Gone are the Days

Gone are the days of anger and rage,

Only for a new song to play,

One wrought with defiance and righteousness.

 

Gone are the days of racism and hate,

Only for new prejudice to raise,

But we must prove there is still fight in us.

 

Gone are the days of sexism and rape,

But still self-entitled men decide our fate,

No more do we pretend to exist for a good fuck.

 

GONE ARE THE DAYS we must say,

GONE ARE THE DAYS they must sway,

GONE ARE THE DAYS where we must wish for luck.

 

GONE ARE THE DAYS are the words we’ve sung.

A Risk Worth Taking

Dear Madam Governor,

I would like to open my letter today by thanking you for taking the time to review my correspondence. You are a busy woman with many events and formalities to oversee. As a fellow politician, allow me to extend my understanding at how demanding the job can be at times. Your work is done well and for that your constituents are thankful.

Alas, there is a matter that I must bring to your attention with the utmost urgency. Enclosed for your review are discipline records, proposals, and transcripts regarding an incident occurring within my school district. I have assured that the board members have taken action appropriately to fit the circumstances, though the concerned parents who demanded no punishment be distributed limited that action.

Thankfully, no media outlets have obtained this story yet. I cannot say confidently whether it will be brought to light publically. Our board members try very hard to resolve matters quickly and efficiently with as little attention from the masses as possible, but this is an issue that I do not foresee dissipating in a flattering manner.

It is my request that you address this matter forwardly. Reading the information available to me there is but one conclusion I can make: this principal must be terminated. The reputation of our schools will plummet both within my district and all those surrounding. Emphasis is heavily placed on the anti-bulling programs in effect and yet this has been allowed to escalate without any true reprimand exercised.

Dramatic action is required to remedy these events and it is one that will bring an unfavorable outcry if I make the announcement myself. My decision would be contested and dragged publically through the court system. Eventually this matter will command your attention.

Today I notify you for the benefit of all parties. This route will allow you more time to prepare statements, delicately call for termination, and start laying the groundwork for your inevitable re-election with your proactive stance. Thank you again for your time. I hope to hear back from you on this matter very soon.

Cordially,

 

Mayor Carlotta Santana

CS/rb 


 

Robert Barns was fully aware that tricking the mayor into signing this letter was fraudulent entirely by itself, and that actually sending it was even worse. For years he’d been Carlotta’s assistant. On some level they were friends; though not exactly best friends and not friendly without the comfort of friendship. Carlotta and Robert were as comfortable around one another as siblings, but as formal with one another as colleagues. Bringing someone from a political campaign advisor all the way to the governor’s office was a long road that didn’t exactly put distance between people. In some strange way, Robert knew Carlotta better than her own family.

 

That’s why he knew that she would not deny the claims he’s made in this letter. She is familiar enough with the information to feign the intrigue that Robert falsely detailed on her behalf. In all the years he’s worked with Carlotta there’s never been a time when she ignored a situation that desperately needed attention. Hot-button issues were as sweet as candy to her, and yet she shied away from this one almost deliberately. Robert knew that if he did not push her then she would not do what needed to be done.

 

The Governor, Elisa Ferguson, was someone who occasionally made positive comments about Carotta’s so called “antics.” They had many aligning points within their various campaigns and political track records. Carlotta aspired to someday take Elisa’s place as governor – convinced that nobody would ever take office until she retired, or opted for a higher position within the government.

 

Robert hoped that the few encounters justified the arguably casual tone of the serious letter. Worst-case scenario, nothing happens and the Governor overlooks the request. Best-case scenario, the Governor takes favorable and the right people are finally rewarded for their positive choices. However, in all scenarios Robert will likely be asked to resign.

 

Carlotta would never fire him, though his leaving would still be scandalous enough to get some attention. If nothing else, he would likely have a career awaiting him in journalism. Perhaps someone would invite him to be a political correspondent for a newscast, paper, or blog. Robert already conceded that he would be happy doing any of these potential jobs.

 

Work droned on as it usually does in the office. Several phone messages were received, and only about half of them were actually forwarded to the Mayor herself. The rest of them were divvied out to the respective department leads and program managers. Categorizing the daily calls was so second nature to Robert that he used this time to review more thoroughly his plan to get Carlotta’s signature.

 

Honestly, he had no idea if she truly looked at the letters. Sometimes she would just pick up the bottom corners of each page and throw a signature onto the pages. It is this truth that prompted Robert to put the letter in between some other letters to ensure minimal chances of her reviewing it in depth. He also made sure to put it into a stack of form letters to give him more peace of mind that she would not feel compelled to read the letters individually. Nothing he was doing here was moral but, like the board member who sent the original call for action, Robert could not simply let this incident go without further investigation.

 

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that his best friend in high school practiced Islam in private at home, for fear of these same repercussions. Perhaps it was the fact that being Jewish is a predominantly Catholic community left him feeling outcast. Perhaps it was simply due to the stupid remarks politicians were making these days about how some religions didn’t have a place in the country highly regarded for the number of freedoms extended to citizens. Robert couldn’t decide on just one motivator, so he silently cited them all as the cause of his insubordination.

