Misogyny in the Friend Zone

11 Sep, 2012

It’s easy to be a feminist on paper, yet the day-to-day actions of many well-meaning men contradict their feminist principles and point to an underlying misogyny. One of the sources of this unconscious misogyny is the infamous “friend zone” and the reaction it sparks in some men, demeaning women in the process.

The main problem with men in the friend zone is their tendency to act as if they’re the victim of some horrible crime. This belief is encapsulated perfectly in one of the many BroTips—cheesy pieces of advice for men lacking common sense— floating around my News Feed: “Ladies, guys are sick of hearing you ask where all of the ‘nice guys’ are. They’re in the friend zone, where you left them.”

Men who buy into the nice guy-asshole binary usually do so based on an experience where they, as seemingly nice guys, were passed over for an asshole, leading them to believe that all women like assholes.

Upholding this narrative demeans women by looking condescendingly upon their choice of sexual partners simply because they aren’t you. By failing to respect the choices women make in their lives, you belittle their intelligence and freewill. It’s bad enough when you do this to one woman, but when you extend this attitude towards all of the women in your life and beyond, the problem becomes far worse. This type of attitude can foster hate towards women, and in our patriarchal society this is the last thing we need. Yet unfortunately, it seems that a major source of violence against women comes exactly from these types of private day-to-day relationships.

In light of this, I’m going to offer some advice to help men escape the nice guy vs. asshole binary, and the hatred it often brings about. First, stop looking at yourselves as nice guys. If your entire friendship with a girl is based upon potentially sleeping with her, you went into the friendship with ulterior motives and thus aren’t nice at all. This is also why I choose to refer to the “friend zone” as the “no sex zone”; she may look at you as a friend, but you certainly don’t look at her like that. So when she inevitably rejects you and tells you she just wants to be friends, I can promise you won’t be.

Second, stop believing you’re perfect. Too many guys have a hard time recognizing the reason(s) why a girl doesn’t like them. Instead of looking at themselves and wondering why they didn’t get the girl, they just blame it on assholes and the girls who love them. Maybe you and her just didn’t click, maybe you weren’t being the best version of you, or maybe you just said the wrong things. Whatever the reason, something did go wrong, and you should figure out why, instead of blaming the girl or the entire female population.

Finally, be honest with yourself. If you can’t be just friends with her, remove yourself. If you want to sleep with her, don’t try to bullshit being “friends” with her. This will help you develop more authentic friendships and save yourself the bitterness and hate you may experience in the “no sex zone.” Guys, stop complaining and start thinking. The women in your life will appreciate it and you may also find yourself in the “no sex zone” a lot less often.



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