Bromantic Love

Love takes many different shapes across the landscape of a culture, whether it be romantic, familial, heterosexual, or homosexual.  Lately within American culture, a ‘new’ kind of love has been appearing that has been coined ‘bromance’ — a heterosexual sort of love shared between two male friends who care deeply about each other, enjoy each other’s company, and share similar interests.  By definition, bromance is little more than what has commonly been described as a memorable friendship in modern American society; you share a bromance with what would have classically been called your best friend.  Bromance can be understood in numerous different ways though, when viewed from the perspective of different schools of cultural anthropology.

From a Functionalist standpoint, bromance might be considered a device used to quell social anxiety in light of the growing openness of homosexuality in American culture.  Bromance then, is a social construction invented to redefine the nature of a heterosexual friendship.  A functionalist would suggest that cultural or societal traditions are “integrated and interrelated,”[1] so if one custom changes (i.e., a culture’s understanding and acceptance of homosexuality), other customs in said society will change accordingly to adapt to the initial change (i.e., redefining the mechanics of heterosexual male friendship).  According to this definition of Functionalism, the term “bromance” does not represent any new form of relationship, but actually is a social mechanism to create a distinction between heterosexual male relationships and homosexual male relationships.  It reinforces the classic aspects of friendship — love, caring, and camaraderie — as heterosexual, thus quelling any social anxiety regarding heterosexual friendship in light of heightened social sensitivity to homosexuality.

A Boasian Cultural Anthropologist on the other hand, may explain bromance as a  simple product of cultural diffusion.  Boasian Anthropology suggests that culture traits pass, or diffuse, from culture area to culture area.  The way each culture area utilizes the culture trait is considered to be the trait complex.  In the case of Bromance, it could be said that growing acceptance of closer relationships between males is a culture trait that has diffused from another, more cosmopolitan, culture area to ours, and that bromance is American culture’s trait complex for it.  By the principles of Boasian Anthropology, bromance would actually be considered a new form of friendship, gained through diffusion from other culture areas.

Bromance is an interesting new facet of male friendship that has taken precedence in American culture in the recent past.  Both Functionalist and Boasian Anthropologists may have different explanations for the nature of bromance in American society, but both approaches seem to take into account the current ambiguity of what the definition of heterosexual male friendship is and what it entails, and how it is changing our modern understanding of male friendship.  The multiple facets of anthropology allow for numerous interpretations of the meaning of bromance in the sphere of American society.

— Cameron G.

[1] Conrad Phillip Kottak, Cultural Anthropology (New York: Mcgraw Hill, 2009) 67.

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81 Responses to Bromantic Love

  1. Brenda Camenga says:

    Cameron- I thoroughly enjoyed your essay’s focus on “bromance”; you describe “bromance” as, “a device used to quell social anxiety in light of the growing openness of homosexuality in American culture”, when I finished reading your essay I found that this excerpt especially resonated with me. I am aware of the term “bromance”, and I remember when boys from my high school started referring to their friendships with other males as “bromances”, but I never thought about it in the way you described it here. Aside from your quote, overall I think it’s fascinating that males find it necessary to (in a sense) “excuse” their close relationships with other males, to the point where they feel the need to create a name for a friendly relationship that is not homosexual. As I read your essay, I wondered how a feminist anthropologist would view the idea of a “bromance”; would she (or he I suppose) find it ridiculous and unnecessary? Or would this feminist anthropologist appreciate the social progression “bromances” signify?

    • Peter Zwickey says:

      Brenda, I too was taken aback at the way Cameron described bromance in terms of Functionalism. It was an extremely interesting and clever way of making the strange familiar, a trait that Anthropologists are constantly trying to do. However, I think the connection to Boasian Anthropology was more compelling. It applied to bromance especially because the publics knowledge of bromance is indeed rooted in cosmopolitan culture. The only thing I disagreed with was that bromance was in contrast to current homophobia. As Katie Legge states below me, I think it is because of homophobia that men need to reassure their friendships as “heterosexual bromances.”

  2. stephanie ahlgrain says:

    I think this exposition of bromance is a great contrast to trends of so called ‘homophobia’ which is one explanation for the harassment of so many homosexual people today. It is refreshing to take a moment and remember that in light of all of the horrible harassment happening in fear of homosexuality it is still possible for especially men of the same sex to have a platonic relationship. I think there are many ignorant people that would not support this ‘bromance’, claiming that it was somehow linked to homosexuality or it is not ‘manly’ for men to have close relationships based on anything other than business. This association is very sad and has the ability to prohibit so many great relationships. It is healthy and necessary for bromances to be accepted in society and I really liked that this was a topic you considered to be under love.
    In response to Brenda’s comment above, I definitely do not believe that a feminist would find the bromance relationship ridiculous or unnecessary. I think it could be argued that higher tolerance of male relationships would allow men to supersede ideas that are not supposed to release their emotions. If we wanted to say what effect this would have on women, we could study how this would change domestic violence for example. If heterosexual men no longer build up anger and oppression associated with ideas that they must be ‘manly’, then perhaps they would not beat women as often. I think a feminist anthropologist could also interpret this as being a social change that is breaking down traditional gender roles.

    • Katie Legge says:

      i disagree that a bromance shows contrast to homophobia. from the way that i understand bromance, i think it is because of homophobia that men find it necessary to put a distinctly different title on the relationships they have with other males. from what i have seen of so called “bromances” and from what was describied in the essay, i feel that men are actually becoming insecure about the closeness of their male to male friendships and wanted to create another category of friendship so people would not confuse thier relationship to be homosexual relationships.

      • Erica Edelberg says:

        I agree with Katie. Many people (guys especially) have started using the term “no homo” to make it clear that feelings they express toward somebody of the same gender are not romantic. I think that the use of the this phrase, as well as the use of the term “bromance” illustrates a deep fear of homosexuality, or being perceived as homosexual. While it many not be intentional, when people refer to a relationship as a “bromance”, they set relationships on a hierarchical scale that seems to say that a deep friendship between guys is okay, but homosexuality is something to stay away from.

      • chrissamaury says:

        I agree with Katie as well. I know that when I was in high school people would joke around with a group of guys and say they were all “gay for each other” and they would defend themselves immediately saying things like erica said, “no homo.” and when people would accuse them of having a “bromance” they’d embrace it and feel no insecurities towards the term.

      • andersca316 says:

        I agree with kate on this comment too. I have always considered bromance to be reaction to the fear of homophobia and instead of just be completly secure about a relationship with someone of the same sex , people need to turn it in to a funny term that they can say and not feel stupid in doing it

      • Ariane Robertson says:

        I also agree with Katie. The need to distinguish a loving male friendship from a romantic relationship seems to stem from homophobia. “Bromance” is a means for a man to express love for another man without either party being considered homosexual. This, usually inadvertently, re-enforces anti-homosexual sentiments that exist within the structures of American society.