 

Nervousness plagued Robert by the time Carlotta returned the signed letters. She asked him to brief her on what she’d just signed, to which Robert said, “The usual. Nothing you wouldn’t approve of I can assure you.” Together they chuckled briefly and then off she went for her scheduled outing with old college friends. Rarely did she take time to herself, which meant her watchful eye was trained on the press during her night on the town. Small-time politician or not, there was always reason to worry that one’s personal life would be used to tear apart a political career. For that, Robert was sure he deserved a pat on the back for the level of planning he put into this righteous scheme.

 

Once her car was officially out of the parking lot, Robert decided it would make the most sense to put his resignation letter into her mailbox tonight. Robert put together his letter quickly. Promptly afterwards he gathered all outgoing mail and took the box with him to his car. Nobody would question his kindness the following day when he arrived in the morning with the box. This was something that Robert did occasionally. Everything was working in Robert’s favor, partially due to his intimate knowledge and manipulation of that knowledge.

 

Regardless, in two weeks he would be packing his desk away and leaving this part of his life behind – hopefully with his lasting reputation as quiet defiance.

My Opinion On: An Opinion of OITNB

In case you didn’t know, OITNB stands for “Orange Is The New Black.”

To be perfectly honest, I don’t even watch this show. Many of the people I am connected with online watch it. Everyone says I’ll love it and that I should invest my time in watching it as well, yet I don’t feel compelled in the slightest to invest my time. I guess it’s that “mom” part of me that wants to share T.V. with my kid. That being said, I did still click on the article – as I generally do when OITNB makes headlines in any way – and I was moved to speak on the matter. I just couldn’t not say something after reading it.

The article can be found here so that you can read it too.

Now, as an American I guess I feel entitled to have an opinion on someone else’s opinion. I hear a good many people say that it’s a disease we have from the liberties we are so given by residing here. (That’s not true, there’s an imbalance of power and privilege that exists, but that’s a different opinion blurb for another day). As I said previously, I generally click on articles pertaining to OITNB simply because so many people I know watch it. This helps me listen with some basis of understanding when they’re gushing about their favorite parts.

The title of the article is what truly grabbed my attention: “Pennsatucky’s Sympathy For Her Rapist in ‘Orange is the New Black’ Was an Uncomfortable Reminder of my own Rape.’ The thing is – I think all women are sexually assaulted and/or raped in their lives. The sad truth is that many women don’t realize it. For me personally, I was sexually assaulted in one way or another starting at seven years old until I was twenty-one years old by friends, boyfriends, and strangers. As so many young ladies do not see “boys being boys” (an excuse created by misogynists that should promptly be removed from our culture entirely) as the assault it truly was unto them. I never realized what was happening to me qualified as rape. Until a few years ago the idea that “the absence of ‘no’ is still rape” was a foreign concept. I was never taught that and consequently never categorized the unwanted interactions as assault or rape.

Even though there has been question lately about whether or not is legitimately racially conscious comes into question – but it appears to me the show is doing brilliantly to show that rape isn’t what you see in the movies all the time. It can be subtle, and they can trick you into thinking it’s not rape. They may not even actively be trying, but it is rape. Believe it or not, the crime may come as shock to both you and your assailant.

And there is sympathy to be felt as a victim – strange as it may sound. People you love and trust can do these things to you. It is natural that you want to love them, forgive them, and move on. Spouses raped by spouses don’t want to end a marriage over what they truly believe is a confusion of consent. Advances are made daily in science but so much more slowly in social awareness. Archaic beliefs that marriages must have sex almost daily to successfully prevail are still very much alive. In addition to those unacceptable expectations, sex-drive media exposure makes us too often forget that we owe our bodies to no one.

Feelings aside, sexual assault and rape are crimes. I don’t want anyone growing up feeling as though they are less because of what has happened to them the way that I always felt less for not being able to prevent what happened to me. There are no tiers defining the levels sexual assault and rape. It is all bad and your status as victim is not a badge to be worn with ranks of severity. Psychological trauma shapes you and will continue to define you are for the rest of your life. Please always seek assistance when you’ve been sexually assaulted or raped.

 

A Bold Move

Walking into a quiet home at the end of the day is long forgotten memory of his, and when he does it today it sets off all sorts of alarms. His wife is reading a piece of paper at the table, sipping a glass of tea while shaking her head. As for his youngest daughter, she appears to be sitting in the living room doing her homework. It is uncharacteristic of her to be listening to her mother so plainly.

“How was everyone’s day?’ He shouts into the house excitedly. Perhaps it was just a long day for everyone and they’re tired? The routine he’s become accustomed to over the last few years comes easily. Hang up his coat on the hook, drop his keys into a wicker basket, and kick his shoes off underneath the cabinet so that they don’t get lost in the closet.

The youngest runs away from the coffee table with a smile, as she generally does, and greets him pure joy; “Can I have my after school snack now?” This alerts him that something must have happened that was serious. It must have been something that disrupted the schedule.

“Sure thing, Louisa, but let me talk to mommy really fast, okay?” Poor girl is only seven years old so she doesn’t have as much awareness as her older sisters. Louisa crosses her arms and sticks her tongue out, agreeing to wait just a little bit longer ‘since he asked nicely.’ Back to her homework she goes just before his wife calls him into the kitchen.

“One of us needs to take a vacation, apparently.”

