The concept of the “friend zone” is one that is innately sexist. It’s an imaginary space usually created by men who feel a sense of entitlement over women, who feel that they deserve affection from women and that friendship is not enough of a value in itself.
When one user took to Twitter to make a joke about the friend zone in animated cartoons, one Teen Titans writer fired back, HelloGiggles reports, shutting down both the term and the idea that his character was “friend-zoned.”
A Twitter user posted the cartoon pairs with the caption: “These dudes were the definition of being in the friend zone.” The implication is that all of the boys in the cartoons had unrequited love for their female best friends in the show and that they were not simply close friends of different genders.
“Hi,” David Slack, Teen Titans writer, responded to the popular tweet. “I wrote two of these characters. I hope you someday learn what Beast Boy already knew: that women are actually people…”
“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. It’s neither strange nor nonsensical. The statement ‘she put me in the friend zone’ implies it’s a bad place to be & you don’t belong there. This implication rests on the assumption that you have the right to be in the ‘romantic zone’ regardless of how the woman feels. And that disregard for the wants, needs, & basic humanity of a woman you claim to like… is misogyny. Hope that clears things up. It might help to consider that some spurned men become a stalkers & attackers. Reinforcing the myth of the friend zone emboldens them.”
“P.s.,” he adds: “Slade’s manipulation & mind control kept Terra & BB apart — it was friendship that saved them.”
Twitter is applauding Slack’s response, and for good reason: he is both defending his characters, who shared a powerful friendship that does not deserve to be devalued, and women, who do not owe romance to anyone just because they’ve shown kindness to them.