’nest imperative.

    Your co’op’per’a’shin is expected.

  6. Actually on reflection, I reckon this is female vanity 101 (no offence to any female readers of this blog).

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