I Know Why The Caged Bro Sings
Ever since "bro" crept out of the frat house basement and into the mainstream, the now-ubiquitous term has suffered a backlash. Consider the dominant definition of "bro" on urbandictionary.com: "Stupid white trash guys . . . with lifted trucks, wife beaters, shitty music . . . ugly girlfriends, ugly hair, mouths constantly open, retarded as all get up, have no common sense . . . Fags."
Also indicative of the term's current status: Even the founder of forthcoming online community BroBible.com —the world's first online "brocial network"—hesitates to self-identify as "bro." “The word bro has a negative connotation to some,” admits Doug Banker, the bro behind Bro Bible. "I'm definitely a bro in certain aspects," he adds. "But I consider myself a well-rounded bro."
But to Banker, 23, the term "bro" means something different. "We see it in the playful way . . . Really, a bro is just someone who likes to go out and have a good time, who likes to stay connected to their group of friends while expanding their horizons," he says. "It’s not one of our goals to make the word 'bro' more positive," adds banker. “But yes, hopefully, that will happen.”
Banker, who graduated this year from the University of Richmond with a B.A. in “Leadership Studies," hopes that BroBible.com will give a voice to what he views as a sorely underrepresented demographic. The Web site, tag-lined "Every bro has a story," will debut its mix of social networking, open forums, and bro-generated content on Oct. 15. “This is one of the first sites that’s tailored specifically to the needs and interests of the bro,” says Banker. “Finally, there will be an outlet on the Internet where [bros] can truly express themselves."
The nationwide site aims to connect a diverse network of bros around the country. “The actual type of bro varies, but there are bros everywhere,” explains Banker. “You’ve got the Southern bro, enjoys being outside; the Colorado ski bro; the California surf bro; the Texas down-South bro; the Northeastern preppy lacrosse bro. There are all different types of bros, but they share common attributes.”
Banker hopes to court the bros of the District of Columbia specifically. “A lot of my friends at Georgetown are huge bros, and they really enjoy the nightlife scene there,” he says. “In the bars, you can find a great deal of bros. Any sporting event, a lot of bros. I would imagine that D.C is full of them,” he says. Banker says he is planning to take his promotional bro tour to Washington, D.C. within the next month.
Other types of bros, however, are less welcome in the online community. “It’s not the 'yo, bro' type of thing,” says Banker, “We’re not trying to get a guy who’s going to drink ten beers and crash them over his head. . . . The site is not going to be glorifying male conquest and championing their exploits.”
Still, Banker says he hopes to promote an "open forum" where bros "can share all types of stories and not feel embarrassed to get that information out," he says. "And if that includes beer and hooking up, then so be it."
Though the bro is typically defined as male, Banker says that female bros—and women close to bros—are also encouraged to check out the site. "I think it’s going to be very popular with women," Banker says. "Women are really going to enjoy the site. They'll be able to gain insight into the male ego, the male bravado, how the male mind works. At the very least, they’re going to want to know why their boyfriend is spending so much time on the site."
Banker is hopeful that, with the help of the online bro community, a new term for a female bro will soon be coined. "I’ve been looking for one. I can’t think of one off the top of my head," says Banker. "Trust me, I’ve been wracking my brain for a long time.”
Photo by Tavallai.