Sunday, December 23, 2012

An Honest Look at the Friendzone (or, some pretentious, feminist bitch writes about the friendzone)


I originally wrote this in October when off my meds and up all night; decided to post it.


I've considered myself a feminist for as long as I can remember, but I've often experienced a rift between myself and the mainstream feminist opinion. Case-in-point: the topic of this essay and the fact that I think "pretentious, feminist bitch," is an apt description that doesn't contradict my feminism. Just because women aren't inferior to men doesn't mean that they can't be bitches like men can. Anyway, here are the ramblings of some random, romantically-inexperienced college student who hasn't slept in over twelve hours.

 Tumblr user delacroix (whose Tumblr page uses a Windows 98 theme and is impossible to navigate) posted on an unknown date this lengthy quote:

"It sucks when someone you have feelings for doesn’t share those feelings; it happens to women all the time, too. We hear "I just want to be friends" and "you're like one of the guys" and "you're like a sister to me" just as often. But you'll never hear a woman complain that guys just don’t appreciate a Nice Girl because we're taught it's our own fucking fault when we're rejected—we aren’t pretty enough or thin enough or sexy enough, we weren't sexual enough or were too sexual, we put out too much or too little or too soon or not soon enough, we didn’t wear our hair the right way or our skirt the right length, we're "too tomboyish" or "too butch" or "too feminine", or we're "not their type", or we're otherwise not good enough in various ways to entice the man to grace us with his affection. But when we're not interested in someone, we're vilified. We're the bitch that led them on, the bitch who let them buy us dinner but didn’t want to date them, the bitch who doesn't appreciate a nice guy, the bitch they were nice to and then got nothing in return from. And, frankly, fuck those people. Showing interest in me, being friendly with me, getting close to me, or eating a meal with me (even if they paid for it) doesn’t obligate me to open my heart or my legs. And anyone who doesn't appreciate my friendship sure as hell doesn’t deserve my love or my pussy."

Here are the things that really piss me off generally, with regards to this quote—in order from least to greatest: 1. people using smartquotes in html so that I have to manually replace everything to make it match the rest of my text; 2. when people are plain wrong; and 3. when people are wrong, and it actually makes a difference that they're wrong. I will go through this quote line-by-line, showing that she is wrong and that it does make a difference.

Now, the quote doesn't appear in its original form on delacroix's shitty Tumblr page (I found it through reblogging), so I don't actually know who is the author of this quote. So, to avoid attributing a quote to a mistaken author (the opinion of which delacroix probably agrees with anyway) I will refer to the author simply as such, or with the appropriate pronouns.

The post begins:

"It sucks when someone you have feelings for doesn’t share those feelings…"

Indeed, it does. The angels sing "hallelujah!" as I accept the olive branch and we ride off in a chariot of fire to victory, but she goes on:

 "…it happens to women all the time, too. We hear "I just want to be friends" and "you're like one of the guys" and "you're like a sister to me" just as often."

Well, I have literally never heard of a specific instance of that. I'm definitely not saying that it doesn't happen, but my intuition and experience make me skeptical that these instances occur "just as often." I think I've heard the phrase "'you're like one of the guys'" somewhere, but frankly, the line "'you're like a sister to me'" sounds made-up to me; something that a guy would never say, but I honestly have no idea. In reality, the discussion of whether men are friendzoned more than women is a non sequitur, and a pointless discussion in itself, as I don't think sociologists have done any polling on the frequency of friendzoning with respect to sex. It's simply my intuition that it's squewed at least slightly toward the men side of the spectrum, in part because the complaining comes almost exclusively from men—except in anime (see "I Hope Senpai Will Notice Me"). Oh, but don't worry, the author gives her explanation for this discrepency:

"But you'll never hear a woman complain that guys just don’t appreciate a Nice Girl [sic?] because we're taught it's our own fucking fault when we're rejected—we aren't pretty enough or thin enough or sexy enough, we weren't sexual enough or were too sexual, we put out too much or too little or too soon or not soon enough, we didn’t wear our hair the right way or our skirt the right length, we're "too tomboyish" or "too butch" or "too feminine", or we're "not their type", or we're otherwise not good enough in various ways to entice the man to grace us with his affection."