  3. biscayeg says:

    I would agree with bromance from a functionalist point of view and I think you did an excellent job defining how it breaches men’s need for better, more romantic I guess, friendships. I think your idea that it is also an example of cultural diffusion also works, but that you didn’t use the right cultures. I think that men probably noticed how successful more romantic, closer, friendships are amongst women, and copied them, forming bromances. Thus, this idea of love-friendships diffused from women culture (in most areas, but I guess we could narrow it down to American) to men’s culture. For instance, women have been touchy feely with each other, big fans of hugging, and it wasn’t until recently that men have had this too. So, perhaps men took the idea of this from women…

    • Rob Peixotto says:

      Men taking romantic practices from women is a very interesting claim. As I read the essay I immediately agreed with cultural diffusion aspect of its evolution in the U.S. What I originally was thinking was that it came from Europe. Having just studied abroad in Italy I know that the cultural norms for interaction between men is much different than in the U.S. Men hug, kiss, and hold hands without even thinking about it. I don’t think it has come that far in the U.S. Often bromantic love has a joking undertone to it. This undertone could just be making up for the fact that its not fully acceptable, but the men still have the desire to be more physical. Since we aren’t at the stage of the European men, I like your idea that it has come from women. There has been so much towards women being treated like equals to men in other aspects of culture, men must be trying to have their bromance to become acceptable like female relationships.

  4. Hayden Griggs says:

    Bromance is an interesting trend for many reasons, yet a trend that I’ve noticed lately is that it doesn’t necessarily offer an end to homophobia. I’ve witnessed “bromantic” interactions recently (including the increasingly popular use of the phrase “I Love You” among platonic male friends) that seem to be making headway toward a more accepting society, yet don’t necessarily contribute to an end to homophobia. For example, there’s this phrase, “No Homo”, which a guy might say AFTER saying “I Love You Man”. The statement would be as Follows: “Haha I LOVE you, Man! NO Homo”, as if the speaker feels the need to establish the fact that he is not actually homosexual. Bromance is becoming a popular way of interacting among platonic male friends, yet the Homophobia seems to be ingrained in there somewhere. It seems like people are struggling to maintain common gender roles while trying to cope with this new world in which it’s okay to hug another dude. It’d be comical, if it didn’t have the inferred residue of homophobia underneath it.

    • Hayden Griggs says:

      To be clear, however, I do believe that Bromance has advanced society a litle, and I really do appreciate the fact that Platonic love between men can exist with at least slightly less social condemnation, in agreement with Stephanie above.

      • Logan Lynch says:

        I like your comment that “It seems like people are struggling to maintain common gender roles while trying to cope with this new world in which it’s okay to hug another dude” I think that’s pretty much the best way to sum up what everyone has been trying to say. The bromance shows a step towards a more accepting society while at the same time hanging onto some of the residual homophobic fears. While not the most positive, ideal, shift towards a fully accepting society, it shows steps heading towards that direction.

  5. Kate Barry says:

    I really enjoyed this essay! To comment on what biscayeg wrote, I do not believe that men really took this idea from women. I think that men have always had friendships with other men and the only knew thing that is being introduced is calling it bromance. It seems funny to me that people think it is necessary to have to call a friendship something else for fear that it would be considered homosexual. Why have women not had to develop a term to call themselves? Why are women not as cautious of being called homosexuals?

    • Anastasia Turner says:

      I agree with you Kate. I do not think that men developed this idea based off of women’s relationships either. Long before the term ‘bromance’ became popularized men maintained friendships that resemble this form of a relationship. An explanation as to why women do not feel the need to develop a term for their friendships could be that it is seen by society as expectable for females to show emotions. For men to maintain a hegemonic masculine persona though, they must avoid emotions and love towards others, especially those of their same gender. I believe this also plays a big role in the term ‘no homo’. Although we might be advancing as a society, I agree with those who say that the term ‘bromance’ itself is a way of, as Logan Lynch said “hanging onto…residual homophobic fears.”

  6. angie larson says:

    Cameron – I found this information and input on bromance very intriguing. I have had experiences with heterosexual guy friends who form a strong relationship like this and it almost competes with their relationships with women. I find it as their way of putting “bros before hos”, and making their friendship a known priority. However they seem to walk on eggshells, trying not to cross that thin line of the assumption that they are homosexual because of their devotion and significance with their guys friends by labeling it a bromance. Your essay definitely got me thinking about the reasons behind this and the social construction of American society where we are so homophobic to where males cannot express their feelings and care for other males without feeling like they need to make it verbally known, such as with the word “bromance”, that they are not homosexual (as if there is any thing wrong with that if they are!) It is also an interesting comparison to the fact that girls don’t need to validate their girl-to-girl friendships, they show affection and care to their girl friends without any need of sexual-orientation explanation.

    • Clair Trousil says:

      Angie – I found your connection between men having close friendships and their need to validate such friendships with a word like “bromance” was very interesting. It makes me wonder how a linguistic anthropologist would analyze this situation. Its interesting that men manipulate the word “romance” into something manly and that implies that the men in the relationship are being anything BUT romantic with one another. Or possibly they are acknowledging that their relationship may look romantic in a way, but ridicule such an idea with this play on words.

      • Keith Jones says:

        This is a great topic and the term “bromance” would be very interesting to look at through a linguistic anthro. lens. It’s a great example of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. We had to invent a word such a bromance and with the invention of the word bromance we have altered the way that such relationships are experienced and looked at in the context of our society.

  7. Joseph DeMoor says:

    Being a male who engages in “bromance” I have not had issues crossing over into the “homosexual realm”. My close friends are comfortable hugging, giving atta boys, and embracing each other as more than just dudes who need to show off our manliness. I think this has a lot to do with who we are as people, homophobia wouldn’t be tolerated. Which leads me to tolerance.
    “tolerance not violence”-michael Franti.
    Does there really need to be a label of bromance or can it just be a “normal” every day thing to hug and such. It’s not for everyone but really is it that strange? People need touch, from birth we are programmed this way.

    • Veronica Vang says:

      I liked how you addressed if it is necessary to “need a label of bromance.”

      I personally don’t think that there needs to be a label for bromance because the this kind of friend relationship is similar to other friend relationships-the closeness, hugging etc. However, I also found myself asking, how would a feminist anthropologist see this term “bromance” as way of sexual bias within the American society?

      • Noah Starburner says:

        I agree that there shouldn’t be a need to label a relationship between two males as a “bromance” but it does speak to the times.
        Yes we, as a society, have become more open to the concept of gay and lesbian relationships, but there is still some uncertainty about it. There is still fear in being labelled as a gay individual so, I believe, the “bromance” title has been invented to protect straight men from being labelled as homosexuals.
        The obvious problem with this is that it suggests homosexuals to be an inferior group, because to some, being labelled as such is viewed as an insult.

