What is a Bro Hug?

Last week the New York Times published an article “The Bro Hug: Embracing a Change in Custom”. It was a bit humorist and not very serious yet it raised a core aspect about masculinity. This core component of masculinity is the idea that men (particularly straight-identified men) cannot show affection towards one another. Here is a short excerpt from the article:

***The 2009 book “Don’t Be That Guy,” by the humorist Colin Nissan and the illustrator Sean Farrell, provides in a few hundred words a veritable Magna Carta of straight male hugging. “When I get married, feel free to throw your arms around me,” Mr. Nissan writes. “When I have a child, by all means, wrap me into your chest. These are milestones that warrant such a gesture of affection. When I come over for poker, however, don’t. Don’t you dare.”

The above excerpt illustrates that there are very few socially acceptable times when men can express affection. Another example of this masculine policing includes the term ‘bromance’.  It seems that men are socialized to both limit their emotional expression and to label any affection between one another as rare and unique hence using the word bro as a placeholder.

Conversation starter: 

  1. When will we allow men in close relationship to just be considered very good friends instead of having a bromance?
  2. If you identify as a man do you consider it a bro hug when you embrace your best friend, your brother, your uncle, you father or grandfather?