A college student I know is of late enthralled with The Bro Code. It’s a website and a book by the fictional Barney Stinson of the TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” But to hear my collegian friend speak of it, The Bro Code is a movement, a way of being that demands complete obedience.
“A Bro will answer the phone call of another bro at any time of day for any reason.”
“A Bro never tickles another bro.”
“If a Bro gets a dog, it must be at least as tall as his knee when fully grown.”
The Bro Code’s appeal to my friend feels like more than entertainment, and I expect that is true of most of the adolescent and post-adolescent guys who claim The Bro Code for themselves and who quote it over beers as a definitive moral guide.
That’s troubling to me, because The Bro code is 184 tenets of sexist, homophobic, fraternity-fueled stupidity. Its vision of masculinity is exceedingly shallow. It’s center of gravity is the responsibilities A Bro owes to his fellow Bros to help (or at least not hinder) them getting laid.
“Bros only comment on fellow a bellow bro’s fashion choice if that choice will affect the bro’s ability to get laid.”
“A bro may only ever stop another bro from hooking up with a girl if, and only if, he is 100% sure that said girl is in fact a dude.”
“A bro does not cock-block another bro for any reason.”
That this is the bar for masculine identity and performance that young men today might aspire to is utterly depressing.
I think my friend could see the disappointment in my face as he recited these maxims. Confused, he said, “What?”
“You are so much more than a bro,” is all I could tell him.
Please God let’s give the young men in our youth groups, churches, schools, and families a bigger, more daring vision of what it means to be a significant human being in the world than The Bro Code.