    • Adam Sammakia says:

      I think this is just what is interesting about the label of “bromance”. Male contact is perfectly normal and was seen as such in this culture until the widespread acknowledgment of homosexuality. The question is, after homosexuality became an issue, why did the need arise for straight men to prove that they are not themselves gay through labels like bromance?

      • miarizzo says:

        I agree with Adam in the sense males increasingly need to prove to everyone how NOT gay they are now. It isn’t like homosexuality is new. I don’t see how just because homosexuality is more out in the open now that straight men feel the need to prove themselves. Men have come up with terms like “no homo” which they use after they’ve said something that might come off as “gay”. To me it seems like these kinds of terms and labels are creating more problems rather than solving the issue of homosexuality being socially accepted.

    • Hannah Limov says:

      Noah, I completely agree with you that the need to delineate between close “guy friends” and “boyfriends” has created this new term. And as stated, it definitely illustrates our subconscious (or maybe not so subconscious) fear of gays and the differences that brings about. A question I would ask coming from a woman’s standpoint is although is is seen as more acceptable for men to be gay than it is for women to be lesbians, why is it the male gender (and not the female) that we have created this new word? I guess that would bring in what Veronica was discussing, which is the sexual biases within our American society. But even so, there seems to be a conflict between what we say we are comfortable with, and what we are actually comfortable with. A good example of Practice Theory, per se. Just something to ponder.

  8. H. Innes says:

    Cameron – I think you stated it quite clearly in your first paragraph: that a bromance is about two males who love each other. However, I think you could have compared it to other relationships better. I believe a bromance is true to its name: the combination of brotherly love and a romance, though the term romance implies homosexuality. It seems that a bromance comes from when two men feel *almost* the same way about each other as they would their girlfriends. The defining line between this and being homosexual is that they don’t feel the urge to kiss their “partner” or feel like they are “in love” with them, though they most likely “love” them.

    The idea that it is quelling homophobia is a bit harder to determine. That is relevant only to individual cases and can vary greatly across the country. There are most likely many males who are in “bromances” and yet are still quite homophobic and those who are not. They can still be “manly”and not appear to be gay in any way and some would likely be insulted to be thought of that way.

    • Logan Lynch says:

      I think your uses of “love” are something to really focus on in this essay. English is one of very few languages in the world that has only one word for “love”, we can “love” our favorite pencil the same way we would “love” a life partner, but the terms don’t imply the same thing. It would be interesting to look at the word from a linguistic anthropological view, seeing if the way men in a bromance would love each other the same way that a couple loves each other. It would also be interesting to take a look at other cultures around the world to see if they have anything similar to the bromance, that they use a different version of their word for love for.

      • Peter Zwickey says:

        I agree with logan that you must be careful about your usage of the word love. Distinguishing between plutonic and romantic love is not enough considering the term “bromance” itself is culturally tied to heterosexuality but literally translates to homosexuality. Bromace, Romance, you get the picture. I think from a linguistic anthropologists point of view, bromance is simply a contradiction because it is common knowledge that it’s heterosexual, even though it should mean homosexual.

  9. Kaitlyn Clure says:

    After reading your essay I looked at ‘Bromance’ in a totally different light. Before I inferred bromance to mean many things, including what you had stated, “a heterosexual sort of love shared between two male friends who care deeply about each other, enjoy each other’s company, and share similar interests.” Like Brenda, I remember all the guys from my high school portraying this new attitude, performance, and in a way trend. The part of your essay which changed my mind of looking at it from just a bromance, or a way guys act, to a new way of looking at sexuality is where you stated, “From a Functionalist standpoint, bromance might be considered a device used to quell social anxiety in light of the growing openness of homosexuality in American culture.” I thought that was a very unique way to think of it. I can now understand and look at it from a functionalist’s point of view. Great essay!

    • alexandra garland says:

      Kaitlyn- I can definitely relate to you when you say that boys from your high school shared a bromance. It definitely is somewhat of an “attitude, or performance” that these boys put on! I can see how a bromance is two boys who enjoy each others company, and share like interests. However, I still dont understand why its a “bromance”… I just feel like that term really implies love and more than a friendship…

  10. Nick Brownson says:

    To respond to Joseph DeMoor’s remark regarding whether or not there is really a ‘need’ for the term bromance, I think Cameron answers that question quite plainly in the introduction, stating that “bromance is little more than what has commonly been described as a memorable friendship in modern American society; you share a bromance with what would have classically been called your best friend.” If there’s no homophobia among your friends, then I don’t see the point in using the term in the first place.

    In general, I think the paper suggests that term ‘Bromance’ may have been coined to quell social anxiety regarding homosexuality in heterosexual relationships — and thus would be considered somewhat homophobic — but as it has become more popular it doesn’t necessarily deem every single person that uses the term a homophobe. From what I can take from the paper, Cameron seems to suggest that non-homophobes who consider themselves to be a part of a bromance are essentially using the term superfluously, since Cameron defines a bromance as “little more than a memorable friendship” — or a “best-friendship” so to speak.

  11. Sarah Zall says:

    I think it’s important to take the idea of Bromance out of the American context. In many Middle Eastern societies it is normal for men to hold hands and kiss without any implication of homosexuality. Though I am just speculating, I doubt there is a specific term for this in Middle Eastern cultures as it as seen as normal behavior. In American culture it seems that we feel the need to create a distinction between homosexual and heterosexual behavior. A male must explicitly define themselves as heterosexual if they are going to engage in any close friendship with another male. We seem to be afraid that any inference to homosexuality will label us as such and need to define ourselves otherwise in order to avoid any misunderstandings. I think that the fact the term is used in the first place implies an underlying fear and discomfort with homosexuality. Although men feel more comfortable showing an outward display of their emotions, deeming it “bromance” only leads to further separation between gay and straight men. Is it not possible for a gay man to love his male friend in a way that is not related to sex, just like a “bromance”? Will American men ever feel comfortable expressing themselves like Middle Eastern men do without being afraid of being labeled gay? I believe that creating a label only perpetuates negative American attitudes towards homosexuality by separating “normal” straight love from abnormal gay love.

    • Veronica Vang says:

      I agree with you on how you say that “Bromance” creates “a label to only perpetuate negative American attitudes towards homosexuality by separating “normal” straight love from abnormal gay love.” In addition, I think it also acts as an excuse for some men who have “bromance” relationship to say that it’s not gay love but straight male to male love- excusing their feelings and thoughts of gay men.

