Pop culture has coined a term used in movies and just about every man’s life to define the oh-so tragic destination one may end up after a woman merely believes she is friends with them. They call it ‘The Friendzone’– a fictitious and degrading viewpoint that suggests females are only beneficial when they’re dating you or when they’re banging you. Now, before you start to think that The Friendzone isn’t completely sexist, try thinking of the last time a woman degraded a man because he wouldn’t go home with her. Yes, rejection is disappointing to both men and women in any circumstance. But how is The Friendzone not a common way of characterizing those women who say no? Not to say that women get sex handed to them, but furthers my point that a man’s intentions when getting into a friendship with a woman are more often than not, linked to an ulterior motive.
This notion of The Friendzone inflicts upon woman in unfortunate ways. It’s a shame word. If a woman is anything less than comfortable with taking her friendship with a guy further, she is shamed for saying no. Then on the contrary, she is portrayed as easy if she sleeps with him. It’s the Madonna-whore complex we’re all too familiar with. Not only is it denying a woman’s right to say no, it’s characterizing her in a negative manner. It is making someone feel as if their friendship was a stepping stone to an end goal.
I do not believe that all guys befriend women only with the intention of getting laid. Some may be purely interested in having a relationship, and may use The Friendzone to explain why “she doesn’t want to date me”. However, this alone belittles the emotion, experience and positivity that comes with a platonic relationship. It implies that holding a friendship with a woman is undesirable without it leading in another direction.
The Friendzone pools together all the men who don’t know how to deal with ‘no’. These same people will often blame their “Nice Guyness” for the reason why a woman is not interested. Mainly, a man will play the Nice Guy card when they don’t get what they want. They befriend a woman with specific intentions, don’t express them and then lash out when she is blindsided by their motives.
This concept has been brought to play in movies like Just Friends. The film was quick to undermine a human integrity, when it quoted “Don’t do lunch [with Sheila]… That’s like an express lane to the Friendzone. Move your day date to tonight, and no matter what you do, kiss her at the end”. This guy may have wanted to actually explore his connection with Sheila on an emotional level, it’s rightly possible. But, since treating a girl to breakfast, brunch or lunch are more favourable ways to a woman’s heart (Can I say brunch again?) myself and the rest of the female population are convinced that this scene advised men that the way to a girl’s pants on the floor is with a late night dinner reservation and a kiss goodbye.
No one deserves a reward for their good behaviour unless you’re under the age of 6. So for anyone who knows a guy complaining that he’s stuck in The Friendzone, help him escape it. Do yourself a favour and just stop being friends with him.
By Marianne Iannaci