So … Friend Zoning… it is one of those phrases that just refuses to go away. It is a horribly sexist and patriarchal suggestion and one that I really wish would die off. It is a strictly male gaze situation. I assume that you have all come accross this phrase? If not, it means that the girl you have your eye on, is not romantically interested in you, but likes you as a friend. Because the worst thing that could happen is you have a friend of the opposite sex.
Now the term allegedly was first coined by Joey in Friends (ironically) :The term “friend-zone” was first popularized by a 1994 episode of the American sitcom Friends entitled “” (S01E07). Ross, who is head over heels in love with Rachel, is called “the mayor of the friend-zone” by Joey. The idea of a guy escaping the friend zone and dating his female friend made the “geek dream couple” of the Ross and Rachel storyline dramatically compelling. The “friend-zone” concept can be found in many tv shows and films made ever since.
But why does this annoy me so much, don’t we all like a happy ending, shouldn’t everyone get to end up with their true love, to live happily every after, even then the camera’s stop rolling? To go back to my first paragraph, why is being friends so bad? Friendships are and can be long lasting, sustaining, they can be meaningful, you can be as close as siblings. So why is it so important for the relationship to become sexual or romantic. Why does it have to evolve.
Women struggle, going from having a mix of friends at a young age, maybe being a tom boy, having a mix of siblings, or just playing with the locals kids. When you hit puberty, things change, and there is the idea that different sexes cannot ‘just be friends’ without some under current. There is even some suggestion as to why a woman might want the company of men and not women. That is not to say that the same isn’t true of men, men who spend more time in the company of women can have their masculinity questioned.
But is it the idea of coupling people up, so they will get married, have children, carry on the family name, make sure there is another generation, still such a strong desire and need that this colours interactions between the sexes. That you are taught, albeit subtly, that you need to find a mate as soon as possible to make sure you are settled and starting the next generation. These days, the population is not something we need to be concerned about, there are certainly enough humans on earth to ensure its survival. Women don’t need to find a mate, generally speaking we have similar opportunities and wages, we are able to live independently of a mate, we don’t need anyone to pay our bills, and are we all still so conceited that we honestly believe that our genes are so important that we need to make sure they stay in circulation?
If it sounds like I am going on a tangent, I am trying to work out why ‘friend zoning’ is a thing, why friendship alone is such a bad thing. And honestly it does feel like a male enterprise, men feeling entitled, that they can pick a woman as a mate and feel offended when she isn’t interested? It is this sense of entitlement that worries me, how many stories have come out, of young men shooting up dorms because the object of their desire turned them down? What makes them think that they have the right to expect a woman will fall that their feet? It can’t just be about sex, i mean surely that is a pretty easy commodity to come by – as long as you are careful. So it feels like it is a sense of ownership. Not only having the latest gadget, nicest place to live, new car, you want to ‘own’ the prettiest mate?
You may feel that I am sounding like a militant feminist, ‘we don’t need a man’ – not at all. It is the sense of why you are in the relationship, and why oh why is being friends seen as such a bad thing? Women genuinely are not taught this, if you look back at films, there is a whole catalogue of movies based on women being rejected by men but they have a make over – the film that stands out for this is She’s All That –on the surface a fun teen comedy about the school jock getting ‘played’ when he falls for the girl he had previously dismissed as an ugly nerd, and not worthy of him and his status in the school. However when she gets a makeover as part of a challenge, he suddenly sees her inner beauty…. sorry, he suddenly sees that she scrubs up pretty well and will look good on his arm.
Oh sorry, I am sounding like an angry feminist aren’t I ? I mean guys, it doesn’t matter what you look like, you just pick someone you fancy, if she doesn’t feel the same way you can feel crappy, whine on line about how we are all bitches, refuse to change anything about yourself, or make compromises, maybe look somewhere new for a mate, appreciate friendship for what it is and in extreme cases, get your gun and show people what a man you are. Women? Well we are called whores for spending time with men, for having male friends, we should appreciate any male attention and not suggest for a moment we are not interested or risk being called frigid. We either settle for a man who likes us for who we are, or we can change to suit a man who doesn’t want to look at the standard packaging. Damn right I am angry! Friend zoning is not a thing. It is a ridiculous sentiment and statement that is enabling men to have a sense of entitlement.