    • Logan Lynch says:

      I really like the fact that you brought up the Middle Eastern men that hold hands and hug and kiss on a regular basis without it ever being considered “gay”. The problem with that is that in the Middle Eastern, there is a huge anti- gay and homophobic movement going on, to the point that homosexual acts are punishable by death according to many nations laws. What’s interesting is that a culture where homosexuality is the worst sin on the planet is so receptive of straight men doing such intimate things with each other that stop just before sex, but a culture where homosexual sex is “acceptable” (compared to the Middle East) views these straight male to male relationships as needing to be specifically defined as anything but homosexual. Another thing that I’ve noticed from my time in the Middle East is that, unlike American culture, they are also very receptive of effeminate men, a trait that is not explicitly homosexual, as long as they never have sex with men.

  12. Irina Vagner says:

    It’s true that this phenomenon is common not just to American culture. I believe Plato was the first one to talk about it – that’s why we call it Platonic love. He said that the best friendship you could find is men to men friendship. Women get jealous with each other, start fighting. And the friendship between a man and a woman can only produce children, and more work.
    My point is that bromance is not a brand new thing. The other question is how you consider it. Truly it is quite fascinating that man had make up a new term to prove that such relationships are legitimate, and should not to be considered gay. Is it because most of the American society against homosexuality? I believe so. Someone brought up a good idea that women do not have to make up new words to describe their their deeply care about each other. Can it be connected to the dominant religion in American Society? As far as I know the Bible talks about men sleeping with other men, but not women… just thinking…

  13. danieltpeterson says:

    I don’t know if the term bromance is necessarily calming down the idea of homophobia. As stated above platonic friendships between males has existed for a long while and somewhere along the path of history homophobia has developed and is still seen today. Yes it is true that homosexuals are perhaps more accepted than they have been in the more recent history but I do not think that bromance is doing much of anything to stop homophobia. Instead I think it is distinguishing a more heterosexual or platonic love from a homosexual, intimate love. I think you explain this heterosexual love well as “love, caring, and camaraderie” but I’d like to think that as a maturing society who is quelling the idea of homophobia, we are also mature enough to understand that the love homosexual males may share for each other is different than the love heterosexual males may share.

  14. Kelsey Robb says:

    I thought this essay was very creative and interesting. I was wondering, since it was said in the essay that a Boasian anthropologist might say that bromance was diffused from some other culture to the American culture, if it was also diffused to other places around the world? I’m sure Bromance is a widely accepted idea, but I think it would cause a lot of controversy in some parts of the world. I think it even causes some controversy here in America. I do, however, think that many people have adopted the term “bromance” and use it to describe their friendships.

    • kellyloud says:

      Kelsey, I have to disagree. Even in the situation that we are the only country that calls it a “bromance,” male friendship over the globe is often a lot tighter that it is here. In several places across the world it is more than acceptable for two male friends to walk down the street holding hands, or to embrace with a hug or (God forbid!) a kiss upon greeting one another. Don’t get me wrong, there is no way that this carries universally, I’m sure that places much more influenced by the concept of machismo are much less open to the concept of public male friendship, but I think that Cameron has a good point. Bromance probably didn’t originate here.

  15. Rebecca Powell says:

    I think that’s an interesting question, to wonder what “bromance” might look like in other cultures, or if it even exists. Recently in the news, there has been a very controversial case of the murder of a Saudi prince’s servant. Although the details of the case are all foggy, the gist is that the prince most likely cannot return to Saudi Arabia due to the exposing of his homosexual relationship with his servant, and not because he has been convicted of murder.
    In many cultures, including our own, I think that the line between a “bromance” and a homosexual relationship is often hard for people to find. It seems to me that if people could continue to accept things like “bromance,” that they would become more open-minded.
    The word “bromance,” I think, has made it easy for many of us to accept the idea of a close male friendship, much like the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis states. Perhaps we need to define other relationships with similarly new and positive words.

    • Andrew Matthews says:

      The term “bro” has a distinct connotation that has only recently been used in our generation. Not pertaining to a biological relationship, “bro” has rapidly been incorporated into the slang of young Americans as a form of friendship. In many families brothers have been seen to develop a very strong bond with each other. The meaning behind calling a friend a “bro” has been seen in cases where two male individuals feel comfortable or close enough to do so. Fraternities designate their members as brothers when they pledge, in order to implement a feeling of comradery. Another example would be lacrosse teams that have the stereotypical attributes of a “lax bro”. In general when people observe two men acting in a more than friendly manner they immediately assume they are gay. It would be interesting to see how critiques of homosexuality contrast an example of “bromantic love” to an example of a gay relationship.

  16. Everett Warner says:

    I agree with Rebecca in that the term “bromance” has made it easier to accept close relationships between men. Some men get irritated when their friendship with another male is labeled as a “bromance” and I think this shows a sense of discomfort and disgust from their part. Most men, however, are completely comfortable with their relationship being called a “bromance” and some even use the term on themselves. This shows an acceptance to homosexuality, while they themselves may not be a homosexual they are comfortable with themselves and do not feel threatened with this term. And, as far as I can tell, this is how most men have treated the term, with acceptance. I also noticed a connection here between something that I’m sure many people notice, which is the commonality of men in sporting events to pat other men on the butt. This is and has been accepted by most of the population and shows a kind of comfortability around the topic of homosexuality. It isn’t brought up here even though the connection would be easy to make. Male relationships are accepted in our society and this shown through the continued use of the term “bromance” and butt patting in sporting events.

  17. Elizabeth Myers says:

    I found your article really interesting because when I think of the word “bromance” without our cultural context I would have assumed it meant brotherly love. For example two brothers (siblings) not metaphorical brothers (friends). But the word does suggest that you “love” this friend as much as a brother. So now instead of being just friends with someone you can be in a bromance with them. I think this shows how much of family we in America consider our friends. Where in some cultures it is all about who you are related to, we are moving toward creating our own families out of the people we love no matter whether or not we share the same genes.

  18. Kaitlyn Clure says:

    Elizabeth Myers-
    I thought what you brought up about two brothers (siblings) not metaphorical brothers (friends) was interesting. I have always thought of it as friends, because it was always used in that context, and never thought to look at it from an actual related brother’s standpoint. I also thought it was interesting how you said we are moving toward creating our own families out of the people we love no matter whether or not we share the same genes. This reminded me of when Professor Carol was talking about all the different types of relationships you can have within the family, like patrilocal, matrilocal, etc.

  19. Kelcy Schamehorn says:

    i also found this essay very interesting because before reading about “bromance” i always thought that Americans put more of a negative connotation to the term because of certain hoophobic beliefs in our society. i am very fond of the idea that our country is finally becoming more accepting towards more, i guess as you call it, “romantic” ways of showing your love for another male friend. growing up i always wondered what it was like for boys to call someone their “best friend” without ever being able to really engage in any physical contact or outwardly expressing how much they care for the other person. the idea that two males can have these bromances in American society is indeed a relatively new concept but i agree with you on how our society is both pulling away and towards this idea of male bonding.

