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Friendzones, “stalkerish” behavior and rejection.

Recently I was scrolling through Tumblr when I came upon this post that really got me thinking about this whole idea of “friend-zoning’ and how absolutely ridiculous and one-sided it is against women.

“In pop culture, girls who crush hopelessly on guys they can’t have are painted as just that – hopeless. Over and over again, we’re taught that girls who openly express sexual or romantic interest in guys who don’t want them are pitiable, stalkerish, desperate, crazy bitches. More often than not, they’re also portrayed as ugly – whether physically, emotionally or both – in order to further establish their undesirability as an objective fact. Both narratively and, as a consequence, in real life, men are given free reign to snub, abuse, mislead and talk down to such women: we’re raised to believe that female desire is unseemly, so that any consequent shaming is therefore deserved. There is no female-equivalent Friend Zone terminology because, in the language of our culture, a man’s romantic choices are considered sacrosanct and inviolable. If a girl has been told no, then she has only herself to blame for anything that happens next – but if a woman says no, then she must not really mean it. Or, if she does, she shouldn’t: the rejected man is a universally sympathetic figure, and everyone from moviegoers to platonic onlookers will scream at her to just give him a chance, as though her rejection must always be unfounded rather than based on the fact that he had a chance, and blew it. And even then, give him another one! The pathos of Single Nice Guys can only be eased by pity-sex with unwilling women that blossoms into romance!”

Lamenting the Friendzone, or: The Nice Guy Approach to Perpetuating Sexist Bullshit (via expensivebirdcage)

Before reading this quote, I had never really realized that there was no male equivalent to the friend-zone. A guy never friend-zones a girl, he either rejects her or pursues her. But there’s no sugarcoating to it. When looking at a situation where a girl “friend-zones” the guy, it seems that there is a repetitive pattern of perceiving the “friend-zoned” subject as the victim, the nice-guy who finished last. While the friend-zoner is perceived as this villain who’s out to break every nice-guys heart. Over and over again in movies, song lyrics and real life situations I find myself seeing the same situation; A guy complaining about being “friend-zoned” after he was “lead on”. Granted, I’m sure in some situations the girl may have actually lead the guy on, however, in most of the situations I’ve experienced and seen, a guy will attest to being “friend-zoned” and “lead on” after a girl had two solid conversations with him, or was his lab partner for the week, or lent him her notes from the class he missed. It just seems ridiculous that society seems to think women almost owe it to men to like them, and if they don’t they’ve friendzoned a nice guy and he’s the victim in the situation. What’s even more appalling is the fact that there’s no gender equivalent to the friendzone for men. So if a guy rejects a girl, it’s her fault, he’s the victim. She’s the one that was expressing interest when he clearly didn’t want it. It just seems unfair that the lines are completely blurry in situations like these, and for women, it seems like they’re portrayed as either the girl who’s standards are too high and shot down the nice guy or the girl who’s crazy and stalkerish and is “hopelessly” in love with someone she has no chance with.


6 Comments

  1. falmuhan says:

    That’s my first time hearing the phrase friend-zones. I tried understanding the meaning of it but it wasn’t very clear to me. I searched on Google found the definition- one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. But I didn’t understand if only men are friend-zoned?

  2. meerkat93 says:

    I completely agree with you about the double standard of friendzoning! Being a man in the friendzone is considered awful and they are seen as someone to be pitied and as a victim…but just because you like a girl, she is NOT obligated to like you in return! Having a friendship with a woman does not mean she is obligated to become romantically interested in you, no matter how many times you do her favors or are nice or whatever. You should be doing that for a friend of any sex. It does NOT mean she owes you a sexual relationship.

    Also, friendzoning does imply that men are some tragic figure who are not loved only because women do not see the good in them. Your movie example is perfect. Women don’t get friendzoned because when a woman is interested in a man and he doesn’t like her, she is “desperate” or “crazy” or a “stalker” if she doesn’t quit talking to him the very moment she realizes he doesn’t return her feelings. Friendzoned men aren’t loved because women don’t see that they are loveable. Friendzoned women aren’t loved because they are flawed in some way, if not flat-out crazy.

    Excellent post. I don’t think many people realize how annoying the concept of the friendzone can be to a feminist. Friendship is friendship and love is love. They don’t have to be combined, and loving a woman does not require her to love you in return.

  3. hebasha says:

    Oh, it irritates me so much when people believe that a man and woman cannot be involved in any relationship besides a romantic one. Men and women can be friends, and I dread it every time I hear of a husband getting jealous of his wife’s male companion, and proceeding to justify his argument by stating that it’s simply unnatural for a man a woman to be friends. -_-

  4. I wonder if you’ve been hanging out on the homepages of some of the self-styled “alphas” and the MGTOW crowd.

    “Before reading this quote, I had never really realized that there was no male equivalent to the friend-zone. A guy never friend-zones a girl, he either rejects her or pursues her.”