In a predictable fashion he starts listing anything he may have done to upset his wife… (forgot to take the trash out, didn’t fold the laundry, stepped one of the Lego sets… it could be any number of things he brushed off!) Having been cheated on by his last wife, well, he simply couldn’t help but wonder if he’d done something to put Dana off? Marriages fall apart in less time than they’ve been together these days. A second divorce would break him entirely and his daughter, Cassie, probably couldn’t handle it either. She has only just started really bonding with her stepsisters.

“What makes you say that?” Before responding she hollers for Louisa to take her homework into the family room downstairs. There’s a bit of a tantrum. The family room downstairs has a much smaller television because it’s supposed to be a “social” and, or, “activity” room. Louisa hates being down there alone because there aren’t enough distractions from her homework – and how will she stay up later if she finishes her homework right after school? She tries so hard to be a con artist but her mother has the whole heist on lock.

Kissing his wife on the cheek before getting his own drink, which happens to be a small glass of scotch, he tries to stop himself from listing. Lazily trying to bustle through the kitchen forces him to slow down and try to listen for Dana’s explanation. A few minutes of silence do pass, and it drives him nearly mad, but when Dana does begin sharing the afternoon events? He’s actually surprised – one hundred percent shocked.

About three hours ago Dana received a call from Gemma’s school principal. It wasn’t just an office aide contacting her but the principal himself. A young woman was being asked to remove her hijab in front of the entire eighth grade class during lunch. Gemma was less than impressed and went to the young lady’s defense. It ended in a shouting match about prejudice and freedom of expression.

“Gemma says that she calmly told him that he was not at liberty to restrict her wardrobe, especially when fitting within the parameters of the school handbook regarding apparel. A parent was watching from the office, though, and must have wanted immediate results. The principal told her that she had no business to speak on the matter because it was between the young woman, her parents, and the school staff. She had no patience for him after that, I guess, and she’s gotten herself suspended for the entirety of next week, effective immediately.” As he listens to the secondhand recollection there are similarities in the incident to another he faced. Cassie once had a confrontation with a pastor that came to the house after Cassie and he decided to stop attending church. It was his misfortunate that Cassie answered the door – and even worse than that that he had the audacity to imply to an angry teenager that the Church is all forgiving. That man learned a valuable lesson that night, and is hopefully prepared for his own teenagers.

Now with her own confrontation on social issues under her belt, it would appear that Cassie and Gemma will make perfect sisters in the future. Even if Cassie’s spectacle wasn’t nearly as public, Gemma proves by standing up for another person’s rights that she is every bit as conscious about the world as his biological daughter. They’ve both made him very proud.

“Cassie seems to have rubbed off on her, huh?” He says it as a joke. It doesn’t seem to sit well with his wife, though, and he corrects himself; “I’m sorry, Dana. I know that Gemma will have to explain at her college interviews. At least it’s for a good reason and not something that is actually bad. Getting in trouble fighting for justice is not the same as being locked up for assalt.” If he was being honest, he could both see what rules were broken and not understand which rules were violated. In his mind the only question was in regard to the other staff members who chose to let this entire scene play out as it did without stepping in to protect the children who needed it. Plain discrimination such as this deserved to be opposed.

“I’m not worried about Gemma’s permanent record. I’m worried about how she’s going to be treated because of this incident. If the principal is willing to openly demand a young lady to remove her hijab then I can’t see him being unafraid to single out Gemma either. Every toe she puts out of line – or even on the line! – is going to be punished twice as hard now that she’s made a public scene of herself.” Dana drones on and on about all of the issues that come with standing up in a conservative community. Cassie had been ostracized after her abandonment of faith. People who claimed to be her friends whispered of her so called “sinful” lifestyle. It was not at all out of the question that Gemma would face the same passive judgment for her decision to stand up against the principal.

It makes sense to him why one of them needs to take a vacation. They could both technically work from home comfortably. It would just depend on which person has more flexibility in the next week’s schedule. Gemma could technically stay home by herself, but it would be unwise to leave a fourteen year old alone for eight hours for five days in a row.

“Maybe we could get Cassie to come back next week and sit with her. They get along really well and I think that Cassie could coach her through what happens next.” Dana laughs at the proposition initially, but does agree that Cassie may be what exactly the person Gemma needs right now. As parents they both agree with their daughter’s choice in defending the other girl’s right to honor and practice her faith in school. Unfortunately, they have to navigate these waters carefully now. Social consequences are always worse than the school administered punishment.

“Well, Todd, you’ll have to talk to her about it. Her suspension is effective immediately so she can’t go to class tomorrow. She’ll get a jump-start on her assignments since they’re still letting her get credit for her work. If we can get Cassie up here tonight then neither of us has to miss work tomorrow. Although, I left today, so it’ll be your day tomorrow if she can’t.” Dana stands up, admitting that she needs to get Louisa her snack before she explodes with rage. Before his wife even makes it out of the kitchen he’s sent a message to his daughter. Thankfully, she calls rather than texts back – stating that she’ll do anything to help with Gemma – just say the word.

Blended family or not, Todd knows that his girls are each fantastic women. Each person fits perfectly with the others. Looking back at his life he sometimes wonders how the five of them ever functioned without one another. This may not be the life he thought he’d live a few decades ago, but this life was so much better than he could have imagined. Everything was worth getting to this day, and every single day to come.