  20. Halle Bennett says:

    I find that bromance is a struggle against the decline in friendship seen in the United States. We are a country that values distance in relationships- we shake hands upon meeting someone and kissing is only reserved for family and sexual relationships. As a country there has been a decline in the average number of friends from 4 to 2 and dependence on the family and spouse as a confidant has increased 23%. A lot of people contribute this to a rise in the fear of being labelled as homosexual. Henning Bech said that, “the more we have to assure ourselves that one’s relationship to another man is not homosexual the more conscious one becomes that it might, and we must reassure ourselves that it is not by distancing ourselves.” We are not the only country that values distance but we are the only country that does this out of a fear of being labelled as homosexual. For example, in Russia men embrace, walk hand in hand, and even kiss their male friends without being labelled as homosexual. It’s a testament to how close their relationship is- a show of the trust, support, loyalty, and intimacy that makes a relationship (both platonic and romantic). This is homosocial- a relationship between those of the same sex but not of a sexual or romantic nature- not homosexual. However the U.S. would see this kind of interaction as homosexual and the fear of being labelled as such would prohibit such interactions between male friends. Bromance is simply a way to get around the label and develop stable and intimate homosocial relationships.

  21. S. Kell says:

    I really enjoyed reading this essay. I thought that you brought up great points and put the term “bromance” in a light that I never would have thought of before. I think your point using “bromance” to adress homosexuality comes across very clearly for the reader and your standpoint from Functionalism is very strong. However, your standpoint from Boasian anthropology seems a bit vague to me. It could be because I felt your paragraph on Fuctionalism was so strong, but I just felt like there weren’t quite enough details to really show the Boasian anthropologist’s point of view. I like at the end bringing up the idea of modern male friendship and how our perspective has changed on the idea because I think that recently our ideas have changed a lot, and your essay opens up the reader’s eyes to that, while also addressing the two theoretical approaches. Overall, I thought your paper was great!

  22. Lyndsi Wisdom says:

    I find your article incredibly compelling, in the mere fact that you define bromance as a way to excuse an extremely close friendship between two men, but you make it clear that it is not a “homosexual” relationship. I find this interesting, because it seem very clear in our society that being homosexual (at least if you’re a male) is a bad thing; that it goes against religion, marriage, procreation, etc. Although these are substantial arguments, what I want to know, is what makes it more okay for two females to be involved in homosexual relationship, but not two males? And why is it required in our society that we come up with an explanation to “excuse” the behavior behind a “bromance?” A feminist anthropologist may look at this and say that because men are deemed the dominant sex, a man with another man, makes them less… manly? Yet, a woman with another woman makes them more manly? There is a social stigma behind homosexual behavior and it requires that we excuse and come up with any other explanation behind our love for another friend.

  23. Adam Sammakia says:

    I think Brenda Camenga hit the nail on the head when she said that males in this culture need to “excuse” their close relationships with other men. In this regard I think a label such as bromance is the product of a culture obsessed and discomforted with homosexuality. If two men are very close, they need others to know they are in a platonic relationship. The function of this term then, is to emphasize that one is not homosexual. In this way I do not see it a “step in the right direction” regarding our culture’s notions of homosexuality.

  24. Landon Shumaker says:

    Very well written and insightful. The paragraphs about the theories are factual and also to the point by using examples and personal ideas. The short part about Boasian theory seems to me to be the best method of discovering why America has fallen for “Bromance.” It appears to me that America borrowed ideas on male friendships from Europe, where they are more liberal and outgoing. This idea is an exact example of diffusion, created by Boas. Overall this essay was very interesting.

  25. Rachel Nussbaum says:

    I found this essay very interesting. I have never really thought about where the term “bromance” came from and why it became so popular until I read this essay. I am currently taking a philosophy and women class and I could not help but link this essay to what I have learned in class. For most of history, the role of a man has been to provide for the family and the role of the woman has been to take care of the family. However, in our more modern times, the roles of men and women in society are not as clearly defined. Therefore, terms like bromance start to appear and help define the new roles existing for men and women. I think it would be interesting to look at this bromance phenomenon in terms of race and ethnicity and see where it is the most prominent. Overall, this essay was very well written and I throughly enjoyed reading it.

  26. Amy Austin says:

    As like a few of my peers, the theoretical approach that first came to mind after reading this essay is that of Feminist Anthropology. I find it interesting that there does not exist in an equal term describing the heterosexual relationship between two girls in the colloquial English language of American teens and young adults. A few observations initially come to mind as to why there is no “girl-mance”.

    In American society today, I have noticed that much of the debate around gay marriage and gay rights issues is directed significantly towards issues experienced by gay males. I have noticed that even the term “homosexuality” is used most commonly to refer to males. Why is this? Could it be true that males are more often “homophobic” than females and therefore it is more important to identify the relationship as purely heterosexual? But if this is indeed just a stereotype, why would it arise and why would it persist? A feminist anthropologist would look at how these cultural constructions of gender produce certain characteristics within society. Is is less taboo for women to be homosexual than males and therefore there is less need to identify the relationship as purely a heterosexual friendship?

    Or is it indeed true that there does exist an equal label used in close female-to-female friendships? I’m interested to hear why my peers think…

    • biscayeg (Gabrielle Biscaye) says:

      WHY is it that the terms for homosexuals, such as gay, are usually used by heterosexuals in reference to male-male relationships rather than female-female, when many women think these terms define them. Is it perhaps because the main anti-gay rhetoric comes from Biblical references (in Leviticus, I think), that two men shall not lie with each other as one lies with a woman? (another reference is in the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomora) Is it okay then, for two women to lie together? Is there a direct rejection of female homosexuality in the Bible as there is of men? What do gay-protestors use to deny the rights of females as well as males?
      I would agree with the post above me in thinking that close (and VERY close, at that) female relationships are far less taboo than male ones? Many women “friends” do sleep together, cuddle, touch, and even kiss in ways many would categorize as homosexual? As close as male friends are in “bromances”, they are no where near the closeness of females. Perhaps the myth is true, every woman IS a little bisexual, and does love her true woman friends as much as her male-partner… (this makes me think of the book The Color Purple, which describes the close female friendship between two women, one of which who teaches the other to masturbate). Then again, in a lot of cultures, men do do these type of “activities” and even “favors” for each other… Hmm. This dichotomy gives us lots to think about but I’ve already written a book.
      One more thought:a lot of people divide the words “gay” for men and “lesbian” for women when in fact lesbians/women are gay….however, men cannot be gay… (I think) Is gay the right word to use for men, then? How did this word come up at all? perhaps a linguistic anthropologist could do some research into that.

      • Tess Porter says:

        According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, the origin of “gay” being used to refer to homosexuals is a little uncertain. In 1933, the “Underworld & Prison Slang” Dictionary listed “gey cat” as a word for a homosexual male (gey being the Scottish spelling of gay). In the 1890s, gey cat was used in America to refer to a young tramp who often traveled with an older tramp. The usage of this term had a homosexual connotation. During that time period as well, Brothels were referred to as Gay Houses. So even at this point in time, gay had a earned a promiscuous connotation. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that the word was widely known as meaning “homosexual”.

