Monday, June 18, 2012

“The Bro Code”

By Megan Coleman
Who just graduated from PSU!

How I met your mother is a guilty pleasure of mine. I would watch just about anything with Neil Patrick Harris in it and this show is no exception yet I consistently find myself cringing at the misogynistic undertones in the show. I’m not even really sure I should be calling them “undertones” because NPH’s character (as well as others in the show), Barney Stinson, makes it very obvious how he feels about women.

Throughout the show all the characters have their ups and downs and redeeming moments just like any other show. It’s definitely not all bad, and they usually show the consequences for the misogyny. How I met your mother even features two rather strong female main characters and although eccentric, they serve as a balance for the hyper masculine energy in the show.

The main thing I want to talk about, however, is “The bro code”. Barney has created a list of rules to which men must obey otherwise lose their “Bromanship”. This is supposed to be some sort of code of conduct for all bros, but the behavior encouraged by the book (especially if you identify as anything other than a “bro”) is far from ideal.

Although it is a made up code by the TV show’s Barney Stinson, they have actually published a book of the code. While at Powell’s I thumbed threw it and some of my favorite passages were,

     “Article 1: Bro’s before ho’s
          The bond between two men is stronger than the bond between a man and a woman because, on average, men are stronger than women. That’s just science.”

     “Article 2:
           If a bro gets a dog, it must be at least as tall as his knee when full-grown.”

     “Article 12:
          Bro’s do not share dessert”

     “Article 16:
          A Bro should be able, at any time, to recite the following reigning champions: Super Bowl, World Series and Playmate of the year.”

There is 60 rules altogether and yes the intention of this book is a satirical but unfortunately there are those in the world that take it seriously. I laugh at the book because the rules seem so absurd to me but the socialization of men and women in our society starts from a very young age. I think that it’s really important for us to be aware what messages we are sending when we laugh at and or encourage gender socialization because either way we are at risk of continuing the stereotypes.

Of course it’s important to have fun and laugh about things, for a lot of us it’s how we process information. I just think it’s important to understand why these things make us laugh. If you want to learn more about the effects of gender socialization there is a great film also called “the bro code” by Thomas Kieth. He explores how gender socialization can effect how we perceive the world. The Men in the Movement Action Team also does a great discussion and screening of this documentary. It’s a great film and I would highly recommend it to both men and women.

You can see the full code at:

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