Yes means Yes, No Means No, Slut Shaming, Friend Zoning, and the Path to the Creeper State.

This Post is dedicated to @rachelmack who got me thinking about these things this morning.

Part 1: Slut Shaming

This tweet started the discussion so it only seems fair to post it first.  The first section is pretty clear-cut and straightforward – or at least it seems that way. Society tells us from a young age that a girl who says “yes” more than “no” (or more than an arbitrarily defined amount that varies based on person and can actually include zero) is a “slut”.

To be fair, men are also referred to as sluts if they have a lot of sex/sexual experience, but to say the two are the same misses the point. Entirely. Slut is a compliment, or at least delivered as one, when the person is male. For some reason, human beings have managed to create a world where men getting laid is seen as some kind of triumph, like a hunter coming back with a moose to feed the village, while at the same time making sure women who do the same thing feel shamed and like they have given up part of their humanity.

Logically, this makes NO sense – even from the most basic “who do you think these men are sleeping WITH?” standpoint – but it’s far worse than that.

By stripping 50% of the planet of the right to say “yes”, we set up a situation where many believe “no” doesn’t mean “no” any longer. If society is a place where women feel they CANNOT say “yes” when they mean “yes”, they are FORCED to say other things when they mean yes. This becomes the basis of the rapist’s/creeper’s dream society: women cannot say yes, so “subtle hints” (read: whatever the fuck those assholes make up) start to mean yes.

The only way to stop this is to educate young people on two very simple, and very important, ideas.

Part 2: The Friend Zone.

Meeting someone new doesn’t come easily to everyone.  Hell, there are times it doesn’t come easily for anyone. Two people meet, hit it off, and there is that moment – sometimes only one brief moment – where the chance comes to ask them out for a date.

But with that moment comes fear. Drilled into the heads of our youth since public school: “No means no.” The focus on the negative. If the question is asked and the answer given isn’t favourable, hope will die there.  But then a new thought occurs: if the question isn’t asked, then hope still lives.

That moment of fear – fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of the future, and fear of self-doubt – leads down the path to the Dark Side… wait, I mean The Friend Zone.

The issue here isn’t the cowardice that leads someone to find themselves in the friend zone, but in the way the term is then used. Much like “slut”, it can be applied to both men and women, but it’s meant in very different ways.

The friend zone is a “place” into which women “put” men. “They” are to blame for it – how could SHE “friendzone” ME? The arrogance of this should be pretty apparent, but there’s another issue that’s more damaging and much more insidious. It’s an incredibly self-destructive problem – your ID battles your EGO in all-out war, knowing that you’ve never bothered even to ASK, but your ego won’t let you get over yourself enough to think maybe, just maybe, she ISN’T into you.

No human can know peace when they are at war with themselves.

Above, it says “Friendzone is attacking women for their right to say no”… but it is much more than that, isn’t it? It’s attacking them for CONSIDERING saying no. It is attacking them to deflect and mitigate the acceptance of personal responsibility that we each have in each encounter in a given day.

The two terms share one other thing: shame. Patriarchy teaches boys that feelings are bad, and that above all, FEAR is bad. This institutionalized dogma of anti-feeling machoism is what drives young (and old) men to fall into the above arrogant claims of friendzoning to hide their own shame at the fear they felt when they had their chance to ask.

Part 3: Avoiding the Creeper State

To move beyond this, society needs to not only grow up, but to change HOW we grow up.  Our sex education needs to talk about positive sexuality and promote honest discussion about things like Safe Sex, Consent, and Gender Identity/Sexual Orientation.

The two biggest changes, though, would be to replace the old “No means No” mentality with a slightly different 2-step method.

1) Nothing but “Yes” means “Yes”; and

2) It is ok to say “Yes” or “No”.

By focusing on the positive, it will teach people to be positive about the “Yes” instead of fearful of a “No” while still ensuring kids/teens/adults know that ONLY yes means yes. (This also eliminates the creepers’ standard fallbacks of “She IMPLIED yes” and “She never said No”.) The other benefit is that this teaches everyone that a yes is ok. Girls and women would no longer be taught all about how they need to say “no”.

Until then, though, try to remember the following: Yes means Yes; No means No; it’s never ok to try to make someone feel bad about their sex lives; if you’re in the friendzone, you have no one to blame but yourself; and whatever you do, avoid the road to the Creeper State… the van NEVER has the candy they promise.

7 thoughts on “Yes means Yes, No Means No, Slut Shaming, Friend Zoning, and the Path to the Creeper State.

  1. Simplified: It’s okay to say yes or no.
    That’s it. Anything else makes it a crime. And if there is any shred of doubt attached with having sex that would make it a crime, then women will NEVER be free to just have sex for the hell of it.

  2. ” “They” are to blame for it – how could SHE “friendzone” ME? The arrogance of this should be pretty apparent”

    This is a straw man. The vast majority of men would blame themselves for ending up ‘friendzoned’ –

    Finding oneself friendzoned is widely acknowledged to be the result of a bungled seduction. It’s just an epithet to describe a widespread phenomenon, there’s no misogyny behind it.

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