Saturday, January 29, 2011

Violence in Broetry

My friends and I read BrosLikeThisSite (  When you google it, the first sentence that comes up is "Sure you've drank enough to kill a 13-year-old girl, but it's only like 11 o'clock.  You're not f*cking passing out now."  This is a very accurate representation of BrosLikeThisSite: excessive drinking and aggression towards women constitute every post on this highly successful website.  The creator NedsYoungerBrother satirizes the typical college bro's objectification of women.  He refers to them as slampieces, sluts, and sorostitutes, maintaining that they only exist to be "slayed".  He writes about the plight of the bro in a bro-hating society that preaches absurd values such as respecting women, having a real job, and not being violently destructive while hammered every night.  

While bro culture doesn't condone real violence towards women, it certainly implies it.  After all, the very word "slay" means to kill violently.  Take the piece Calling Girls Sluts on BrosLikeThisSite: "Bros dig power, and to be honest there is nothing more empowering than calling girls sluts. Honestly, does it get any better than cruising the streets with your bros and constantly saying, “Oh, look at these f*cking sluts!” every time you pass by a group of girls. Answer: No, it doesn’t."  Apparently, degrading women is the ultimate sign of power in Bro World.  

My friends and I regard BroBible, BrosLikeThisSite, and TotalFratMove with equal parts horror and fascination.  They're funny enough to keep popping up on my Facebook newsfeed, but there has to be an element of truth in how women are perceived.  The possibility of this truth is deeply worrying.  Directly falling under the category of "sorostitute" or "whorority girl", we are objectified and denigrated to nameless things that bros slay at mixers.  On TotalFratMove, sorority girls have begun to post TSMs about their slavish obedience to frat boys with trust funds.  These websites are meant to be strongly ironic, but they cross the line from satire to reality when girls use these demeaning terms on themselves.  By employing this vocabulary without any intent of reclaiming these terms, girls are enacting this violence on themselves.  


  1. When I read stuff like BrosLikeThisSite, as a guy, I feel pity rather than horror or fascination. Although no guys actually write this stuff completely seriously, it does reveal at least some type of minimum level of misogyny to make this kind of website and post updates on it.

    "Bros dig power, and to be honest there is nothing more empowering than calling girls sluts. Honestly, does it get any better than cruising the streets with your bros and constantly saying, “Oh, look at these f*cking sluts!” I can definitely see how a girl can read something like that and be horrified and think that these guys are empowered by this kind of behavior. From personal experience from knowing guys who think like this, I can tell you that nothing can be further from the truth. This way of thinking definitely comes from a place of insecurity of women, since it's so much easier to dismiss women as sluts rather than deal with the possibility of rejection from them. I really believe that behind every misogynist is a history of bad experiences with women or maybe a bad relationship with their mother from childhood.

    I like what Camille Paglia had to say about this misogynistic and borderline violent way of thinking in one of her interviews (the entire interview can be found here

    "I had an epiphany in a shopping mall recently that put it all in perspective. I was having a piece of pizza and I saw all these teenage boys running around in the mall. They were wild. I looked at them and saw this desperation. When I was their age I hated those kinds of boys because they were so obnoxious. They are so involved in their status, gaining it, afraid of losing it. I'm glad I don't have to be that age again. So they sat down near me and they didn't notice me. I didn't exist on their radar map. I was thinking, This is great. I was watching. They were full of energy and life. And I suddenly realized, My God, the reason they are so loud, the reason they are so uncontrolled, the reason I hated them at that age is that they bond with each other against women. It was the first time they were able to be away from the control of a woman--their mothers. They were on their own and for this period they're very dangerous. Women have to watch out when they go to fraternity parties, because the men are all trying to up their status among one another and there is all this testosterone. And then some girl will snag them. And that's it. It's over for them. They get married and they're under the control of their wives forever. You hear these women all the time, on, like, Ricki Lake, saying, "You know, I have two children, but actually I have three children" about the husband, and it's true: The husband becomes a child again. Even when men are doing their share, taking out the garbage, doing the mopping, whatever, women are still running the household. They are in control and the men become subordinate again. So that's what the feminists are so worried about? Men who are subordinated by their mothers and then by their wives? Men are looking for maternal solace in women, and that's the nature of heterosexuality. Now you tell me, who really has all the power?"

  2. Camille Paglia!! Somehow she entered this course and not by my word!

    Seriously, the website is a joke site, but both the Andrea and Brice point toward the source of the jokes in the real. So the question is--does irony dampen our efforts to fight violence against women? Or is it a kind of ritual that will ultimately replace real violence with a safe, inconsequential simulacrum, sort of like peace-time re-enactments of battle?

  3. I'd argue that it's overly optimistic to believe that such jokes will become harmless play devoid of consequences in the real world. I find that the proliferation of such comments denigrating to women, ironic or not, intent to harm withstanding, will in fact promote such attitudes to such an extent that it'll become acceptable or even encouraged. Humans are creatures infatuated with whatever happens to be in vogue, and I find the growing "bro-culture" as an offshoot of the writings of figures such as Tucker Max, or even the aforementioned BrosLikeThisSite are influencing some people in an unhealthy direction. Sure there is a possibility that these writings may become akin to battle-reenactments, but one must also consider that even during the controlled environments such war games mishaps occur, and injuries can be real. The same can apply to reality.

  4. Well, the heart of the matter might lie, as it often does, on whether people are even smart enough to recognize irony. We might be able to, but if people are actually adopting such an attitude then you're right--"bro culture" could lead to some widespread troubling behaviors.

    As the initial post pointed toward the site as having basis in the real (how can you satirize something if doesn't exist?), then do y'all see legitimate acts of broery play out in real life (I mean the "girls are sluts, etc" attitude rather then "Dude let's play Halo and eat onion rings" attitude that I'm more familiar with)?

  5. I have to agree that this site has a basis in the real. Cornell itself has a strong "bro" culture with its greek system. When I first read a few articles on the site, I laughed at the outrageous and pompous statements and constant competition to be the greatest slayer "bros" are involved in. What troubled me was when reading the comments posted by people trying to get in on the joke, I recognized a few people I know who sound just like that. I wonder if many fraternity brothers have similar type of modus operandi (thought I do not want to slander the Greek system in general, as I am part of it).

  6. As someone who finds hilarious, I felt it necessary to interject my opinion on this post. Although the creators use terms like "slay" and "slam" and what not, I truly do not think these are violent individuals. Rather, these men act as actors portraying the stereotypical "frat brah" on the Internet for everyone's amusement. True, if you actually "slay" a woman you are guilty of some very grisly violence, but if you're slaying girls the way the creators imply, you are simply "The Man." I'll continue to check out the website daily and laugh incessantly.

  7. I definitely do find a lot of this stuff hilarious as well. Though this humor like I said before does reveal some minimum level of misogyny (coming back to Lirette's point of how can anything be satirized if it doesn't exist?), it is definitely a harmless, adolescent brand of it. Satirizing these kind of male adolescent attitudes can be the source of good humor, and I really believe that the VAST majority (close to 100%) of people who read or contribute to these sites or partake in the "bro" culture in general would never dream of doing anything violent towards woman in real life.


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