I swear this topic is like 3-4 defense vs the 4-3. So many people throwing out supposedly "enlightened", "intelligent" analysis of it, without actually understanding what the hell their actually analyzing. The latest example can be found here on Jezebel. Another person who just doesn't get it.
Here's the deal: the "friendzone" is nothing but a situation in which one party has sexual and/or romantic feelings for the other party which that other party doesn't reciprocate. The reason it is referred to as a "zone" is that the other person is pretty much never going to feel that way about you. Maybe someone somewhere has turned platonic feelings into romantic ones, but it pretty much never happens. You're better off trying to win the lottery.
Now, the above doesn't sound too controversial. It's just unrequited love, right? Well, yes and no. There are some "issues" that sometimes arise in such situations. Sometimes, Person A realizes that Person B likes them (likes them likes them) and figures out that they could manipulate those feelings for their own personal gain. You know, like get you to buy them stuff or watch their cat for them, or help them move furniture, etc. And they never reciprocate, nor do they ever plan to. When you need to bum a ride because your car broke down they are nowhere to be found (conveniently).
On the other end of the spectrum is the situation in which Person B likes Person A, and because of that can't really be "just friends" with them. It's at this point where a lot of observers (women, mostly) get offended. They feel like this person (if they are indeed a good person) should be able to put their feelings aside and be a good friend, otherwise it displays entitlement attitude and shows that they don't see them as a person (aka the "friendzoned man" is a secret sexist). It's at this point I have to roll my eyes.
I'm going to be honest, if I like you, and you don't like me, it's going to be extremely difficult for me to be a good friend to you. I don't mean that I"m going to trash talk about you or belittle you or whatever, I mean I'm not going to want to spend time with you. At least for a little while. It's too painful, especially if you end up dating someone else and you start bringing them along on group gatherings or talk about them to me or others around me. At the moment the emotions are too raw for me to put those aside and carry forth with a normal friendship as if I had never had those feelings. Eventually? Yeah most likely. But certainly not at first. And you're going to have to get over that. Emotions are not logical, they don't make sense they don't always end up being polite or kind. If that offends you, well, you're going to have a hard time getting on in this world.
I guess I should mention the PUA aspect of this. What's happened is that a mythos has developed about the friendzone. The idea being that you only end up in the friendzone if you do things "wrong" in your interactions with women. And that if you start doing things "right" you'll never end up there. The reality is that there is a kernel of truth there. Some men don't make their interest known and as a result some women think that these men aren't interested and move on. Either they start dating someone else or they don't develop feelings for these men when they might otherwise have if their feelings had been known from the beginning. PUAs get the rest wrong, but that piece right there is pretty spot on.
Now, maybe I hang out with the wrong crowd (or the right one, depending on your perspective) but I've never had a guy tell me that he had hung out with a girl or spent hours on the phone with her or spend lots of money on her and felt like she "owed" him sex or a relationship. Not once. Not even in high school. And if a guy ever did tell me that, I'd tell him he was a moron beyond any comprehensible level. That's a fact. And I've known some pretty douchey people in my time, let me tell you.
This is part and parcel of one of the fascinating things I've witnessed on the internet. This strange idea that any guy who complains about not being able to get a date or how no woman likes him, must be a sexist (either overtly or covertly). It's as if these people haven't stepped outside their homes to see what kind of men many women are dating now (and likewise what kind of women men are dating). Take a tour of your local women's abuse shelter and it will dispel the myth that sexist men can't get dates (assuming that "dateless losers" are in fact sexist).
Yes, women and men can be friends. Sometimes they can be genuine friends even if one party has romantic feelings for the other. But, it's not always easy for some people. And yes, sometimes a guy might be in the "friendzone" and have no interest in being there. For any number of legitimate, non-sinister reasons. Do us all a favor, and stop trying to make the friendzone thing about something it isn't.