The Bro is Still Kicking After All These Years

Katie Kilkenny in PSMag:

MTMwNzc5ODE2MzI3NjgxMjk4In recent years, the bro has been called out for his privilege, for his sexism, his racism, and the rhetorical ubiquity of the term that defines him. It wasn't always this way; around 10 years ago, at least in my middle school, “bro” was the ultimate compliment for the unassured teen boy: “Nice goal, bro” and “sick Air Jordans, bro” were par for the course. Being called “bro” was the linguistic equivalent of convincing your mom to buy you $70 Abercrombie khakis: It conferred group identity, acceptance, and distinction—precisely because it made you so indistinctive.

How times have changed. Nowadays, the bro moniker is more likely to be linked to sexual assault on campuses and in the military than it is casual camaraderie. The bro is contributing to racism on campus and misogyny in country music. He is, according to Vice, the “the worst guy ever.”

In this cultural climate, many industry analysts believed that last week's release of a feature-length Entourage movie was box-office suicide. Entourage, which ran for eight seasons on HBO and capped at an audience high of 8.4 million viewers per episode, was a show about bros, marketed at bros. Its appeal stemmed from the fun it derived from conversations between men, as well as the glamorous Hollywood industry it portrayed—in particular the easy-on-the-eyes vapidity of its disposable female characters. But few television shows have made real money from big-screen adaptations. And Entourage suffered harsh critical backlash in its final season; in Slate, Eric Thurm argued this was due to a shift in television criticism that favored political meaning over entertainment value. At the heart of Entourage's downfall? “Its highly objectionable ethic of bro-ness.” A feature-length elaboration seemed primed for failure.

Read the rest here.