    I could not disagree with this more. Prof. Martin, we are not lions and women are not wildebeests. Pursuit of a woman is not anything like a reflex action for a man. Personally, I can think of a number of reasons why I haven’t pursued women who I found extremely interesting, at the time.

    1. I already had a girlfriend.
    2. She already had a boyfriend.
    3. I didn’t have a girlfriend, but I was pursuing somebody else already.
    4. While I was available, I didn’t believe that the woman I liked would welcome my pursuit.
    5. I just didn’t have the free time. You’ve been to graduate school, so you know how that works.
    6. I had been unemployed and socially isolated for so long, that I was afraid that even if she did agree to go out with me, I’d bore her to tears.

    So, in one way or another, pursuing her would have either been wrong or foolish, but these things can change. I and she could both end up single at the same time, I could find myself with more free time and more of a life, or I could get what seemed to me to be a sign that she was interested.

    Aside from this … I’m guessing that I’ve seen a blog that you’ve read, in which a semi-anonymous allegedly male blogger explains men to women. Supposedly. He said something about how men would size up women very quickly, running some sort of mental checklist to see if they would be suitable, while the women would need much longer, and that for this reason, a woman could not hope to win a man over, because he would either fall for her immediately or never. That didn’t sound like my experience, at all, and I’m fairly sure that I am male.

    The concept makes no sense to me. How deep a personal connection can one have with somebody one has only known briefly? I don’t even approach paintings that way, much less people, and which is more complex, an oil painting or a woman? Some experiences will grow on one and some won’t, and so some of us try to just let them happen. One of the women responding asked the blogger how she was to tell “love at first sight” from “lust at first sight” and I think that was a good rhetorical question.

    “we’re raised to believe that female desire is unseemly”

    Who finds it so? I’m a guy. I don’t think it’s unseemly.

    “What’s even more appalling is the fact that there’s no gender equivalent to the friendzone for men.”

    I’ve met women who’d disagree with that. Again, I would have to, as well. I can think of a number of women I’ve known in the past who, while not of sexual interest to me at the time, were treasured friends. That’s not a friend zone?

    I would suggest that there is one other difference. I do not know who told you that men would not like to be pursued, themselves, but more than a few of us would be intrigued if a women were to take the initiative. If that woman were a close friend, a lot of us would like that even more, and there’s a good chance that she’d been seen in a different light, in a positive way. Maybe we don’t speak of women being in friend zones very often because, very often, if a woman really wanted to get out of it, she so easily could. But, that having been said, in my entire life, I’ve never seen a woman so much as ask a man out, even once.

    I think you’ve been greatly mislead. I get the impression that you’ve been hanging out on some sites run by males who want to bed as many women as they possibly can, and show that they couldn’t care less whether those women like them at all, gleefully claiming that women never really feel genuine affection for men at all. I don’t know what powers somebody like that, makes him thrive on misery, but I do know that they don’t speak for the rest of us. A de-sexualized sado-masochism is not a universal male trait.

    • hanamattar says:

      Did you learn anything from the class or are you going to continue yelling ‘Not All Men” until you feel you’ve established your alpha-male opinion. I am a woman, expressing how from my 21 years of experience, I have dealt with countless situations where I have been labeled a “bitch’ for friendzoning a guy, or “unappealing” for expressing interest. You can choose to hear women out, if you really do claim to care about feminism considering you’re in this course, or you can aimlessly write 4 pages rambling about how ‘not all men’ would do this because you wouldnt, so clearly that must disprove my argument. Well just like your experiences are valid, so are mine, so disagree all you want, but I’m not lying, and just because the girl wrote this on her blog without citing sources doesnt make it invalid. I havent been mislead, i havent been hanging around some sites run by males who want to bed as many women as they can. Ive been living 21 years on this earth as a woman. I’d suggest you open a book and possibly your brain and realize that the sexism on this earth affects our daily lives, even how were perceived in relationships

  5. I wrote:

    ““we’re raised to believe that female desire is unseemly”

    Who finds it so? I’m a guy. I don’t think it’s unseemly.”

    Yes, the author does mention “pop culture” without citing any examples, but I would ask if that’s a good way to determine what popular attitudes are on a subject. If these women are treated disrespectfully in a movie, does that tell us something about American attitudes toward the female lovelorn, or about the attitudes of those writing the script and producing the film?

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