THE FRIEND ZONE: A disgusting debate that is still relevant because society is still a mess.

Disclaimer: As it has been some time, I need to remind you that this is an opinion article. Yes, I do have resources and references in My Opinion Madness articles – but that (unfortunately) doesn’t change the fact that this really is just an opinion article. You are welcome to comment, I would certainly enjoy comments, but I also ask that any comments be mature – thoughtful – and above all else: respectful. Adult or not, we will respect one another when discussing anything because we would expect as much to be extended to ourselves.

 


 

Long time, no post – am I right? I haven’t posted an opinion article for months. Life gets busy that way. I wish desperately I had the time to commit to the schedule I had previously. Since that is not possible – opinion articles will sporadic. All of that being said: I do have an opinion article for you today – and it will stray from the style of my previous articles – it won’t be just in style either, but in the toe of the article, too. I had to change these things for this topic because of the way I’m presenting it – it is more personal that other articles. Change is good! Change can mean improvement! Or it can just mean deviation from the norm – but either way, it can be good!

Several weeks ago I saw a post on the Internet – on social media – and I particularly liked it. For all the good and bad feminism can do in the hands of educated and uneducated people, it will always bring out certain truths. It spolights issues which women have often been too afraid to share aloud to anyone but their most trusted female companions. Some women, too afraid to do even that much! This particular post I speak of looked like this (here’s the source):

Friendzone_a6ec7f_5476471.jpg

If you’re familiar with the Internet at all, you’ll know that this is from Tumblr. This user has it pretty spot on, though. I’ve experienced it time-and-time again growing up. One thing that is true about me is that I’m unintentionally flirty, which can get me into trouble – but it should be far from the punishment it’s always seemed to be for me. I just want people to feel happy and so I say anything nice I can think of about them – they’re not false statements in any way. I say these things with enthusiasm. However, when I compliment individuals of the opposite gender, as often as only two months ago – it gets mistaken as a “sign” of my romantic interest.

It makes being nice to the opposite gender difficult when you’re a woman. I’m not saying that this doesn’t also happen to men, because surely it does. It would be idiotic to think that men don’t experience this problem as well. The thing is, feminism isn’t ignoring that men have these problems too. Feminism is far more than just equal rights for women. It’s also the idea that problems that are traditionally feminine when experienced by men are not something of an insult. It’s treating all problems, whether experienced by men or women, in exactly the same fashion and with exactly the same attention to detail.

So, anyways, I see this post. I see it and I wonder to myself – how in the actual hell is this still a debate? To me, the “friend zone” is as imaginary as Narnia and Middle Earth. The “friend zone” is only as real as we want it to be; only as real as we are willing to allow. I hate the term, and I have since I was very young. When I shared my opinions about it online – I noticed many people were unwilling to converse with me about it. Mostly, it got ignored (which definitely isn’t stopping me from posting this article at all, by the way).

When I am fired up about something, I talk about it with my husband. Now, while I love him, we both know that he’s not nearly as educated on socio-political issues. He is self-proclaimed to be less informed than myself, which makes it difficult to debate with him. Usually he comes off as being closed-minded and prejudice in many ways. Regardless of his many flaws, I love him, and I assure you now that he’s not a terrible man. We all have to undergo a change when we see the messy reality of life, and he’s just getting to his change a little later than the other socially aware caterpillars.

In spite of my awareness that this conversation might not go as well as I would hope… I pursue this conversation about the “the friend zone” anyway. I don’t know what I was actually expecting but whatever it was – that’s not what I got at all. So I’m going to present the debate in as close of a replication of what we discussed (I took notes while we conversed because I’m that wife) in the form of a conversation.

Here goes nothing! Or everything? I never liked that phrase. Below is the conversation we had – and yes, I did define several things along the way. It was a lengthy conversation – and a heated one at that – but I believe it is a conversation everyone needs to read. Without further adieu…




 

Wife: Don’t you understand why it frustrates me, though? The “friend zone” was created by some man at some point in time to bully a woman for not being romantically interested in him. Maybe it was not initially his intention to use this as a tool to make her feel bad, but this man – incapable of accepting he was not desirable to his chosen mate – created the idea that women put men into a “friend zone” so that they don’t lose their best guy friends but don’t have to commit to more either.

 

Maybe that sounds innocent on the surface, but there is distinct manipulation here. The psychological torture of using such a term is absolutely disgusting. Nobody should feel bad about who they prefer romantically and, or sexually.


Information (Necessary) To Consider:

(1) Friend v. Lover

A friend, as defined here, is a person that you’re fond of for one reason or another. Sure, the fondness you have towards a friend can be love. However, there is a very distinct difference between loving a friend and being in love with that friend. A lover, as defined here, using concise language to determine that a lover is anyone with whom you are romantically or sexually involved with in your life. There are clear distinctions between a friend and a lover. I am a friend of my best friend’s spouse – but I’m not jumping his bones anytime soon because my attachment to him is platonic. You know, how all friendships typically are platonic.

