Is it time to retire ‘bromance’?
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor
Recently, I saw a front page headline on a major daily newspaper asking “Isn’t it bromantic?” The sub-headline said “When a bro loves another bro: How unconditional male bonds can improve health and happiness.”
Personally, I don’t find it shocking to hear that positive male friendships can have positive effects. Really, gender has nothing to do with it; a bond with someone you love has many benefits, regardless of what gender either of you are. I find it troubling that this sort of thing is given any attention, or is found to be a revelation. It is unnecessarily gendered and states a very obvious fact about men’s (or anyone’s) health.
The “bromance” label is heteronormativity at its finest. We live in a culture where two men being friends cannot simply be seen as a friendship. The term “bromance” suggests a platonic love based on understanding and respect between two dudes. In other words, a friendship. Why do we feel a need to suggest that a male bond is some sort of romantic implication—that there is a joking homosexual tension beyond it?
Women do not have this same label applied. There is no equivalent female term for a “bromance.” This is because women having deep, sisterly bonds is perceived as entirely normal in our society. There’s no term for a man and a woman’s platonic bond either. (Of course, many Hollywood movies suggest men and women can never really just be friends, and that the two will inevitably end up together. This is an equally dangerous and misguided stereotype.)
We live in a culture where any close friendship a man has, regardless of either person’s sexuality, is seen as something to be dwelt upon. If men have a close female friend, they’re probably secretly in love. If they have a close male friend, they have a “bromance.” Or, they’re secretly gay for each other, another very unfortunate implication.
It is reflective of a society where men are not encouraged to show their emotions. Vulnerability, compassion, and expressing love are seen as traits that should be repressed in males, because they aren’t “tough,” or how a traditionally manly man should act.
Two men having a close friendship is nothing new. Since our society was almost entirely dominated by men until quite recently (and, still, continues to wrongly overshadow women), it was the only sort of friendship that recieved attention. Abbott and Costello. Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller. Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Why do we find the need to label something entirely normal and healthy? All it does is create unhealthy implications to unnecessarily bring gender and sexuality into it. Friendships are very normal and healthy across all genders, and there’s no reason to dwell any further on it.