So let's get this straight: the author seems to think that complaining about being friendzoned is unwarranted (it's hard to tell), but she says that women don't complain because they are taught by society to blame themselves—a situation which, both I and the author agree, is deeply immoral and problematic. In other words, according to the author, women don't complain about being friendzoned (a good thing) because they were conditioned to be vain and superficial and blame themselves (a bad thing). This is almost guilt-tripping, but the motives in this sentence are so hopelessly confused that I don't even know what the term for it is. It seems, according to the author, that in the ideal state in which men and women are raised exactly the same way, that women would complain about being friendzoned just like men do.

"But when we're not interested in someone, we're vilified. We're the bitch that led them on, the bitch who let them buy us dinner but didn’t want to date them, the bitch who doesn't appreciate a nice guy, the bitch they were nice to and then got nothing in return from."

First, some advice to feminists: women don't have to be the victim in every situation. Women are only victims if you can show them to be, and we have plenty of examples of it; we don't need more.

Second, this, right here, is the core of the issue. This is why the word "friendzone" exists. This is the pain and sorrow expressed in poetry and song throughout the centuries, and I hope to settle this right here and now. 

Know Your Meme user LegatoSkyheart on the page for "Friend Zone Fiona" (a forced meme, but whatever. Fuck you Reddit) puts the issue thusly:

"You open this door to see a really cute girl, beyond any girl you have seen, a girl with talent, a girl with moves, a girl with smarts, you give her flowers and chocolates, but she still denies your pleas, you’ve just entered….THE FRIEND ZONE."

I am not a psychologist, so unfortunately, I don't have the proper jargon to describe this phenomenon, but the concept is simple: pent up expectations, immense time and effort spent, with no release (a trained feminist eye will see the sexual analogy here, but don't worry, your flaying on that issue will come later). Devoted men will "buy [her] dinner," as our feminist author writes, they'll "buy her flowers and chocolates," but the answer will always, sadly, be "no." Again, I wish I were a psychologist, because "dissappointment" is clearly an insufficient word here. This is the unfulfillment of a deep wish—a goal that the man truly thought was acheiveable, but wasn't in the end. This is passionate time and energy wasted.

Everyone is probably on the same page at this point, but the author brought up the issue in which the woman is "vilified." This issue is not unreal. On the same Know Your Meme page, the user Valadar917 writes, perhaps somewhat ironically: "[f]or any girl who are [sic] like this, you’re what’s wrong with this world." It's because friendzoned men feel the woman to be "the bitch that led them on." But if the woman did in fact lead the man on, I feel some blame should be put on her, so the question is, "is this the case?" Again, unfortunately having to refer to my intuition and experience, I would say that in the vast, vast majority of cases, the woman is blameless for any miscommunication.

Thus, the vilification would be indefensible, yet, I would argue, understandible. The guy in this situation has been let down and deeply hurt, but if it were simply rejection he were facing, it wouldn't be called the "friendzone." The friendzone is to be endured, you are kept in suspension like a magnet repelled in the air from falling to earth. It's the Limbo of romantic relationships: punishment for a sin not committed until redemtion by moving on in life, or by a renewal of sin in a more willing person. The people in Limbo might indeed curse the God that sent them there. There is no one directly responsible for being friendzoned, but people feel the need to cast the blame on someone. So unfortunately, the men blame the women, and according to our author, the women blame themselves (but at least they don't complain about it).

"And, frankly,fuck those people.Showing interest in me, being friendly with me, getting close to me, or eating a meal with me(evenif they paid for it) doesn’t obligate me to open my heart…"

…wait for it…

"…or my legs."

Fuck you.

"And anyone who doesn't appreciate my friendship sure as hell doesn’t deserve my love or my pussy."

This is where I throw my arms up in the air. This is why I started writing this in the first place. You pretentious bitch. This is why people hate feminists, and this is why I hate your feminism. You are the Westboro Baptist Church of feminism. "GOD HATES MEN," right? It's not about a relationship or any other emotional devotion. When the chips are down, men are just sex-obsessed pigs in the end. Do you have that pinned up above your Roseanne DVD box set?

Firstly, as I begin take this apart, I said I'd come back to the sex issue, and here we are. I imply that friendzoned men seek a real relationship, not because they only want some sort of Platonic relationship bullshit, but because sexual drive and other "better" emotions are not too easily separated. If I just wanted a Platonic relationship, I wouldn't call it the "friendzone." If I just wanted sex, I'd get a whore.