(2) Platonically v. Romantically

In order to differentiate whether or not your friendship is just that, or possibly more like a lover, you must also understand the difference between a platonic relationship and a romantic one. As an adjective, platonically being interested in someone is where sexual desire is completely removed and exists only on a spiritual level (Dictionary.com). Compare that to romantically – which is the expression of strong affection and love (Dictionary.com). There is a distinct difference between the two words, meaning the relationships described by each signify the nature of those bonds.

(3) The Lack of Humanity in the word ‘Zone’

Defined as a noun here, a ‘zone’ is simply an area with a specific designation particular to the existence within which it was created. The most notable definitions is as follows:

(a) “Any continuous tract or area that differs in some respect, or is distinguished for some purpose, from adjoining tracts or areas, or within which certain distinctive circumstances exist or are established.”

With that information, please understand that a zone is created very intentionally with specificity. Using the word ‘zone’ in any context is a way of declaring that the existence is purposeful.

Defined as a verb here (again, it is the same link, just scroll a bit), ‘zoning’ is simply the intentional division from something larger with a specific purpose. Of the definitions, there was one that was particularly intriguing – and therefore especially relevant to the conversation:

(a) “to divide into zones, tracts, areas, etc…, as according to existing characteristics or as distinguished for some purpose.”

I hope it hasn’t gone without notice that there’s no human element to the word ‘zone.’ It is an action, or a noun, for non-human things and actions. When creating a zone there’s a succinct thought behind it based on what is presumably careful evaluation. Zones have purpose and, therefore, are created and maintained to serve that purpose. A zone is more a business, mathematical, or scientific term than it is a psychological or sociological one. Not that it doesn’t have purpose in those fields, as evidenced by this article’s mere existence…


 

Husband: I don’t know that I agree with that concept. As a man, I feel as though a man more likely created the “friend zone” as a coping mechanism than an abusive one. Men are held to high standards – we cannot fail in any way without harsh criticism. Not being able to woo someone we see as a suitable mate is failure in its simplest, and harshest, form. Instead of admitting that he was unappealing to a woman, some man created this concept as a way to hide the fact that he was imperfect. There probably was nothing malicious about the term originally.

 

Wife: How can you say that knowing that a friend can literally be anyone you are close to but do not romantically affiliate with – while also knowing that a zone is a place that exists for a sole purpose! Linguistically – psychologically – sociologically – the concept of the “friend zone” is nothing more than a form of manipulation to draw out a desired reaction. There is nothing benevolent or harmless about the term. I don’t see how any halfway-educated person can see it as anything but abusive.


 

 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(4) Linguistics

We all know about “language arts” but it is doubtful that we know what “linguistics” actually means. It pertains to language, but it is a very specific study – not too unlike psychology or sociology. It can actually be an integral part of both because language is hardwired in everyone – written or spoken. It is the common ground across all people.

The plain definition of the word, here, ‘linguistics’ is that is the scientific study of all aspects of language (e.g.: phonetics, syntax, historical meaning, etc…).. A lot can be learned about the language any person chooses to use. I found a more encompassing definition of the word here, because I felt that a detailed explanation makes it easier to understand the deeper value of linguistics in my debate.

That’s right – clicking the ‘here’ for the larger explanation of linguistics takes you to a college website. You can get a degree in linguistics. That is because the way in which someone speaks, the words that they use and the placement of those words in the sentences, they are indicators of untold circumstances – unspoken thoughts – hidden agendas, and more.

(5) Psychological Manipulation & Connotation

Psychology is the study of (primarily) human (and animals, officially) emotions and behaviors, right? Just in case that feels insufficient, you can see it defined here again. It’s more than that, of course, but generally speaking that is the bulk of the work done in the field of psychology. So what does ‘psychological’ mean when used as an adjective?

Psychological: “of, pertaining to, dealing with, or affection the mind, especially as a function of awareness, feeling, or motivation.” This is a word-for-word definition from here (yes, I do use this site for all my definitions, unless it is necessary to do otherwise). In short, if something is done psychologically, then it is done with the intention to draw out a specific reaction. Everything about a psychological action is deliberate to some degree – but the degrees really are minimal. There’s really only conscious, subconscious, and unconscious – and none of those options are good when used in this context. That is, however, a conversation for a different bullet point.

Manipulation! We all know what that is, but just in the event that we’ve forgotten…

Let us review!

Manipulation, as defined here, is just management. Of course, it has a generally negative connotation to it, doesn’t it?

More along the lines of linguistics, here, the connotation of a word is an underlying meaning of a word. Dictionary.com explains that ‘connotation’ elicits a specific associated meaning when used. The example used on the page is: “Religion has always had a negative connotation for me.” The same can be said about ‘manipulation’ basically universally.

(6) Conscious v. Subconscious (And Unconscious)

For this, I think it’s best to really just copy-and-paste definitions because that’s the best way to make it clear how these three relate and different. After I can tell you why linguistically – the “friend zone” has absolutely no viable defense.

Consciousness: A state of awareness of internal events and of the external environment. (APA Glossary).

Subconscious: relating to thoughts and feelings that exist in the mind and influence your behavior although you are not aware of them. (Cambridge University Press Dictionary).

Unconscious: The domain of the psyche that stores repressed urges and primitive impulses. (APA Glossary).