        Gay originally meant bright, merry, showy, and carefree. It seems over time this word became sexualized and the definition changed to mean carefree sexual expression. Perhaps this eventually came to include homosexuality because, in American culture at least, homosexuality wasn’t considered a common form of sexual expression.

    • Sappho L. Mea says:

      Thanks for pointing to this question, Amy. The absence of any well-known female equivalent for the term “bromance” is very significant. Female-to-female demonstrations of friendly tenderness seem to be way more self-evident than male-to-male. Isn’t this linked to the historical invisibility of female homosexual / homosocial behaviors (the limit is not always easy to draw – what makes a lesbian a lesbian?)? Many scholars – historians, philosophers, literary critics or more recently gender studies researchers – have explored this question. Even more recently, porn studies have underlined the absence of representation of lesbian sexuality in pornography, at least independently from heteronormative frameworks.

      Although this question is certainly highly complex, one possible explanation of lesbians’ (or lesbian sexual relationships’) invisibility may be found in the historical confinement of women into the private sphere… Traditionally in the Western world, until the Victorian period when bodies (both female and male) began to be highly regulated by a set of religious and medical discourses, female (sexual) behaviors were somehow considered as a private issue and, as a consequence, did not matter as much as male’s.

      It appears as a cultural generality that male homosexuality is much more subversive that lesbianism; in many countries where homosexual practices are coerced, it is specifically “sodomy” that is mentioned as a crime. Thus, if some feminists have justifiably criticized the lack of representation of female homosexuality, we still have to admit that this phenomenon has resulted in the comparably lesser stigmatization of lesbian relationships.

    • Bryan Daino says:

      I agree a lot on what Amy said, I think that men are a lot more “homophobic” then woman just because their scared that others might think there gay, so there worried about there reputations. I think that almost all societies have “bromances” because in reality its a group of best friends that spend all there time with each other. I feel like its been around for a long time, but in recent years people started to label it as something. In pop culture you see magazines publishing photos of “bromance” in celebrities life when their just hanging out together in public. Should people not hangout with one another in public, so they don’t get labeled?

  27. Parker Robbins says:

    I would agree with Amy that this topic would be analyzed by feminist anthropologists. I would say that in contemporary American society, it is seen as worse to be a homosexual male than a homosexual female. The term bromance I believe is basically taking the easy way out of having to describe an intimate non-sexual relationship with another man. Men are worried about being seen as gay simply because they are spending a lot of time with another man. Females generally have intimate relationships with other females, and this is accepted for the most part in our society, however, two males taking “best friends” to the next level is frowned upon. The term bromance adds humor to the equation and makes two males having a straight yet intimate relationship more acceptable.

  28. Joseph DeMoor says:

    I am writing to the above comment mostly. I agree that being male and homosexual would be tougher, it seems like homosexual females are in a sense “desired”. Or I have heard a saying, every girl in college is bi-sexual. This seems pretty absurd but it is a stereotype that if a girl was at a party and kissed another girl it would be okay or cool, but if a male did this people would probably be grossed out.

  29. Jessie Kronke says:

    Another possible explanation for this taking from the Boasian idea that environment influences cultural differences could be the ways in which males of this generation were raised. This generations population were parented mainly by mothers and fathers who were a part of the cultural revolutions of the 60s and 70s, wherein equality between sexes was largely fought for. Taking from their experiences in trying to make a level playing field for men and women, the parents of today’s young people could have raised their sons to be more expressive than past generations, placing less emphasis on being macho or stoic, being a typical guy’s guy and instead encouraging more emotional expression.

  30. Allison Metzger says:

    Cameron, I thoroughly enjoyed your essay and it caused me to pause and think about this social phenomenon. I think the concept of “bromance” has been overlooked in the past, and this essay really made me think about the underlying reasons of why this is taking place.
    I am not sure that I agree with your statement about “bromance” quelling homophobia. A few others have commented on this statement as well, saying that it does quite the opposite. I have found that “bromance” is more so a way of distinguishing between a platonic male friendship, and a more intimate relationship. It seems as though men use this term as a way of projecting to the public that they are in fact not homosexual, and are merely showing their brotherly love for one another in a completely non sexual way. I think that “bromance” is a term created for the purpose of finding a way to have male closeness, without being labeled as a homosexual.
    I do however strongly agree with your example of cultural diffusion. In many cultures around the world, male closeness is more widely accepted than here in the United States. In France, men are open about greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek, and in many cultures men holding hands and hugging are not viewed as abnormal. The United States has always been more conservative when it comes to greetings and interactions with people outside of the family. One might say we are rather stern in our day-to-day interplay with one another. We do not greet each other with kisses on the cheek, but rather firmly shake hands. It is realistic to assume that this new emergence of “bromance” is a social phenomenon that has spread from places around the world to the United States.

    • Sappho L. Mea says:

      Allison, I find it really interesting that you linked “bromance” to the practices of greeting, since both have pretty much to do with the process of self-(re)presentation: in my way of “saying hi”, what image, messages and signals do I give of myself to the person I’m confronted with, and to the people around me? Just like greeting, I think that practices involved in “bromances” have a certain degree of performance in it, and serve as a vehicle of meaning.
      In the high school I went to in France, I had links with two separate peer groups, who observed one another from afar. Their different greeting practices were very different: while members of the first group shaked hands or slapped each other’s backs in a highly virile manner, member of the second circle kissed on each other’s cheeks or, on their good days, languorously French-kissed, not without watching out for outside reactions. These expressions of “microculture” dynamics would be, I’m sure, fascinating for a symbolic anthropologist.

  31. Molly Small says:

    I think the two views taken on about bromance are great, and bromance really is a true new form of love specific to our genertaion (I can safely say this because when I tried talking to my dad about it he was completly oblivious as to what I was talking about). We began to look at the practice theory today in class and I feel bromance in a sense transends practice theory. Practice theory looks specifically at the ideas of structure and agency. Agency looks at action, resistence and accomodation. It helps anthropologists see how our ability to make choices is (or is not) constrained by social structures. I find that males in bromantic love situations are able to look past cultural constraints in order to go about having their romance. It could also be seen that our culture does not have th same constraints it used to have, hence allowing for bromantic love. They are able to express their love openly and not have to hide their feelings. It shows that our society is not static, but always changing (as something like this may not have been as acceptable to my fathers generation).

