We're Not Falling For It: Adding on the Word "Bro" Doesn't Make Things More Manly

Broga, brotato chip, brotein shake, broghurt. The list goes on and on. In GQ, Oliver Franklin argues that the word bro has creeped into much of our vocabulary, attaching itself to seemingly unrelated words. And it has to stop.

Take "bromance," arguably the most ubiquituous instance of the "bro" prefix. This awkward term — don't mistake our friendship for an actual romance! — to describe male closeness is pretty heteronormative. God forbid two men have deep and true feelings for each other, let alone actual romantic or sexual urges. "Bromance" takes care of that problem by instantly categorizing a close male friendship as a macho-buddy thing.

Franklin chalks up the popularity of "bro" to insecurity, rightly so. He asks, "When did we become so sexually insecure as a gender that we need three additional letters to ensure us that something is a masculine pursuit?"

So bro-ifying is just a way of clearly branding things as male-appropriate to reinforce masculinity. I got some guy friends to weigh in on these ideas and try and figure out if "bro" really needs to go.

"I only use it ironically," says Kevin, 20. Erik, 24, says the same, adding, "At least within my friend circle it isn't used in every sentence as I can imagine it is for some." For Jason, 21, it's about being on an equal footing. "I only use the word if someone calls me 'bro' first — the rule of 'bro' reciprocity," he says.

So it is time to cut it down? "For me it has a kinda macho/douchebag connotation," explains Chris, 21. "Whenever I heard the word bro I think of misogynistic jocks so it makes me cringe," echoes Robert, 19. "It's time to cut it down," adds Kevin.

The word "bro" tends to lump all men together in a collective mentality where women aren't in on the secret. It's insulting that three letters need to be added to things that tend to be associated with women — guys should be able to do yoga and eat yogurt without a special manly twist. Modifying the word to make things seem bro-friendly sends out the message that we need to cater to men's desire to feel masculine, and that's not cool.

"It's not a bromance, it's friendship. It's not broga, it's just yoga," writes Franklin. "It's time to have the confidence to call things what they are."

Image: thebarrowboy on Flickr