When arguing whether or not something is deliberate in a negative way – you do have to consider is conscious, subconscious, or unconscious. Unconscious is something that is natural, sometimes nurtured from a very young age. Subconscious, this is when we have been nurtured to believe something but never in a very explicit way even though it is relevant and evident in everything we do or say. And then there’s conscious, which is an awareness and understanding of what we are doing and what caused us to want to do it.

Since we have been determining the “friend zone” being coined with a psychologically manipulative intention – no matter if it was conscious, subconscious, or unconscious of the man to do have created this word… in one way or another he is horribly misguided. If he uses the term consciously – aware that it could be manipulative – then he’s a terrible person who aims to be in control over his female counterparts and companions. If he uses the term subconsciously – unlikely aware of the damage he is causing intrinsically – then he is at the very least unobservant. That makes his manipulation no less hurtful, but perhaps correctable. Of course, what happens when you tell him that the use of the word “friend zone” is offensive and he gets defensive? It takes any understanding out of the equation entirely.

And then there’s the use of the term unconsciously – which implies that this is a behavior and term that is used frequently by this person. It’s not even worth a second thought because it’s always been there and always been used and never been a problem before… And that’s scary, because that sort of thinking can ascend from the unconscious, to the subconsciously, and then to conscious. It takes a nurtured and understood behavior and turns it into an intentional one. And these are the things that are difficult to change in us, and in in those that we know. Something so primal as thinking the “friend zone” is an acceptable term to use when close female friends turn down guys… It’s something we teach the young and, therefore, something they grow up with – never once questioning it!

(7) Nature v. Nurture – There is a Difference!

So – all of these sources I’m using for the “Info” sections are lengthy, but it is because I want to only choose reliable sources. Sources that I would use for a college paper or a professional work; and that’s why this is a LONG article discussing nature versus nurture in great length. This is the link you’ll need, but I’ll give you the shorter version because it is vital to know the different between the two:

(a) Nature is essentially biological. It is something that is typically inherited through genetics. An example of something that is “nature” to someone could be athleticism. OR… it could be something like Attention Deficit Disorder, or any manner of mental illnesses. We are biologically and physiologically predisposed to those sorts of things. They are a part of us that can’t be changed – although, that’s not to say it can’t be controlled to a degree but it won’t be gone. It’s in our nature.

(b) Nurture is more or less a form of teaching. It’s developed traits or mannerisms that are due to the environment. For example, a child who drinks after all of his food is gone does this because his parents do… Or a child who listens to rock music because her siblings like it. These are things that we adopt because of how we grow up and live. Another example of nurture – when a child decides she doesn’t want to smoke because she grew up with a family of smokers and it made it hard to breathe. A lot of choices are made because of our circumstances – and that is nurture.


 

Wife (Cont’d): And furthermore, by suggesting that the “friend zone” is a coping method for men who see themselves as failures… You have unintentionally suggested that it is okay to demonize others for simply having preferences. A woman who is not interested in a man she sees only as a friend should not be told she has created a “friend zone” for this man. A friend is anyone she is friends with in her life! Literally every person – man, woman, transgender, genderfluid, or nonbinary – is a friend if she deems it so! If you want to get right down to it “ friend zone” should literally be a place for all your friends. That’s not what it means, though, does it? Please tell me what the “friend zone” actually means for a man. Tell me what it means today as a man.

 

Husband: What you just explained is completely irrelevant. A woman’s friends aren’t dealing with the same thing a man who has been put in the “friend zone.” A man is suffering from unrequited affection whereas her other friends aren’t pining after her. Calling this man and what he’s experiencing merely a friend seems unfair because that’s not how it feels to him. A man in the “friend zone” isn’t attempting to demonize anyone, either. He’s just making it clear how he felt compared to how she felt, and that is not – in any way – an attempt to make the woman seem like a monster.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) The Modern Definition of the “Friend Zone”

(a) Urban Dictionary defines it as: “What you attain after you fail to impress a woman you’re attracted to. Usually initiated by the woman saying, “You’re such a good friend”. Usually associated with long days of suffering and watching your love interest hop from one bad relationship to another.

Verb tense is “Friend-ed”.

“I spent all that money on a date, just to find out she put me in the Friend Zone(said with eerie echo).”

“You know that hot girl I’ve been talking to? She just Friend-ed me.””

(b) When you Google “What is the friend zone?” – Google presents this definition: “a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.

“I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys””

(c) Wikipedia users and moderators have allowed this definition for the “friend zone” to remain published: “The friend zone, in popular culture, refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does not. [1][2][3] It is generally considered to be an undesirable or dreaded [4] situation by the lovelorn person. [5] If a desired party does not return or respond affirmatively to the advances or affection of the desiring party, but continues to participate in the friendship in a platonic way, it is sometimes described as friend-zoning.”

(d) And this Psychology Today article that actually attempts to explain how to avoid this “friend zone” defines it as: “Therefore, when someone gets stuck in the friend zone, they have entered into an exchange that is not fair or equal. The other person is getting everything he/she wants…but the person stuck in the friend zone is not fully satisfied. In a nutshell, the friend zone person sold himself or herself short. They gave their “friend” everything, without making sure they got everything they wanted in return.”

