I cringe when I hear the word “bro.” It’s infuriating to hear and brings up so many bad thoughts and bad connotations, especially in the geek and tech world. Too many times has geekdom been thought of as a boy’s club, and to whatever extent, it does synonym with “bros.”
The thing is, being a guy and having guy friends isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing. We should never feel bad that we have friends that we love. However, we’ve come to a point where guys having guy friends is turning into a condemnation of who you are. We are starting to see a recurring theme regarding bad things being said about “Bro Culture” and how these types of things need to be stopped because it’s hurting all of us. Here’s the thing, bad people hurt us all, not “bros,” or any other group of people for that matter.
The line is getting blurred and people are starting to target entire groups of people instead of individuals, and that’s not good for anyone. Our media is dominated by generalizations, which give cute nicknames to broad groups of people with the same set of characteristics. Every single person is unique and we need to be careful of who we place derogatory terms upon. I’m all for getting rid of discrimination in our geek and tech worlds. Woman or man we’re all human beings, we all have unique life experiences and we all interact with others in different ways. I’ll be the first to admit, there are guys who treat women in ways they don’t like to be treated and vice versa. I’m all for those people being called out for being discriminatory or just plain abusive. Those are bad people and those are the people we need to be focusing on. Not just a buzzword for a large group of people.
What we need is to see the trees through the forest. All of this fucking discrimination and hatred has to stop. You should love your friends, you should be nice to other people, regardless of their genitals, their sexual orientation, and their race. Not because you “should,” but because it’s how you want to be treated yourself. If you’re making friends based solely on characteristics people can’t change, then you’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t make assumptions about people based on broad reaching characteristics of people in made-up groups. We’re all geeks, we’re all gamers, we love technology, and fandom. Even though we have all those things in common, we are still wildly and incredibly unique.
However, when you read articles like the ones from The Daily Dot and Take Part, linked above, you’ll see quotes like this:
“The problem starts at the top in tech companies—from the boards to management to the rank and file, [leading] to a disgusting male-oriented culture…”
I said earlier that there are some people who are bad and treat other people badly. There are people who are sexist and misogynistic, racist and homophobic. There are people I wouldn’t want to be my friends. However, when you say a statement like I quoted above, you’re doing a disservice to not just men, but people as a whole. People aren’t disgusting. A person may be, but people are not. We live in a really complex world and I’ve met lots of men and women, and the majority of them are pretty amazing. Sure, they all don’t act how I act and see things how I see them, but they try to do the right thing. They act like good people to the best of their abilities. They love their friends and families, so to blanket characteristics on people like them is disgusting.
That’s the problem with our current society and how things are portrayed on social and regular media. Someone sees a problem and then throws a wide net, grabbing up targets that have nothing to do with the issues at hand. We target the people doing bad things and serve up a huge population of people that are collateral damage for no other reason than they can be grouped together for some minor reason. How do we combat this? The answer is to be a good friend, brother, sister, and ultimately be a good person.
Stop getting riled up when you read something inflammatory. The Internet feeds on generalizations and it grows when people lash out. If you have a bad experience, don’t generalize a large group of people. Instead, target specific people who act badly. If you say group X is full of bad people, you’re just going to hurt and offend a group who had nothing to do with the situation at hand. Stop generalizing. It just doesn’t work. No matter how finely you group people together, they are not all the same person. Every time you target a group of people with accusations that should be targeted at just a few specific people, you create new enemies from people who feel violated and hurt for no other reason than being loosely associated with other people who act badly. I’m all for calling people out when they do bad things, but please, stop taking other people down with them. Because someday you’ll go down, too.