Chrissy Teigen admits she “was a troll” after bullying scandal
Chrissy Teigen admits she “was a troll” after bullying scandal

Jennifer McShane

You won’t believe it, but the house everyone is obsessed with in Netflix’s Master of None is actually a set
You won’t believe it, but the house everyone is obsessed with in Netflix’s Master of...

Megan Burns

This 18th-century coach house in Wexford has had the most extraordinary renovation
This 18th-century coach house in Wexford has had the most extraordinary renovation

Lauren Heskin

Everything you need to know about ‘In the Heights’
Everything you need to know about ‘In the Heights’

Sarah Finnan

Lynn Enright: Should I have had a lockdown passion project?
Lynn Enright: Should I have had a lockdown passion project?

Lynn Enright

Tess Daly says she swears by this non-invasive, anti-ageing treatment
Tess Daly says she swears by this non-invasive, anti-ageing treatment

Shayna Sappington

Hunza G, the celebrity-favourite swimwear, has landed in Ireland
Hunza G, the celebrity-favourite swimwear, has landed in Ireland

Holly O'Neill

4 brilliant new books that are perfect summer reads
4 brilliant new books that are perfect summer reads

Jennifer McShane

‘The Crown’ star Emma Corrin reveals the ‘unusual’ way she was cast as Princess Diana
‘The Crown’ star Emma Corrin reveals the ‘unusual’ way she was cast as Princess Diana

Sarah Finnan

This Mauritian egg & rice dish will add panache to your Monday
This Mauritian egg & rice dish will add panache to your Monday

Meg Walker

Image / Editorial

Why “Friendzone” Needs To Go To The Vocabulary Graveyard


by Lauren Heskin
18th Apr 2017
blank

There have been many excellent new additions?for our vocabulary in recent years.

While I remain on the fence about ?LOL? when not used sarcastically, there are others that accurately capture new ideas, concepts, humour?and cultural events?of our modern world. ?”Humblebrag” is a personal favourite. “Manic pixie dream girl”, “gender-fluid”, “manspreading”. We all know what it means to be ?hangry?, although let’s not get started on the “only women can be divas”?Snickers advert – how the mighty Joan Collins has fallen.

But ?friendzone? is not one of those words. Initially, it seems harmless enough, describing a situation whereby you develop romantic feelings for someone, only to not have them reciprocated. But we don’t use ?friendzone? in that context, in truth “friendzoning” is about male bravado and is almost exclusively wielded against women – a way for men to describe rejection in a way that places blame on women. It boils’down male/female relationships to two binary options ??fuckable or friend. A quick troll through Twitter will tell you as much.

In fact, ?friendzoning? completely removes female?agency,?turning cross-gender relationships into an?exchange of services. ?I spent time with you/bought you a drink/listened to you, so you now owe me sex in return.? And if you don’t, then you’re the bitch who ?friendzoned? the poor lad. But relationships, sexual or otherwise, are not a give and take.

Women are too frequently told that their emotions and reactions are less valuable than men’s. Getting wolf-whistled at on the street? Maybe you shouldn’t be showing so much leg. A guy gets too close for comfort?as you try to order a drink at the bar (while being ignored by the barman)? You need to relax and take a compliment. Feel?uncomfortable being hit on at work? Guys have got to meet women somewhere. Slept with someone because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings but weren’t quite sure how you felt about them? Well, maybe you should?have said no earlier. Tell a guy you’ve been on a few dates?with that you’re not into him? Way to friendzone him, he spent so much time on you! The list goes on (and on).

But ?friendzoning? is not a thing women do to coquettishly toy with men’s emotions. Attraction is a complex thing, and?if a woman declares herself uninterested, she means she’s uninterested. A free gin and tonic won’t change that.

The term is also completely blind to those who don’t fall into the narrow boundaries of heterosexuality. We’ve established that attraction does not fall along gender lines and studies have shown we can fall as hard and fast in friendship as we can in love. We can’t keep touting this idea of needing sexual consent and then criticising women for the?audacity to refuse or rescind that consent. It’s not “natural behaviour” for?women to tease and taunt men, just as men don’t want to sleep with everything?in sight and are therefore incapable of being ?just friends? with a woman. This is just socially-enforced bullshit, and if one more person touts “natural behaviour” to me as a reason for gender disparity I’m going to smack them with my copy of?The Feminine Mystique and hope that some of Betty Freidan’s?words seep in by osmosis.

Let’s just call “friendzoning” what it really is – rejection. We’ve all experienced it, from new?acquaintances?to current friends, in family disputes and job interviews, by romantic partners and potential romantic partners. Women are not required to offer sex as?a quid pro quo for male?attention, just as they shouldn’t?expect an ass grab because they’re wearing a particularly fitted dress. And being kind?with the expectation of something in return is not kindness, it’s narcissism.