There’s this idea that if a guy is nice to a girl, he deserves something in return. A thank you? Sure. Some… other form of appreciation? Would be more appreciated. What if a guy was nice to a girl over a much longer period of time? Then they’re friends, right? Sure. But what if the guy wants to be more than friends, but for all his niceness, the girl still won’t go out with him?
Well, then the guy’s stuck in the dreaded “friend zone”. And what is the friend zone? It’s where girls relegate guys who are just nice enough to not make it into that erogenous zone where they actually get to have sex. Or, in other words, it’s a stupid social construct that implies both that a guy can’t be nice to a girl out of sheer altruism or friendship, and that if a guy is nice to a girl, she must reciprocate by sleeping with him. And whether or not it’s the girl doing the friendzoning, somehow, the pressure is always on the girl’s romantic interests.
Let’s take a look at some examples from pop culture so you can see what I mean. Slight spoilers for The Hunger Games and Les Misérables below.
Love triangles are by no means something that’s unique to the stage—they’ve been part of popular storytelling tradition for centuries. And if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to get sick of being asked which “Team” you’re on every time you consume some new media about a group of three people of differing genders. There are some very famous musical love triangles, though, and I’d like to look at a few of them and discuss why they’re problematic and why they almost always end up being unfair to the women involved.
This production of Aida really got literal with the whole triangle thing.
So most people hate Marius and Cosette. Let me just come clean and say I really didn’t enjoy Marius or Cosette when I first saw Les Miserables, but recently I have been reassessing my opinion of the two lovebirds.
Yes, it’s true that when Cosette grows up and when Marius talks they are insufferably annoying. But recently I wondered why I hated them so much. And it really came down to one simple thing: because they’re in love.
Seriously, everyone else is worried about justice, good versus evil, and deep theological questions, but Marius and Cosette are worried they won’t be able to get married! Really?! There’s a revolution happening, people. Do we really have time to worry about petty romances?