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A bro’s guide to feminism

(This post originally appeared here and has been republished with permission from the author.)

Sean Mongie

Isn’t life great brother?

For starters, you were born an oke, and there isn’t a better feeling in this life than cruising through the club with your bicep-veins popping and the betties bumping and grinding their way towards winning your favour!

johnny bravo

I dunno about you ma china, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in the power dynamic with the ladies.

It was all smooth sailing straight outta high school: your rigorous regimen of protein shakes, hitting the gym with your bros, then hunting for the hottest chick on the d-floor later that night was fool-proof.

The problem now is your regular female ain’t a fool no more. She’s gone to university and she’s trying out this new thing they’re calling ‘equality’. And it doesn’t sit too well with you.

Suddenly your usual tactic of ogling and objectifying her doesn’t get you tail – instead you go home alone (I know bru, it’s hard to live down), with the stain of a strawberry daiquiri on your brand new white v-neck.

Yuuuss hey. You looked tight in that shirt.

But don’t you worry my brother, I’ve got some pro tips on how to effectively soak that t-shirt, and I can help you with your lady-problems too.

Hi it’s me.

No, not him – look, I know he’s the biggest oke here and you’re a bit envious of whatever supplements he’s using to get so cut.dYryW8ZaSYqnr73nuTDr_Tom

I’m the other guy. Yes, the skinny dude in the corner reading a book. Don’t laugh, I’m serious.

It turns out that that Humanities degree you laughed at is exactly what you need to resolve your predicament.

Trust me. If you can make it through that hectic session where you did …all those things with the lifting where you lie down? Bench-presses? Okay.

If you can get through that hectic arm day without rest, you can definitely work on these simple daily exercises, and bench-press out of this feminism thing.

Easing into it. 

Do you remember when you started hitting that old punch-bag in your dad’s garage? You were weak bro, your arms got tired and you wanted to stop almost as soon as you began.

But what did you do? You visualised the rocking bod you were going to have, and then you worked for it.

This is going to be a little like that, a mental workout if you will.

So what we’re going to do is start small … now I know you like to push yourself, but it’s good to master the basics before you move onto the real weightlifting.

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  1. Pick-up lines and catcalling 

Now I know this is gonna sting a little, and I know you’ve worked hard laying your smooth serenades on the sloots. You’ve clearly spent hours online finding and testing the best pickup lines, heck some sites have them categorised by holiday, occasion, theme and the character you are impersonating.

But pick-up lines and catcalling have to go.

This is hard to take in, I know, and with role models like Barney Stinson, James Bond and Hugh Heffner, you’ve clearly picked what you consider to be the cream of the masculinity crop. It works for them doesn’t it?

Well, Barney Stinson and James Bond are fictional and, as the last season of HIMYM and the latest Daniel Craig reincarnation of Bond seem to suggest, those dudes both end up old and lonely.

And old Heffner, he is a testament to a dying archetype of manliness. There is a new form taking shape in the 21st century.

Girls are now being instilled with the idea that they should be respected. And they should be.

little feminist

Much like the first time you lifted a weight at the tender age of six, your body is probably responding to this news about equality by seizing up in pain. Everything inside of you screams that this is too much, and you want to give up and go back to what’s comfortable.

But you’ve got to persevere.

To wean you off of your dependence on cheesy lines to speak to the opposite sex, here are some examples of the do’s and don’ts of bar-room conversation:

  • “Did you hear the latest health report? You’re supposed to increase your daily dose of vitamin D.” ?
  • “Did you hear the latest health report? I was going to use a pick-up line, but I’m actually confident enough with my masculinity to strike up a real conversation that benefits both of us.” ?
  • “Your dad must be a baker, because you got some hot buns.” ?
  • “Your dad must be a baker, because you look wholesome, healthy and I’d make a joke about wanting to ravish you but I don’t want to perpetuate the consumptive heteronormative gaze.” ?

Much like pick-up lines, cat-calling is something a group of bros find hard to resist and which satisfies a primal urge to howl at the site of potential mates.

But we live in new age, where farming practices and the mass-production of food has ruled out the need for groups of men to hunt as a pack for food – and the chest-thumping and peacocking that go along with it have become unnecessary too.

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  1. Leaving the safety of the pack

Brace yourself bro. This is going to be a tough one.

You’ve been brought up on the fundamental principle “Bros before Hoes”, to have a wingman at your side to help you seal the deal, and to always, always have your mate spot you when you lift.

But what if I told you – and I know this might shock you – that you don’t always need your bros? That all they really do for you is provide a group image on which to prop up your frail identity, and without them you would fall over like a cardboard cut-out of Arnold Schwarzenegger?

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It’s pretty intimidating going bro-less: there’s no one to laugh at your jokes, no one to point out babes outside of your peripherals, and you don’t have someone who understands your distinct secret body language.

troy and abed

But something very interesting happens when you leave the pack. First, you see all the other bro packs, and you contemplate fighting for a position in their hierarchies. But like a lone predator, you may attempt to take out an alpha but the pack fights against you and you aren’t strong enough.

Then you see everyone else. Where once people been had divided into Your Boys and the girls you’re pursuing, suddenly you see and are overwhelmed by the multitude of different ways of being.

  1. Crushing under the weight of it all

Now I know we’ve been doing some strenuous mental exercises here, ma boy, but tell me has your fitness coach ever kept his word about how many reps you were meant to do? No! So we’re going to push you hard here and propose something that I truly believe you can achieve.

Once you step out into the world, not as a bro, but as just another person, you might actually find you have … female friends. And if you’re really strong … a gay person (actually no, that’s probably unfair. You probably already have one, or are one. Many a bro is secretly checking out his bro in gym. And that’s totally fine).

Regardless, some of the ways you behave will suddenly change.

Some of the things you used to say just won’t make sense anymore, like using ‘girl’ or ‘gay’ as synonyms for weak. Have you seen Ronda Rousey, dude? She would take you down.

ronda

You’ll very quickly realise that women stronger, smarter and kinder than you continue to be disrespected, insulted, harassed and underpaid. And that even though you were never overtly responsible, you were still complicit.

Suddenly you’ll be using phrases like ‘the Patriarchy’ and ‘violent masculinities’, and you’ll feel sick to the stomach thinking about all the ways you used to look at women like they were meat. And it will be uncomfortable. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Do you want to have a rest before you do your next rep, bro?

This shit is heavy, dude.

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