Television and Radio Criticism

Reading Response #2- Anthony R. Mainville

“Making sense of a bromance: Talking with straight men about I Love You, Man
          The puzzle being addressed by Ron Becker and Judith Weiner in this reading is “the relationship between mediated bromance narratives and shifting constructions of heterosexual masculinity” (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 315).   The authors’ thesis is that the bromance discourse allows heterosexual men to continue the believe in the traditional norms of masculinity while they become more open to a different construction of masculinity, which could mean being friends with homosexual men (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 316).  The first main point Becker and Weiner have is that heterosexual men can develop intimate friendships with other men regardless of sexual orientation without feeling “less” masculine.  The second main point the authors have is that the current generation is more comfortable with homosexuality.
          The first key theoretical concept used by Becker and Weiner is the aforementioned bromance discourse.  According to the authors, “By 2010, the bromance discourse – the frequently ironic framing of male friendship in terms of traditional romance tropes – had emerged as a new way to understand a particularly close relationship between two (usually heterosexual) men in US popular culture and in some people’s everyday vocabulary” (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 315).  The second key theoretical concept Becker and Weiner used is hybrid masculinities.  Becker and Weiner state how sociologists have identified new hybrid masculinities as “constructions of gender and homosocial interactions that have emerged in social landscapes altered by feminism, multiculturalism and neo-liberalism” (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 317).   The third key theoretical concept used in this reading is homohysteria.  Homohysteria is defined as “the fear of being thought homosexual because of behavior that is typically gender atypical” (Anderson, 2009).
            Becker and Weiner interviewed 38 straight-identified college males about their friendships with males and their understanding of the bromance discourse through their interpretations of the film I Love You, Man (Hamburg, 2009).  They found in their study that “many of the men understood the line between homosociality and homosexuality to be thin rather than blurry and seemed neither especially concerned about it nor invested in practices of disavowal” (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 331).  The evidence the authors provided is not sufficient, credible, and convincing because their study was limited in terms of the number of people they interviewed.  Becker and Weiner said the following statement: “Given the limited diversity of our respondents and the limited background information we had about them, we hesitate to make strong claims about the specific ways that the men’s race or class shaped their experience of the tension” (Becker & Weiner, 2016, p. 331).
            I think this article is targeted for millennial heterosexual men.  I say this because there has been a trend for portraying the bromance discourse for quite some time.  Becker and Weiner have disagreed with previous scholars about the bromance discourse.  Some scholars argue that traditional masculinity still exists in a hegemonic way.  Becker and Weiner use their interviews with the heterosexual college men to claim that they have added to our knowledge about the concept of the bromance discourse. 

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