Bromance

The love of man to woman is a thing common and of course, and at first partakes more of instinct and passion than of choice; but true friendship between man and man is infinite and immortal

Plato

‘Bromance’ describes an intense feeling of intimacy between two heterosexual men which doesn’t involve sex — instead it is a form of brotherhood, close friendship, or platonic bond between two men. It is an exceptionally tight affectional, homosocial male bonding relationship exceeding that of usual friendship and is distinguished by a particularly high level of emotional intimacy.

Bromance conveys a male homosocial relationship that goes much further than traditional homosocial practices. Society has taken a collective interest in the re-examination of some of the traditional constraints on male friendship, and in potentially reshaping the constructs of gender, sexuality, and intimacy. The increased closeness goes beyond being mere friends, to a deep bond that has been characterized as capturing the conceptual edge of “is gay / is not gay”.

Numerous examples throughout history exist however, and the emergence of ‘bromance’ as a topic over the past decade has been seen as reflecting how society has collectively changed its perception and interest in the relationships between men.

The term was believed to be coined in the 1990s by Dave Carnie , then editor of the skateboard magazine Big Brother, referring to the bonds developed and type of relationships between skaters who spent a great deal of time together. Carnie disputes this! The first verified use of the term appeared in surf culture magazine Transworld Surf Magazine, published in 1999 by editor, Chris Cote. The Oxford English Dictionary debuted ‘bromance’ in its 2013 edition, satisfied with the Cote evidence

The term however, did not attain broad currency until approximately 2005 when the theme became more prominent in the motion picture and entertainment industries.

Its emergence as a distinctive conceptual genre and theme in the movie and television industry is seen as reflective of a “broader acceptance of non-heteronormative cultural expressions as well as the prospect of a same-sex intimacy that transcends matters of sexual orientation”.

On the one hand, social interest in the theme has been seen as driving the film industry, which has then fed back to society at large, exploring peoples’ mindsets and addressing acceptance of “other types of relationships” between people. On the other hand, some have seen the emphasis on platonic love as a rejection of homoeroticism, or as a deliberate confounding of homosocial and homoerotic relationships.

The Japanese and Korean music industry actively encourages bromance among male celebrities (particularly members of boy bands) as part of the fan service to please the audience.

 

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