Men who complain about getting “friend zoned” argue that they are “nice guys” who are overlooked by women when it comes to sex. At first, because our society likes to cheer for the underdog, and because TV and films overwhelmingly portray the geek hero as eventually winning the girl (or any male protagonist “winning” a girl), the reaction to “friend zone” complaints is sympathetic. Aw, this guy is a sweetheart and no one will have sex with him. Except, when you look at the issue closer, you’ll see that it’s actually misogynistic and perpetuates rape culture.
The problem with the “friend zone” mentality is that it is based on a sense of entitlement. These guys feel entitled to sex because of their “good behavior” or “nice guyness.” The irony that escapes them is that if you’re only being nice in order to get laid, you’re not really a nice guy. Probably the initial concept behind the “friend zone” was the idea that “nice guys finish last,” that myth that women are somehow drawn to douchebags and prefer them to gentlemen. I may not speak for all women everywhere, but I speak for all the women I’ve known when I say none of us are drawn to douchebags. We are drawn to people who treat us well. The reason some “nice guys” finish last is that they have nothing else to offer. In the case of Rodger, one can quickly surmise that women rejected him not because he was a “polite” nice guy but because he frequently bragged about his life of privilege, viewed women as objects, seemed to have no real sense of purpose in life, was a racist, was socially awkward, and reeked of loserdom.
It’s funny that most “nice guys” who complain about getting “friend zoned” often overlook “nice girls” who don’t fit certain standards of physical beauty. Rodger was obsessed with blonde, sorority types, for example. And when you do a Google image search for “friend zone” you’ll see that the women who are portrayed as bitchy “friend zoners” are always gorgeous. The meme “Friend Zone Fiona” is an attractive, thin blonde. No one complains about a short, chubby brunette "friend zoning" them. For some reason, the men behind this phenomenon think their insincere (and ultimately, ineffective) use of chivalry entitles them not just to sex, but sex with attractive women who are arguably out of their league. That a woman has agency over her sexuality doesn’t occur to them, nor does the fact that a woman knows better than they do what would make her happy.
Now do you understand the problem with the “friend zone?” Women know what they want and need in a relationship. An onlooker does not, regardless of how “nice” he thinks he is. A woman’s choice not to have sex is non-negotiable. A man’s assumption that he is owed sex because he attained a certain level of “niceness” is beyond insulting. The irony is that these same “nice guys” would call a girl a slut if she actually had sex with every guy who was nice to her.
Just look at this array of “friend zone” images created by "nice guys" and think about what's really being said. Is that a message you want your sons and daughters to learn? Teach against the “friend zone” concept that women owe sex or any form of romantic relationship to anyone for any reason. It is given, not earned, and it is the woman’s choice who she gives her sex, love, etc. to.
If I ever have daughters, I will do everything I can to keep them from being “good girls,” because I want them to make their decisions based on what they believe to be right, not on what their peers or society expect of them. I don’t want them to be magnets for men who feel they can control them. I want them to live fulfilling, productive lives, using their gifts and talents to their full potential. To paraphrase a familiar adage, “good girls” seldom make history.
*Please note the use of quotation marks throughout. I am not talking about guys who are legitimately nice or girls who are morally good. Of course I support morally good girls and truly nice guys.