1) It ignores the actual wishes of the woman
2) It displays an entitled attitude to a woman's body
3) It posits that the worst thing ever is to be "just" friends with a woman
4) It's a go to complaint of guys who are actually deeply misogynistic
Since publishing that piece, it's been linked in a few different places and has received more attention and comments than my average post. Some of the comments shared a view I've heard frequently...that the real reason men complain about the friend zone is because they've been the victims of manipulation by women. Let's take a closer look at this idea for a moment.
The complicating factor that gets ignored here is that women often will take advantage of a male's romantic interest. A simple test is to evaluate whether the friendship is in balance the way 2 guys who are friends would balance it. The problem isn't true friend zones. The problem is when the woman uses this interest in what maybe better than "friendzone" could be called "manipulationzone". I know some guys are just searching for a rationale to resent the woman not being romantically reciprocally interested. But others have experienced aspects of the "friendzone" which are not really ethical. Oversimplifying this ignores the realities that axes of the Kyriarchy do not only point in one direction.I'm going to set aside for a minute that this suggestion feels sexist to me on its face...because are we really going to suggest that women are more manipulative and conniving than men by merely entering these friendships? I mean, the dude entered with his own ulterior motives (sex) in this case too, right? But yes, that aside, I don't think that the fact that some women manipulate men is justification for guys classifying every female friend who won't date/sleep with them as heartless bitches who friend zone them.
Let's suppose that for a moment that a woman is intentionally using a man's attraction to her to manipulate him and repeatedly get things from him. The problem here is simple: this theoretical woman is not being a good person and the clear solution is to stop putting energy into someone so toxic. Just move on. It has nothing to do with "a thing that women do to 'nice guys' in general."
None of this justifies a gendered term used to disparage all male-female relationships that don't contain sexual activity.
Toxic friendships are not gender specific. I mean, I've had both male and female friends who have used me in various ways and that is something I had to come to understand and accept and choose to not be friends with those people anymore. I didn't need to create a blanket term that I then applied to whole other groups of people. I just don't see the point in defending a term that has such loaded/offensive connotations (a fact which has been widely stated by women like myself.)
If this is just speaking out about the problem of people manipulating others for their own gain, then let's advocate for open, communicative, healthy, mutually-beneficial relationships of all types. But I don't think it's really about that...I think that the widespread use of the term "friend zone" is actually about those 4 premises I shared above. Dudes (who aren't actually nice guys at all) want sex from women who only want to be friends with said dudes, and then those dudes cry about the friend zone.
And come on...while kyriarchy might not "point in one direction" I won't, for one moment, entertain the idea that women manipulating men is an actual axis of oppression. Nope. No. Not at all.
Please see the commenting policy before replying to this post.