I find the word "friend zone" has been co-opted, both by douchebags and by the people who want to out douchebags.
Which I think is frustrating, because it's a useful term. Not for something women do but for something guys do to themselves by not being clear about what they want.
The problem started when people started verbing it and attributing it as an action that women take. (ie. "She friend zoned me!")
Whereas I think "in the friend zone" is an accurate description for where a lot of guys have been.
I also kinda hate the demonization of the phrase "nice guy." Again, it started with a lot of douchey guys spoiling the phrase, so I'm not blaming the women who have taken this up.
I think there are a lot of genuine "nice guys" out there. I think the "friend zone" is a place people wind up.
But the douchiest examples dominate and so, once again, the douchebags get all the attention in the world, this time by taking the one positive label that bland guys had and perverting it into a passive aggressive, domineering thing.
And this turned "nice guy bashing" into the third wave feminist reinvention of "All the good ones are taken." And that's where the whole thing takes a cruel turn. Because it's just another flavor of jerk coloring everyone's perception of shy, awkward people, this time by stealing their schtick.
I think of a genuine "nice guy" as being some mix of the typical Jimmy Stewart, Adam Sandler, and Will Smith character onscreen. The naive beta male with a conscience and some accidental/incidental wit mixed in.
But the whole term has been spoiled by self-pitying frat boys and people who look down on a lack of assertiveness.
But I can see a difference between guys who are genuinely not assertive by disposition and guys who passively aggressively use a lack of assertiveness to try to warp zone past working on themselves as human beings and guilt people into fueling their narcissism. And it rankles me seeing the two conflated.