Secondly, about her pretentious attitude. She seems to be under the impression that a strong confident woman=asshole. This bitch seems to be obsessed with flaunting her sex hole to people. It's not that interesting. Stop it. Also, try saying that to a friendzonee of yours. I think you'd lose one right there.

Thirdly, and most importantly, this is the worst, most corrosive attitude you could have in this situation. For one thing, it's counter-productive. You get blamed for hurting a guy, and you antagonize him in return. And finally, you take a guy in one of his most sensitive, vulnerable, and emotionally unstable states, and you beat down on him. Friendship isn't some precious gift to be given through your devine mercy, it's a connection that people form together as equals. If he did appreciate your friendship, would he then deserve your love? No. Because this isn't an argument, it's a cocktease. This is God laughing at the people in Limbo. This is pouring salt into a wound. This is kicking a puppy. Even if the puppy had bit you, kicking it would be repugnant. And if you think men should know better when the puppy shouldn't, I suggest you rethink the what it's like to pine over somebody, and the irrational state one is in.

If one takes the cruel, pretentious attitude of the author of this quote, she can give herself a little gold star in her feminist notebook, but people will be hurt and left even more unstable, and her satisfaction will be illegitimate—undue. On the contrary, treating people with compassion allows the wounds to heal. One needn't assert oneself as superior in order to be confident, so one should best treat the situation as equals with mutual respect. If no fangs are bared in this licking of wounds, no more harm need be done.



Finally, to whoever wrote this quote, go play in traffic.

3 comments:

  1. I think you had some valid points. However, you seem to be looking at the Friendzone meme as a simple expression of frustration at being rejected. It's quite clear, from the level of vitriol in the comment section of the Friendzone Fiona meme, that in goes beyond that.
    The Fiona is reviled for merely being friends with the Phil character and being oblivious to his attraction, while the Phil is celebrated as a tragic hero for "putting up with" her friendship in the hopes of someday forming a romantic relationship. On its surface it seems quite harmless, but, when you take a good hard look at the Phil character, it's easy to see that he is being a self-defeating idiot.
    He has his heart set out for this character who is supposed to be a perfect dream girl. Then, when she isn't interested to him, he doesn't move on to other, more feasible romantic interests. Instead, he still cleaves to her, hoping that she'll suddenly fall in love with him someday, letting her think that he just wants to be friends now. Then he complains that she just wants to be friends. Stupid.
    Phil never looks inward. He never asks himself if he's made a mistake. No, "nice guys" finish last. Fiona only wants "bad boys" who do things like actively express their interest, ask her out on dates, and have confidence. She is such a bitch for going out with another guy and daring to mention him around poor Phil. The Universe just won't give Phil his prize (Fiona) that he deserves for being so "nice" (being friends with Fiona). :(
    The guys that do this sort of thing to themselves don't need sympathy from well-meaning feminists on the internet. They need harsh truths:
    Sometimes the problem is you. Being friends with a woman doesn't make you special. If it's not working, get over your butthurt and move on. Friendzone memes are nothing more than defeatist pity-parties.

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  2. Time saver: if people use snark quotes way too much, just use the find/replace command (edit->find/replace), and you can replace them all with a single click.

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  3. Wow, what a surprisingly great and objective analysis.

    A few things:

    1. The main problem with her original article, is that when she lists all the things women agonize over after a rejection, she fails to recognize or understand that THESE ARE ALL THE SAME THINGS MEN AGONIZE OVER AFTER A REJECTION AS WELL. The kind of guys most likely to be "Friendzoned" are the kind of guys most likely to be neurotic, self-conscious, unconfident, depressive, introspective, second-guessing, etc. In fact, i think the reason there IS so much hatred of "Nice Guys" by Feminists, is because Nice Guys tend to embody so many of the traits and behaviors stereotypical to women in the first place. It might be as simple as all of this being a case of projection and self-hatred.

    2. As someone who has been "Friendzoned" myself, i can tell you with confidence that any man who genuinely loved the woman he sought after would never consider the time or effort he spend on her to have been "wasted". The sadness and disappointment does come from a dashing of hopes and expectations, and a feeling of supreme loss, but its the loss of the PERSON herself, and the potential life and future he has imagined with her, not the time and energy invested or already spent with her.

    3. Roseanne fucking rules and is the only 80s/early 90s sitcom to still hold up all these years later.

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