Close Friendships Between Men Are Not A New Idea

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Donald Athnos WRTG 3020-003 September 3, 2015 Bromance Close friendships between men are not a new idea. Aristotle describes the perfect friendship as “...the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue… their friendship lasts as long as they are good--and goodness is an enduring thing” (Brown 145). Even today, many scholars consider friendships between men to be deep and lasting. Some psychologists advocate for boys’ needs to develop and experience intimate relationships (Hoffman). Today, there are ‘bromances’ which are often portrayed in films and television shows. The cultural influence of these relationships has spread as various media coverage uses the term to describe pairings of men from Bert and Ernie to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. To give an idea of how culturally pervasive the idea of the bromance is today, the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as an “Intimate and affectionate friendship between men; a relationship between two men which is characterized by this.” However, this definition takes a slightly different stance than Merriam-Webster, which defines bromance as simply “a close nonsexual friendship between men.” Unsurprisingly, Urban Dictionary adds yet another twist to the definition: “Bromance: describes the complicated love and affection shared by two straight males.” By providing distinct interpretations of the word ‘bromance,’ society has given status and acceptability to the term. Collectively, the definitions provide the framework for a bromance. Gender and sexuality are key factors in the relationship, as only heterosexual males can have a bromance. There is also the requirement of intimacy. The definitions use terms such as “close,” “love,” and “affection” to depict this aspect of the relati... ... middle of paper ... ...tality that still exists today. “If masculinity is a display… it is also vulnerable to being revealed as false; if it can be worn, it can also be stripped away, demonstrating the tenuousness of masculinity” (Boudreau 38). The display of the heterosexual man is the central figure in today’s cultural constructs, and the fluidity of this construct allows for changes to be made. Michael Kimmel explains that this shifting “...should not be understood as a loss, that something is being taken away from men. In fact, this give us something extraordinarily valuable--agency, the capacity to act...” (74) and move away from stereotypes. A man is far more complex and extraordinary than the limitations imposed by society, whether strong or weak, coarse or refined, straight or gay. The issue then moves beyond the idea of whether a man is good or bad, but how he functions in society.

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