Thursday, 24 June 2010

The New Bromantics

I've discovered a new word that I hate!

It's "Bromance" defined in Urban Dictionary as: "Describ[ing] the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males."

The word itself might not be in the OED, but the concept it embodies is not as neologous (sp?) as the term. Male/male friendships, with that degree of intimacy, have only recently (I'd guess around the late 1890s...) fallen out of fashion. I'd need to consult someone who actually knows more about Queer theory than me to be sure. But just to take one example, there are quite a few M/M friendships depicted in Shakespeare which later productions have chosen to depict as homosexual (Sebastian/Antonio, Romeo/Mercutio, Antonio/Bassanio) despite one of the two men later going off and getting married. Not that I'm saying such an interpretation is wrong - I think it's just as valid as any other - but I see such pairings as being more akin to today's "Bromances". At any rate, the concept has been around forever.

This is not, I wish to point out, that I deplore the concept - quite the opposite - I think it's great, and if we can start expanding the definition of masculinity to include the ability to be intimate, to show emotion rather than bottle it up, and to consider and rely on other people, rather than having to stand as an island on your own all the time, then so much the better.

But do we have to call it a "bromance"?

Do we have to call it anything, in fact? Because giving such friendships a special name - one that specifically conjures up romance, only to shut it down - betrays such latent homophobia it's unbelievable. It's suggesting that men can only ever be close to someone if they are sexually attracted to them (the male/female version of which is also popular - When Harry Met Sally, anyone?) which is firstly rubbish, and secondly it's saying that such a sexual relationship between two men is so wrong that people have to distance themselves from even the possibility that their own close M/M relationship could be percieved as such, by using this inelegant little neologism.


In other news!

Australia has a new PM :)

And despite the title, the media actually seem to want to talk about her politics rather than her gender. Which makes me a very happy person.

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