Box Theory and why you shouldn't worry about it

Box theory is the latest TikTok discussion, but is it as misogynistic as it sounds?

Gabbi De Boer
10th May 2022
image: Pixabay
If you’re internet savvy and on the Sex and Relationships side of TikTok, you’re probably already familiar with ‘Box Theory’ - the theory that when a heterosexual man meets a woman, he puts them into one of three boxes. The first, if they see a relationship with you, the second, if they see you just as someone to sleep with, and the third, someone they don’t find attractive in any way and therefore don’t pursue any friendship or relationship with them. Once categorized, it is difficult to move out. 

‘Box theory’ has been confirmed by many men on TikTok, however, it is also debated that it’s not just men who feel this way. The theory itself isn’t set in stone or heavily researched, however, it all boils down to first impressions. It’s not completely unrealistic that, regardless of gender, people do decide what they think of someone based on their looks and if they’re attracted to them. After all, that is the basis of dating apps - swiping based on a curated profile of someone’s best shots and snippets of their personality. 

it’s just a simplified way of explaining something many people do anyway

It is no surprise then, that if you ask some straight men if this is true, and they think it over, they’ll agree to some extent. It’s a pretty simple way of thinking but overall, nothing to worry about. Many women have come forward feeling that the theory is inherently misogynistic - an understandable stance, however, it’s just a simplified way of explaining something many people do anyway.

What can be considered quite misogynistic, though, is that straight men supposedly won’t be friends with women they find unattractive. Although this again isn’t a proven fact, it certainly is disheartening to hear as a woman. Then again, do we really want to be friends with superficial people (none the less, superficial men) who only like us because they like the way we look? 

Overall, if you’re a woman, and worried about how ‘Box Theory’ affects you, then think of it more simply. It’s just a way of categorizing first impressions. Your first thoughts about someone are often uncontrollable, and physical attraction is also something that can’t be controlled. So put yourself first, and as long as you’re happy with who you are and how you look, try not to concern yourself with what someone thinks of you. 

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