12 January 2012

The Bro-ing of America

I know this isn't a new trend by any stretch of the imagination. Terms like bromance have long since entered our lexicon but I ask you: does everything that guys like to do have to be "bro"-ed out?

Because of our strictly defined gender roles, whenever men get interested in something that isn't deemed "masculine" we have to give it special name. It started out innocently enough with words like "metrosexual" (cause G-d forbid a man like to get the dirt from under his nails WHERE IT BELONGS!). Then the idea that two men might like to hang out with each other became a very affront to our sensibilities and the term "bromance" was coined. (No homo, though). Now because men are out of work, they've taken to doing the shopping and this becomes a phenomenon requiring special "man aisles" at the store. And heterosexual men have started to get botox to stave off aging and it's called "bro-tox" (see video below). Check out Urban Dictionary's extensive list of bro terminology to see how pervasive it's become.

A lot of this comes out of a need to constantly reinforce manhood in an era where men are moving into stereotypically feminine arenas. If we call if "bro-tox" it's not for women (though it's the same exact procedure). If I'm a "manny" or a "murse" I can retain my masculinity and earn a paycheck, which I couldn't do if I was a just nurse or a nanny. And some of it is borne out of our news media. In order to make things "newsworthy" and eye-catching, we have to dissect issues upon genderized (or racialized, or sexualized) lines because that's simple. And hey if we can come up with an all-encompassing terms that suits our needs even better.

I, for one, am rejecting the "bro-ing" of America. It's played, it's reductive and it pushes us further into boxes. Let it go, bro.

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