*Side note, this abysmal crap actually makes me regret ever using Psychology Today as a resource at all, but I review all the content I reference before using it. At least not all of their stuff is as pathetic as this nonsense.

All in all, we know what the “friend zone” is socially. There is no mistaking what it means or that, generally speaking, it is a place that men end up. Without question, this is a problem that “affects” men fair more than it “affects” women.


 

Wife: I think you’re failing to understand the fact that when a man uses the words “friend zone” he is designating that the women intentionally and maliciously placed him in a special category. He thinks that she has purposefully been nice to him and created a loving relationship between them that means more so that she can benefit from the emotional connection without giving herself – keeping herself open to other possibilities. Calling himself a ‘friend’ purposefully, and manipulatively, so that he can assure everyone that he remains close to her – and then designating it as a ‘zone’ where specific qualifications have been met. Surely he hits many of this woman’s desires in a man, but for whatever reason doesn’t want to be with him. The “friend zone” is almost like a “friend with benefits” concept for men – minus the benefits.

 

So yes, maybe this man was trying to coddle his own ego – but he psychologically manipulates those around him to feel bad for him as a part of the process. The only person zoning anything is him! He zones his peers into a specific frame of mind, which in turn causes them to question why this woman hasn’t found any level of attraction to him. His language is chosen precisely so that it doesn’t sound at all as though he is an aggressor but rather a victim. The man who created the “friend zone” has painted himself a victim. Meanwhile, the woman is left feeling bad for showing any kindness to him because her personal preferences romantically and, or sexually are being ignored because of this man’s pity party. Using his own zoning tactics to criminalize a woman for simply having feelings that do not reciprocate his own.

 

Husband: You’re speaking as though this was some sort of war or competition. How can you really believe that a man would create the phrase “friend zone” as a way to trick a woman into feeling bad for him and giving him a chance? You make it sound no better than rape – except on an emotional level. And the “friend zone” is simply not that bad. It sucks, but it’s not bad enough to drive a man into the mental state it would require to create something that deceitful.

 

Wife: Excuse me, but have you heard of politics? Deceit is literally a race for power. And that’s exactly what rape is! It’s an act of power over another person. The power to say ‘”no” doesn’t mean “no.”’ If you think that’s a stretch, consider political zoning. We’ve just watched it on “Adam Ruins Everything.” Politicians gain control and redistrict so that they can maximize the chances of their party winning the next vote – keeping their ideals, laws, and values in place. Note that it is very clear that the zoning is done as a form of – dun dun dun – manipulation! That’s all zoning really is at the end of the day. Zoning is manipulation! Zoning is management of an area with specificity. Manipulation is management tactfully. They are one in the same; it’s just that one comes with a neutral connotation while the other elicits negative emotions almost instantaneously.

 


 

Information (Necessary) to Consider:

(8) Political Redistricting – FYI it is Definitely Real

I personally took advanced placement government in high school, but I presume that everyone who graduated high school took a government course that discussed political redistricting. Whether you’ve remembered it – who knows? I do, but only because my education is Paralegal Studies and Business. This is something that we discussed frequently. I have (1), (2), (3) resources that will explain further detail what redistricting is and how it works. I’ll be taking the key points and explaining them here, though.

Political incumbents (fancy word for representative) redistrict within the states and voting districts every 10 years. Redistricting helps determine who represents the state in the Electoral College (the men and women who actually vote for the President, by the way) – which means the population of the state or district has to be taken into account. It helps determine the number of Electoral College votes that exist for that state or district. When these “incumbents” redistrict, the limits within which they operate are relatively small. Politicians use this as an opportunity to secure the majority vote in the state or district in which they represent.

If you haven’t pieced it together yet, “redistricting” is synonymous with “zoning.” It can be called either ‘political redistricting’ or ‘political zoning.’ Both phrases mean the same thing and have the same end result.


 

Wife (Cont’d): Let me explain it to you plainly. John Doe has 10 female friends and 10 male friends. They are zoned as ‘male’ and ‘female.’ John Doe and Jane Smith are great friends and have been for several years. John Doe feels that there is a romantic relationship developing with Jane Smith. He moves her into a new zone: romantic interest. When he tells Jane Smith how he feels – she does not reciprocate those feelings. He redistricts his group of friends again – putting Jane Smith in her own category titled “friend zone” because they have chemistry but she does not wish to pursue that relationship. The population of her district is one.

 

Notice that throughout this story I only used neutral language while incorporating terms that describe an act that requires deep intellectual thought. There is a certain likeness between political zoning and “friend zoning” that cannot go ignored! We already don’t riot enough about the way political redistricting can be unfair to the people and unrepresentative of their political views – we cannot allow men and society to perpetuate the thought that “friend zoning” is not an intentional form of abuse. The only difference in political zoning and “friend zoning” is that the man doesn’t designate to others that he’s put a woman into a specific zone in his mind, but rather tricks others into believe that she put him there instead. An act, which is already sewn with manipulative intent, is made even worse by more deceitfulness.

