Apr. 24th, 2013 07:52 pm
shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Shrew)
[personal profile] shallowness
So, I came across someone using bromance as a descriptor for a fic featuring a man and a woman some days ago. My initial response was REALLY!? Then felt I needed to write out why I found it problematic, and while I wait for my food to be ready, I might as well share it.

For me, the term ‘bromance’ has connotations – two men, bros (it is a gendered term, with the ever present echo of bros before hos, where brothers are real people and the rest are prostitutes, not their equals). I mainly associate it with films where two (chiefly white) male faces have equal billing, a buddy movie gone large, where the love story (but not like that) is theirs, where the central relationship is theirs and where the women (who aren’t necessarily hos, because these are enlightened bros in the early twenty first century, usually played by comic actors trading on smug) are pushed to the margins, with one dimension (after all, the main reason for their presence is to prove that it’s not a romance in that sense). I am tired of seeing women pushed out there, of watching boy-men find themselves funny for boys and other boy-men to find funny.

I can see why that dynamic, which is based on buddy films, on (traditionally mainly male) partnerships solving crimes/fighting aliens and monsters/against the world appeals. But I don’t think that using bromance when one of those partners is female is apt. Or appropriate. Call it a partnership! Think about what you’re really saying when you’re calling that female character a ‘bro’. Wow, she’s got into the inner circle of bro-dom, she’s so cool, she’s a dude, because you don’t want to be a ‘sis’ (short for sister and I can think of at least one other word). She counts, she’s in the in crowd, the family, the ones who come first, before the ‘hos’. To me, that smacks of misogyny.

By the way, I’m not thinking of the science bros here, I enjoyed Tony and Bruce’s interaction fine in the Avengers (where it was one of many interactions to enjoy), although in fic, I prefer it when Jane gets to play at science too. I appreciate that that may not be what everyone wants to write, although why not, there’s no budget or availability to worry about when writing, just imagination and inclination. And in further qualification, I’m thinking of ensemble gen fic or fic concentrating on other characters/pairings.

Other things that annoy me: that on my new copy of Total Film there’s a picture of Natasha above the title Avengers 2 (that isn’t the annoying part per se) and a drawing of Ant-Man. Why is there a move about Ant-Man, but not a Black Widow standalone?

One day, eh?

And the following adverts annoy me too:

The Galaxy computer re-animation of Audrey Hepburn. A good example of the maxim ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.’

The new Coke Zero adverts. It makes me think ‘FRAUD’ and want to make horsemeat jokes. I didn’t like the old Coke Zero adverts either. Or Lynx ones.

Oh, and I loathe the retooled ‘I just want to make love to you’ Diet Coke ads also. I’ve reached the point where I hope the objectified male goes and finds those annoying women’s car(s) and causes some irritating damage to them.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-04-24 07:47 pm (UTC)
lo_rez: cropped headshot of La Chola from TSCC, no text (La Chola TSCC)
From: [personal profile] lo_rez
...watching boy-men find themselves funny for boys and other boy-men to find funny.

Cosigned. I've reached the point where I won't watch anything that relies on the buddy/bromance dynamic. And if at least one of the two main characters is a woman, it's definitely not a "bromance" for all of the reasons you state.

What's more, defining the deep affection and mutual dependence between partners as the purview of men reinforces the stupid "Women = Sex trope that's ruined so many otherwise promising stories.

In fact, the entertainment industry's adoption of the term "bromance" is, to my mind, a convenient sort of end run around the requirement (heternormatively speaking) for some kind of female presence in order to include a sexual/romantic element in the story.

Sex/romance is good! But women are annoying! Bromance preserves the one by leaning more and more heavily on what's coyly known as "subtext" and neatly discards the other without ever having to cross the line into (male) homosexual relationships.

See also: brogrammer.

Shorter: What You Said


(no subject)

Date: 2013-04-24 10:00 pm (UTC)
ciaan: (it ought to be)
From: [personal profile] ciaan
Agreed. I like stories where men and women are friends, real actual important friends, with nothing sexual in the relationship, but calling that a bromance is... ugh. Ignoring the woman in so many nasty ways.


shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)

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