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Judy Balan
Judy Balan


‘Broism’ not the antidote to ‘chickism’

  • Now if you look at the word ‘chick’ without any judgment just for the sake of understanding, what you get is a picture of mainstream femininity popularised by 90s television.

An increasing number of 20-something women are addressing each other as ‘bro’ and when that’s not cool enough, ‘bruh,’ and I’m not sure how I feel about it. Now I understand that ‘sister’ does not have the same ring to it, a lot of women don’t relate to ‘chica’ because it brings to mind a woman who cares more about her shoes than her friends, and ‘babe’ is out of the question because come on, are you Mark Owen in the 90s? But I think we need to pause, explore our options and, maybe, even coin a new word if need be, before we so readily adopt what’s a quintessentially male word to sum up our female friendships.

The other day someone addressed me as ‘bro’ and I reflexively scrunched up my nose. See, I’m someone who is extremely aligned to my femininity and have a low tolerance for being addressed as anything male (it took me years to make my peace with ‘dude’ simply because the word always conjured up the image of a pubescent boy). But that doesn’t mean I enjoy being called ‘a woman author’ because while ‘bro’ ignores my femininity, ‘woman author’ draws undue attention to it in a way that diminishes my role as an author. So I found it extremely odd when women who rolled their eyes at ‘woman author’ almost proudly declared themselves to be bros. So I did some digging and it’s my conclusion that the growing popularity of broism among young women has more to do with a decided dissociation from chickism as opposed to any desire to be seen as ‘one of the guys.’

Now if you look at the word ‘chick’ without any judgment just for the sake of understanding, what you get is a picture of mainstream femininity popularised by 90s television, which alienates a lot of young women of today who clearly connect more with Barney Stinson than with Rachel Green. As a 20-something colleague just informed me, “This whole thing started only after How I Met Your Mother for sure.” Great. So we’re basically dealing with a whole generation of women internalising a character who belongs in a Freudian case study. And to think our parents had a problem with us growing up on Doogie Howser!

But that’s not all. When asked why they feel the need to address their female friends as ‘bros,’ I get two interesting answers from two different women: “I guess you address someone as bro if you rely on them” and “The non-girly ones are bros”. Like I said, a desire to dissociate from chickism and all the tantrums, clinginess and drama that come with it. Which is totally understandable. All I ask is that we—as evolved women in touch with our own brand of femininity—come up with our own word to relate to each other.

And as for the ones who do want to be seen as ‘one of the guys,’ they are the worst offenders. Another 20-something sums it up just right: “I think it’s a new fad—girls call their girlfriends ‘bro’ to seem ‘cool’ and approachable to guys. But finally, they get bro-zoned and end up eating a tub of ice-cream.”

Say what you will about chicks, but they never get bro-zoned.

Chickmate, bruh.

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The Week

Topics : #Judy Balan | #opinion

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