Saying No to the Term "Friend Zone"

We were all thrilled by the influx of opportunities to interact with potential mates when we came to college. You’ve mostly likely grown up with the same people for about twelve years, so college is the time to delve into brand new relationships — whether that means a person you met on a drunk night at Hawks, or a person you met at the tailgate for the Michigan game. Among those relationships, you find some more sexually appealing than others — and sometimes you will wake up sober the next morning only to realize that the drunk goggles got the best of you. We tend to pursue people who make us feel those butterflies, so we may generate boundaries for others we may not necessarily want to get intimate with. Yes, you already know it — this boundary is called the friend zone.

The “friend zone,” is a way to prevent friends from actively chasing after our hearts — or our body parts. However, it can also be interpreted as a form of sexism, or a devaluation of a person’s gender. Hypothetically, when you mention to a boy that he’s friend zoned, it seems to give him a reason to call you nasty names simply because you wouldn’t reciprocate — it almost seem typical for boys to unfriend you once you set these boundaries. It may be due to the ida that they're ashamed — but that's the heart of the issue. If people get so frustrated because they’re unable to pursue their attraction towards you, it’s clear that they were only being your “friend” to get in your pants.

Noah Habenstreit, a senior at UW-Madison, agreed that the friend zone has a somewhat misogynistic approach.

“Men who complain about the friend zone are upset because their convenient opportunity to have sex is gone,” Habenstreit says. 

What’s worse is that some women internalize that precise rhetoric themselves, more often than not out of fear of risking a friendship. But, in no way should women feel at fault; there's no excuse for men to distort the term and make a woman look like she's the one to blame. Maggie Chandler, a Junior at UW-Madison, explained the idea that “[friendzoning] ruins the dynamic of friendships because men resent women when they verbalize their emotions ... their vulnerability turns into anger.”

Society has gendered the notion that women typically express feelings more than men; so on the occasion that a man shows emotion, it simply embarrasses him. On the off chance he gets rejected, his bitterness will probably ensue. Instead of simply walking away and accepting defeat, men see women as verbal punching bags, and they justify that by blaming them as the culprit of the situation.

When a woman says yes to a partner she isn’t sexually interested in, she defeats herself by doing something she didn’t want to do initially; but when she abstains from engaging in sexual relations, the man diminishes her, too. The entire situation produces a lose-lose result. So, what's the bottom line? The answer is simple: a man's sexual desires evidently have the power to define you as a woman — if you let it. However, society also doesn't seem to empower women to explain what women want or why they desire it. A misogynistic term should not diminish a woman’s well-being simply because she has something men want.

If one said no to handing the money over in a robbery, you wouldn’t blame the victim, would you?