Bromance. I’m sure many of you have heard of it, hell I’m sure many of you have it. Bromance is the concept that has to do with homosocial behavior. Don Romesburg defines homosociality as “a window opened within mainstream popular culture that shines light on male emotional relationships that place neither sexuality nor-more crucially-its disapproval at their center.” In other words, men can “act” homosexual or girly but not be perceived as gay, or looked down upon. As long as the guy has a girl to go home to at the end of the day, they can act as gay as they want.
There are many examples of bromance in the media. For instance, in the film Superbad, Jonah Hill and Michael Cera play two best friends who have absolutely no boundaries, and they aren’t afraid to show it. They have sleepovers together, go shopping together, and even hold hands when they’re scared:
But as all bromances are, they both have girls at the end of the movie. Seth, played by Jonah Hill, has sexy Jules to go shopping with, and Evan, played by Michael Cera, gets to be with the cutie Becca.
As another example, reality star Brody Jenner started a reality show called Bromance where he is in search of a new best friend to roll with his crew. Nine men compete to become Jenner’s ultimate bro. In episode 4, ‘Bros in the Wild’, Jenner takes the remaining five guys out camping.The first hint of bromance seen is when Jenner tells his two best friends, who he has been friends with for years, that they won’t be allowed to come on the trip. Instead of “being a dude”, and shrugging it off, they get incredibly upset. They complain about him missing their “Tuesday night shows” and how he doesn’t spend enough time with them. This is a classic stereotypical woman thing to do, and is definitely not considered masculine.
The second hint of bromance comes into play when Jenner gets a life coach to talk to all the contestants while they are camping. Every one of them needed to share with the group the thing they are most scared of in life. They really open up, and almost every one of the contestants ends up crying and really revealing their emotions. And at the end of the talk, they all hug it out. This whole situation is once again the opposite of what masculinity is considered.
But of course, you can’t have too many bromantic moments without women, or else that would be gay, right? So when it’s time to give one of the contestants the boot, there are five women in bathing suits, waiting to hop into a bubble bath, each waiting for one of the bros (including Jenner) to join them:
As explained in “Holy Fratrimony” Romesburg talks about how women are pushed to the side: “An effect to this New Homosociality seems to be that women, pushed to the margins of these apparently progressive male relationships, find themselves represented in predictably boring ways-nag, supporter, sexy sidekick, mother, wife.” Jenner’s Bromance solidifies this notion.
If you want to see this episode, click here:http://www.mtv.com/shows/bromance/episode.jhtml?episodeID=148316
In Sex, Power, and Intimacy Dr. Shaw and Dr. Lee say social scripts “reflect social norms, practices, and workings of power, and they provide frameworks and guidelines for sexual feelings and behaviors.” I would say that bromances defy these guidelines because they are acting the opposite of the generalization of masculinity. Despite growing up in a heteronormative society, these men seem to not be afraid of acting slightly on the gay or girly side, and for that I commend them. However I do have a question: If one of the contestants on the Bromance show were gay, would he be accepted? Or would he automatically be sent home because he can’t share the same experiences as the other men in the show? If a bro were gay, would Jenner assign a sexy man to be standing in a speedo, waiting to jump in a bubble bath with a successful contestant? I would lean toward no.
1) Sex, Power, and Intimacy by Susan M. Shaw and Janet Lee
2)Holy Fratrimony by Don Romesburg
3)mTV's Bromance episode 4: http://www.mtv.com/shows/bromance/episode.jhtml?episodeID=148316
4)Time Entertainment: Superbad: A Fine Bromance http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1653918,00.html