“‘Bro’-liferation”

“‘‘bro’’ has been ripped from its life as a teasing term of endearment and description of camaraderie and plunked into the sociopolitical swamps of entitlement and privilege. It starts to get at the fractious identity rifts at the heart of this campaign season. On one hand, women and people of color don’t want to be patronized by know-it-all white guys or bullied into supporting one presidential candidate and harassed away from supporting another. On the other: #NotAllMen…
It’s also odd that ‘‘bro’’ has become a culturally white designation. The word has roots both in the church and as a way that black people address black men — as ‘‘brother.’’ Black use of that word is publicly fraternal and privately political. It’s how black men salute each other — still — in white spaces, as a way of saying to each other, ‘‘I see you.’’ What’s vaguely obnoxious about ‘‘bro’’ is that it doesn’t really see anybody.”

Oh, Bros. There are so many different kinds, too; I sort of want a website that catalogs all of them and how to deal. Because it’s become a weirdly professional designation, part of the enigmatic “cultural fit”, this set of behaviors that says to your (male) superiors “I’m always down to chill when you get bored, and I probably know a cool bar where we could go for happy hour, and because I’m confident and relaxed you can safely assume that I’m getting my work done and am, in fact, ‘crushing it’”.

“Professional-Bro” culture has become a red flag for me, and probably a lot of non-bro people, when I’m trying to figure out if I can fit into a given environment. A set of bros who are off somewhere — fine, even kind of fun sometimes; Bro culture dominating and sucking in or sidelining all the men who come into its zone — no, run, this is a place where people get away with sexual harassment and “forgetting” to include women in important decisions and having meetings that always run over because the 40-year-old bro in charge of the team starts the meeting riffing on unrelated and very culturally-specific topics like the best new Apple Watch apps and then keeps getting sidetracked into essentially one-on-one conversations with the other guys at the table.

Related: This American Bro; The sort of person women have to become to get “in” with the bros: The Cool Girl

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