The word ‘friendship’ is, undoubtedly, an emotive one: it makes us think of the incredible people in our lives, who support us unconditionally. We turn to our friends when we need them most – and, likewise, we’re there to help lift them up when times are hard. We trust our friends with our hearts, ask them for advice, and forge memories with them.
Most of all, though, we make countless happy memories with them: to think of friendship is to think of joy.
Which is why it’s so baffling that so many men see ‘The Friend Zone’ as a negative thing.
If you spend any time on the internet – or, y’know, have ever seen a film or TV show – then you’ll no doubt have stumbled across the concept of The Friend Zone at least once in your life. There are thousands of memes dedicated to this imaginary space, which is populated by people (usually men) who are desperately in love/lust with one of their close friends.
Tragically for these entitled brats, though, the object of their affections just isn’t interested in them in that way – and so they’re doomed to be relegated to nothing more than a friend forever more.
Let’s repeat that, shall we? They’re doomed to be relegated to nothing more than a friend. As if friendship is somehow inferior to romantic and sexual relationships. As if these so-called ‘nice guys’ deserve to be rewarded with sex simply for being a decent human being. As if there’s no other reason to spend time with someone than to get inside their pants.
Recently, a (probably embittered) social media user took to Twitter to share a few photos of popular cartoon double acts – all of whom were made up of men and women.
“These dudes were the definition of being in The Friend Zone,” he wrote disparagingly.
What they didn’t bank on, though, was the fact that David Slack (aka the writer behind two of the above characters, Teen Titans’ Beast Boy and Terra) is also on Twitter.
And he really, really wasn’t happy with the idea of anyone forcing the toxic concept of The Friend Zone on his creations.
“I hope you someday learn what Beast Boy already knew: that women are actually people,” he replied.
“They're not games to be won. They have their own minds and hearts, and they don't owe you a relationship just because you're attracted to them.”
He continued: “And if you don't value friendship with a woman, you don't deserve anything beyond that anyway.
“This implication rests on the assumption that you have the right to be in the ‘romantic zone’ regardless of how the woman feels.”
Slack finished with a total zinger, too.
“That disregard for the wants, needs, and basic humanity of a woman you claim to like... is misogyny.
“Hope that clears things up.”
Slack has expertly nailed the big problem with The Friend Zone: so many people have been socialised to view women as the trophies we reward to men for good behaviour.
It is for this reason that ‘nice guys’ think they are entitled to certain things from a female friend, that they can ‘earn’ sexual favours from her by being her friend, and that she is an awful human being if she rejects them. Obviously, this is ridiculous, and objectifying, and just plain toxic – and it’s time that we put an end to The Friend Zone, for good.
So, the next time someone starts mouthing off about it, make sure to point them in the direction of Slack’s Twitter thread, okay?
Images: Rex Features