The seemingly-playful concept perpetuates the idea of men having a right to women’s bodies.
Need to explain straight male entitlement in two words? Try “friend zone.”
The idea that a platonic friendship between two people can’t exist without one party being crushed under the weight of unrequited #feels is well established in pop culture—where the couple being portrayed are usually heterosexuals of the opposite sex.
“Aw dude, I’m stuck in the friend zone :(“ a bro will say, thus gaining the sympathy of all his other on-screen bros. But it’s not just used in TV land. “Friend zone” is a universally referenced dilemma, where the implication seems to be that as a man, you’re entitled to sex, and to relationships. And if a woman doesn’t want to have sex and/or a relationship with you, well then, that’s just unjust and cruel. How dare she have opinions about who she’s attracted to!
Enter David Slack, the TV writer behind Teen Titans’ Beast Boy and Terra, according to Mashable. After his characters were used in another “LOLOL friend zone, amirite?” display of male bonding on Twitter, Slack. Went. In.
These dudes were the definition of being in the friend zone pic.twitter.com/jF4XyYbEQd— Jiraiya (@YahBoyJiraiya) November 15, 2016
“Hi. I wrote two of these characters,” he tweeted. “I hope you someday learn what Beast Boy already knew: That women are actually people,” David wrote. But he didn’t stop there. What followed was a full on sledging of the very idea that women owe men something sexually. Slack even made the link between attitudes the “friend zone” belies and violence against women, writing “It might help to consider that some spurned men become a stalkers & attackers. Reinforcing the myth of the friend zone emboldens them.”
Read it and weep at the allyship :’)
Hi. I wrote two of these characters. I hope you someday learn what Beast Boy already knew: that women are actually people…— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 3, 2017
They’re not games to be won. They have their own minds & hearts, & they don’t owe you a relationship just because you’re attracted to them.— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 3, 2017
And if you don’t value friendship with a woman, you don’t deserve anything beyond that anyway.— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 3, 2017
p.s. Slade’s manipulation & mind control kept Terra & BB apart — it was friendship that saved them.— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 3, 2017
This implication rests on the assumption that you have the right to be in the ‘romantic zone’ regardless of how the woman feels.— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 4, 2017
And that disregard for the wants, needs, & basic humanity of a woman you claim to like… is misogyny. Hope that clears things up.— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) July 4, 2017
Words: Jerico Mandybur