    • Andrew Matthews says:

      Being gay is a term that straight men don’t like to be called, yet many throw it around as if it weren’t offensive. I agree with Molly in the sense that our generation has crafted “bromance” and has made this form of love possible amongst our society. If one were to observe the amount of gay criticism used by students in a high school setting, they would be shocked to hear how many times “fag” and “homo” came up. At young ages boys tend to hang out with other boys and vice versa. As time goes on and individuals go through puberty, sexual tension increases and people typically become attracted to the opposite sex. It is later on in life when people decide how they will sexually orient themselves that confrontation arises among individuals with different interests. Locker room showers are a great example of frequent confrontation with bromantic love, as men crack jokes that may sound homosexual in attempt make light of the situation. I believe that bromance in addition to other unique forms of love will increasingly be seen and understood.

  32. Nathan Scheidehelm says:

    I enjoyed this essay on “bromance” and thought is shed interesting light on the relationship between two heterosexual male friends. One aspect of this type of relationship that I would like to know more about is how “bromance” is shown physically. In American culture, I regularly see two men give each other a hug, or a slap on the hand with a hug following, as well as other physical gestures that symbolize a close friendship, or “bromance.” Professor McGranahan spoke about male to male heterosexual friendship in Tibet, and how two men walking down the street holding hands would symbolize friendship, where in the U.S., one might construe that gesture as a symbol of homosexuality. Looking at this type of relationship through a symbolic anthropological approach would be very interesting, and would undoubtedly show how different cultures around the world express a close friendship in terms of physical gestures towards one another.

  33. Jacki Altman says:

    This was a great essay! It made me think about the “Hugging” article in Kotak’s book about teens becoming more touchy and how hugs are cultural communicative device. I agree with many of the above comments in that the term “bromance” was coined in fear of an affectionate male friendship being mistaken for homosexuality. I think that “bromances” have been around for a long time and just recently it has been okay for males to actually show their strong friendships because of this new category. I agree with Sarah Z. above who mentioned male friendship in the Middle East and how hugging and kissing between men is normal. In other cultures, because women and men may be culturally segregated, such as women may not be able to participate in religious rituals, men may grow closer together and wish to express their feelings in ways that exude friendship.

  34. Catherine Molnar says:

    The ideas in this essay are unbelievably creative and unique. I thought that the recognition of the contradiction between the two theories was insightful and it made me think of how a “bromance” actually came to be. I was reading some of the comments and the idea about how this is an effect of Boas’ theory was intriguing. I can definitely see how the changes in how guys are being raised could have an effect on the way males bond with each other in recent times.

    • Andrew Matthews says:

      Many have commented on the fact that being labeled as a gay or lesbian individual has prevented many from exposing their sexual desires. Although it is not a positive term for most men, many in our society have become accustomed to “bromance” and do not see it as degrading. The uncertainty of this unique concept brings up a lot of debate on whether or not it should be accepted. As stated by many anthropologists, the choices that people make may or may be influenced social structures and explains some of the reasons for people acting the way they do.

  35. Wills Christensen says:

    I found this paper interesting because Cameron decided to make the distinction that ‘Bromance’ is not a new type of relationship but more of a re-defining of what it means to be a partner in a friendship or romance. Many people who dislike the term, particularly those called ‘being in a bromance’, would resent the association with their normal friendship with that of a homosexual relationship; but this paper could help those individuals by letting them know that because of societal norms and cultural customs of Modern America (i.e. MTV’s show about finding a new Bro starring Brody Jenner), there is nothing wrong with being in a ‘Bromance’ and should not find anger in the newly coined term. Also, I thought the concluding paragraph summed up your paper well because it noted that these theories are not set in stone, there are similarities between them and the “ambiguity” of each can lead to future interpretation.

  36. Maddie Sweeney says:

    I enjoyed this essay very much and I agree that the close friendship between two men, known as a Bromance, has diffused from other cultures, but I believe that Bromances have mostly spread throughout America due to television, celebrities, and other aspects of entertainment. For example, the movie The Hangover depicts a close bond between four men that people may have not seen before, which could influence the way other men act towards each other. I agree with your argument about Functionalism and Bromances, and I do believe that heterosexual male friendships have been redefined due to the growing acceptance of homosexuality throughout certain cultures.

  37. Sean Butler says:

    I like your idea of bromance being used as a way to create a distinction between homosexuality and heterosexuality, but if this concept is, in fact, a new concept then, couldn’t this bromance be a new form of relationship all together? The feelings associated with bromance may not be new, but the social acceptance of this idea has allowed for new forms of friendship that one would not have seen in the past. I think it is important to understand this concept as a result of a changing environment and mindset of a culture that was once not open to various types of friendship.

  38. Alex Myers says:

    I found this to be my favorite essay. It was very well written and contained an abundance of new ideas about male friendship. I really liked the functionalist standpoints. I find the term “bromance” to be very common and useful in distinguishing between a homosexual couple and a bond of two close friends. It is changing slowly how our culture is changing with society

  39. Ben Perkins says:

    I found this essay to be very interesting and especially relevant to our generation and location. For the most part, I agreed with the first argument on how a functionalists would view the ‘bromance’ phenomenon. Although I believe they would view it as a way to “quell social anxiety about being homosexual”, I question if it actually does, or if it in turn makes those involved in ‘bromance’ more self conscious about the relationship. In my personal experience, those involved in ‘bromances’ use terms such as, “no homo” more often then i hear those not in ‘bromances’. I would like to hear more on if this new concept has sucessfully quelled social anxiety about homosexuality or if it has in turn made those involved feel like they must work harder towards a non homosexual appearance. In regards to the Boasian theory, I would have liked you to expand on the idea of diffusion. I would like to know theories on where the concept of ‘bromance’ originated and how it was diffused into mainstream culture. Could it have possibly come from women’s close relationships, team like behavior in athletics or from some other sub culture?

  40. sam johnson says:

    It is true that a functionalist might say that “bromance might be considered a device used to quell social anxiety in light of the growing openness of homosexuality in American culture.” I would also add that, ironically, bromance can be used for the exact opposite effect of quelling social anxiety. I have seen the term used in a derogatory manner, where it was used to subtly imply (jokingly or not) a homosexual relationship between two male friends who are heterosexual. For a functionalist, the fact that the term bromance can be used for opposite effects only complicates its role in our culture.

  41. Zoe Anderson Edenfield says:

    Cameron, I found this writing on “Bromance” very interesting, in that men need a label such as “bromance” to allow others to view them as loving each other Platonically, while women, who also form very close relationships of Platonic love with other women, need no such label. It would be very interesting to get a Feminist Anthropologist’s point of view on this: why is it more socially acceptable in our society for women to be close to one another and not be labeled homosexual, while men feel they must declare they heterosexuality before they are comfortable showing their love of their friend. It would also be interesting to address the unfortunate taboo that some members of society have for homosexuality, and whether or not referring to a “bromance” furthers this taboo by treating being viewed as homosexual as such an unwanted thing; for example, we don’t see homosexual men hugging women and then saying “No HETERO!”. A Feminist Anthropological study on this would be quite worth reading.