 

Husband: I can see that this clearly makes you upset. I do see where you are coming from, and I am receptive to the thought of it as a form of abuse. However, having been in the “friend zone” with many of my female friends – [interrupted]

 

Wife: And that’s the problem! You – in my actual presence – are saying you’ve been in the “friend zone,” and are nearly incapable of seeing it for the cruel mechanism it truly is to women. This means at some point you were upset by a woman’s personal preferences simply because they did not include you. The concept of the “friend zone” literally ignores a woman’s right to be interested in anything specific. Guys can prefer blondes, brunettes, skinny, curvy, Latina, dominatrix, and so on – but the instant a woman says she prefers a man with, say, facial hair – lo’and’behold! She suddenly is high-maintenance or shallow when she turns down any man interested in her who doesn’t have facial hair.

 

I once challenged a man to consider dating woman outside of his usual scope of physical appearance (skinny, brunette, small breasts – all of which were his specifications). He told me that I was “stepping out of bounds” by suggesting this because he has the right to be physically attracted to any woman he considered as a girlfriend. However, it was not “stepping out of bounds” when he plainly stated that I purposefully changed my sexuality to shame my husband for his own.

 

If this were an isolated incident I wouldn’t have been enraged, but it wasn’t the first time I had a conversation alike this one. This particular gentleman and I had been friends since I was thirteen, but we were much closer when I was fifteen. He was one of the few people who provided me emotional support through an abusive relationship. He also asked me out on a few occasions, each time being turned down. I told him I was not physically attracted to him in spite of our emotional connection. Even though he accepted my answer, he said that he could no longer be my friend knowing this information – it would be difficult.

 

When we reconnected a year or so afterwards, he was telling me that a girl kept pursuing him even though he turned her down repeatedly. When I asked why he was unwilling to give her a chance he used my exact words: “I simply am not physically attracted to her, and our relationship could never thrive if I didn’t want to be with her in that way knowing she wanted that sort of intimacy.” I was dumbfounded and told him as much. It goes without saying we are not friends.

 

I’m not the only person in the world to experience this double standard. Men are faced with double standards too. That’s all irrelevant to this conversation, however, as are my personal experiences. They serve as examples, but only in a supplemental way. All I want you to understand is that women have preferences. When they turn men down who do not meet their preferences in a romantic partner – they find themselves victimized by this “friend zone” men utilize to classify their situation. The thing is, though, that it’s not a situation at all. They are in exactly the same place they were before, but they’ve convinced themselves that this woman saw more in him when she was just being his friend.

 

The “friend zone” is plainly an insulting, generally patriarchal, and manipulative form of abuse that men primarily use against women after being rejected. Once society stops coddling these men who are too often held to no standards whatsoever, then we can start maturely addressing the real issues. Feminism has always existed, but feel free to quote me here…

 

“The Friend Zone” that still exists because humanity is still a mess in its gender inequality, and racism, and prejudice… it breathes life to Feminism because clearly we still need a social movement capable of turning this misguided species around so that we can live in a better society.

 

Husband: If it’s such a problem, give me a solution. If this is a legitimate problem that can be solved and change the world as we know – then give me a solution. Until you can give me a good solution, or even a viable starting point, then why bother fixing something as petty as a slang term that people try to morph into a psychological game when there are actual crimes against women that need prosecuting?




 

 

 

The conversation ended at this point. I was so angry by the time I began my lengthy monologue that I couldn’t help but shout most everything that came out of my mouth. Our child actually left the room, muttering that we were arguing yet again. Of course, he doesn’t realize that there’s a difference between debating and arguing. He is young and someday I hope like hell he sees the value in the things that my husband and I do discuss.

Why? What parent wants their child to see them in a heated debate with their spouse? What parent would allow their child to sit in on a conversation as mature as this one? Why would any self-respecting parent do that?

The answer to that question is the same answer that I presented to my husband in response to his question. Why would we worry about the “friend zone” when there are real issues to be attended to in the world. The better question is – why doesn’t anyone treat the existence of the “friend zone” as a real issue?

It is our little behaviors that add up to a whole. Little behaviors create cultures and differentiate some from others. These differences make us human and make us unique. They can create societies within societies; they can create wonderful settings and niches. However, these little things can also poison us. It takes the whispers of one person to start a following. Hitler did it once and started a World War. ISIS is doing it presently, probably with the same intentions.

So I couldn’t care less when my son is present during debates such as this one, because it makes him aware. It educates him on the social issues that are present. It prepares him for the world – the way he will most likely experience it in the future.

Today I want to challenge my readers to think about the little things we can change to bring equality across all races, religions, genders, sexualities, classes, and countries. Assess your mannerisms and why you have them. Speak your mind on the issues that exist in the world around you. If you have a guy friend telling you about how he was “friend zoned” – challenge him to think about what it is that made him unappealing to her. Challenge him to consider how his language could affect her. But don’t stop at sexist behaviors – question racist ones too. Question when someone is shutting down another religion.

Question everything. Don’t lose your trust, but always consider the reasoning behind things. Don’t jump to conclusions because negative comments are often made out of ignorance. We can solve a lot of these social issues with awareness and education. So above all other things, I want you to take out this article – educate yourself. Information is easily accessible in many parts of the world.

Also, I want you to remember that the “friend zone” is verbally abusive and is utter bullshit. If you hear someone say they’re in the “friend zone,” consider why. Ask someone why. Understand the situation from all points of view.

Because chances are – that person is 1) a willful ass hat, or 2) an unintentionally uneducated human being waiting for enlightenment.