Check your (Face) Privilege

I just encountered someone referring to the oft-mentioned “friend zone” as the expectation that “kindness coins” will get you laid. To be honest, I’ve heard the term from both men and women over the years, and many of them are not what we’d call conventionally attractive.

Now there’s the ultimate privilege, the most insidious, invisible privilege someone might possess. Physical attractiveness. I don’t think there’s any way to gauge how much it can ease a person’s life, if used correctly. It can become a bane in certain circumstances–I’ve known women who claimed it was downright annoying. Like big breasts can lead to a backache, greater than average attractiveness can lead to other kinds of pain.

But people who aren’t attractive who feel relegated to the “friend zone” because they aren’t boyfriend or girlfriend material aren’t just whining. Not all of them, anyhow. They’re not complaining because being nice isn’t getting them laid. They’re complaining because no matter what they do, they’re not going to be good enough. That only the strongest person would choose them with no thought of how others will respond.

I get that all of this seems wrapped up in the overarching misogyny of our society, but let’s admit that this too requires a recognition of nuance, and that being quick to dismiss another’s experience is what we’re fighting against, not on behalf of.

Glibness may be amusing, but it’s rarely helpful.