  42. alexandra garland says:

    After reading this essay, I now have an entirely different view of what bromance means. Before reading this essay I thought of bromance to be guys who were obsessive with each other and who basically shared every living moment together. This essay has opened my eyes to the new meaning of bromance as it is now incorporated into the American society. I think you make a very valid point in comparing bromance to boasian anthropology. When Cameron says, “In the case of Bromance, it could be said that growing acceptance of closer relationships between males is a culture trait that has diffused from another, more cosmopolitan, culture area to ours, and that bromance is American culture’s trait complex for it.” I feel he makes a good argument because bromance could very well have been diffused through other cultures and eventually to ours. Good job Cameron!

  43. Tim Baker says:

    Bromance is an intriguing cultural phenomenon which as you describe is a very close relationship between two heterosexual males. I like how you explained this according to a functionalist perspective. As you mentioned, functionalists see all aspects of culture as related to one another so that if one changes so do all the rest. In terms of bromance this change may be the new feeling two males which leads to affects in other areas of culture. Another perspective that would be interesting to interpret this issue would be structural-functionalism which would examine how these new relationships were interpreted in terms of the relation between the individuals. They might even establish a new category of fictive kin for just this situation.

  44. Joe Zimmermann says:

    Cameron- Good job picking a topic that lends itself to the study of cultural anthropology. Your theories seemed well applied. My primary thoughts revolve around what a feminist anthropologist would find in studying the topic. Are women somehow viewed as inferior for being demonstrating their emotions in public? And what would a relationship between girls be (girlfriends?)? What are the cultural stigmas associated with girlfriends? And finally, how can we try to transform our culture so this is more acceptable? What agency can we bring to this dilemma. Thanks for getting the discussion started Cameron

  45. Sappho L. Mea says:

    Reading this essay and its comments, I have been very interested in the debate about whether the coining of the term “romance” is a residue of integrated homophobia or, on the contrary, an anti-homophobic claim made by the new generation. The dilemma illustrates perhaps, in a way, the ambiguity of the American society’s position toward the increasing visibility of homosexuality, both in the public space and in the media. But above all, the debate tells us a lot about the obvious correlation between social reproduction and social transformation.

    On the one hand, we could legitimately see the creation of the term “bromance” as an expression of symbolic “homosexual panic”: it provides a certain comfort in contributing to the categorization and definition of different types of social behaviors (to) which one can clearly identify: because, in a sense, homosexuality has become more threatening as it has lost any easily identifiable shape. In Victorian society, homosexuals were either invisible or stigmatized; but now? Anybody can be “one”! Hence, I think, the need that young people, especially in an age when self-definition is important, feel to clearly determine “where” they are and, to this purpose, to draw conceptual borders, both inclusive and exclusive.

    On the other hand, we can as legitimately suggest that the creation of such new categories as “bromance” allows to widen the scope of possibilities in matters of social interactions (whether they include friendship, love or sexual relationships). So doing, this very structural way of putting social behaviors into well-defined, reassuring, categories may be a small step toward a more post-structuralist, post-modern (“queer” as opposed to “hetero/LGBT”) conception of gender and sexuality, in which categories would finally collapse.

  46. maximus1090 says:

    I admit that I did not have time to read all 68 comment prior to mine before taking some time to consider the notion of bromance for myself, so I apologize if anything that I say is a blatant repeat of anything else that has been stated. After learning about poststructuralism and focusing particularly on the philosophical standpoints of Michel Foucault and Jaques Derrida, I think it is fascinating to look at the notion of bromance as a direct function of a history of social hegemonic institutions in Western society. Foucault discusses the notion of power and hegemony in his “Brief History of Sexuality: Part 1, An Introduction.” In this work, one of the fundamental arguments that he makes is that our sexuality is historically dictated by dominating hegemonic structures in place to maintain social order. Essentially, institutions such as the church and different forms of government exercise power in order to establish themselves as governing structures within society. In doing so, cultural norms such as a hetero normative society develop and result in behavior and action that is contrary to this norm being regarded as essentially a defiance of said power. Jumping ahead a little for the sake of space, when all is said and done, bromance describes nothing more than a natural interaction expressed between two males that is ultimately confined by current hegemonic institutions. Bringing in a little bit of Jaques Derrida, the point at which we can break down societal assumptions about the notion of sexuality (what he calls deconstruction) is the point at which we can begin to forge new institutions that will perhaps establish sexuality outside the terms of heterosexual, homosexual, etc. and even bromantic relationships.

  47. Rob Irvin says:

    This Bromance essay is great. It is very noticeable that homosexuality is a much more open topic in American culture than it was in generations past. This new term Bromance being used for friends who love each other in a non-sexual but emotional way is new and interesting. Is it considerable that the term is used by men to ensure that they are straight, while at the same time opening new doors for heterosexual men to show more emotion. I am also interested in looking at Bromance in a historical context. I realize that the idea of Bromance has been brought to our attention recently through American media. My question is… Is Bromance something that could have been accepted a hundred years ago? a thousand years ago? and can the ideas of Bromance cross cultures? In cultures that don’t evolve around mass media could an idea like this be as accepted?

  48. Elizabeth Myers says:

    In response to Rob, I like how you said it is a way guys can be more affectionate with other guys without being accused of being gay. It is also similar to the way guys use the term, “no homo.” They then can say something complementary to another guy and if they end their comment with no homo, their reinforcing that what they just said does not make them gay. It is kind of like a defense mechanism for guys to do and say what they want to other men without society labeling them as gay.

  49. Amanda Kim says:

    Men have always had guy friends but, until fairly recently, there has been showing affection physically and verbally between two guys might be branded as homosexual. Many years ago, it was okay for men to share their affection for each other, since men would express love to each other in their letters. For example, Abraham Lincoln shared his bed with his good friend. This was considered as not a homosexual act, but today, we viewed it as homosexual and there have been strong belief that Lincoln was a homosexual. They adopted a hyper-sexualized sense of masculinity, which came to exclude the physical and emotional expression of positive feelings towards another man. Now many heterosexual men would not feel comfortable today sharing a bed with another man or going to a French restaurant [known for its intimate environment].

    And just for laughs in regarding about Bromance:

  50. laine smith says:

    I think topic also relates to what we discussed in lecture recently: the common scene of seeing men walking around with arms on each other’s waists or even holding hands in Nepal. I think from an American standpoint, we would be surprised to see that. Those kinds of things just are not common here, and yes, a lot of it has to do with men’s fear of being looked upon as gay or homo. Sometimes in American culture, I see guys be really caring towards one another, but its never in a physical way. There’s not a lot of personal contact with one another, which I think adds a lot to a relationship: a hug here or there is a nice thing to receive or give. Hopefully the term Bromance can start incorporating some loving through physical aspects.

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