In recent years, a new set of various slang terms has infected the ears and mouths of our generation. There are many complaints about the terms “YOLO” and “swag,” simply because they sound incredibly ridiculous and rather unintelligent. However, I hear very little objection over the term “friend zone.” While I agree that “YOLO” and “swag” are guilty of being utterly obnoxious and need to become extinct, I am far more offended by “friend zone.”
According to the ever-popular Urban Dictionary, a never ending source of definitions for even the most absurd slang term, the friend zone is an area a man is “placed in” after he fails to impress a woman he’s attracted to. Friend zone placement is commonly associated with situations where a woman openly refers to a man as a friend or denies him sexually or romantically – even if he showers her with money, affection, gifts, etc. It is clear that our culture considers the friend zone as a negative state of being in a relationship.
As a woman, I find this term highly offensive in what it implies and what it perpetuates. To me, the friend zone implies that a man is owed romantic commitment or sex from a woman he is pursuing, just because he is making an effort to win her over. This also implies that a woman is wrong for not automatically guaranteeing a commitment or sex after going on a date with a guy.
Any sex or romantic commitment a person receives is a privilege, not a right. Nobody owes sex or is obligated to make any sort of romantic commitment, ever. As a human being, it is my right to reject whomever I please. In fact, a woman has a right to deny sex or to reject a pursuer, even if she has led him on.
This isn’t to say that it isn’t OK to hurt or be somewhat offended when you get rejected. Of course it hurts, and it sucks when it happens to you. There is nothing wrong with seeing that situation as unfavorable and wanting to avoid it. However, negative feelings resulting from rejection become wrong and potentially dangerous when you start to believe that person owes you her affections or sexual consent, or is obligated to not reject you.
Regardless of whether or not you were led on, objectifying that person through physical force, guilt tripping, coercion or by any other means is a far worse action. If you were really a nice guy, then you would be respectful of her decisions and not push her into something she is not consenting to of her own accord.
Friend zone implies that women are mere sexual objects and lack the ability to have a positive, non-romantic relationship with a guy. It’s perfectly fine if a man and a woman that are friends choose to have sex or pursue something more than friendship, so long as there is consent from both parties. However, no woman owes any sort of romantic or sexual affections to her friends that are men, regardless of how they might feel about her or any favors they offer.
These inevitable implications only perpetuate the idea that it is okay to perceive a woman as lacking the worthiness of a human being, which systematically perpetuates blaming the victim when a woman is raped. The concept of friend zoning is an offensive and dangerous attitude to adopt.
There is no such thing as the “friend zone.” It is a made up device to allow people to feel self-entitled to a woman’s body or romantic affections.