After Pax Dickinson was fired from his job as CTO of Business Insider a few weeks ago, there has been a lot of talk by feminists about bros, bro culture, brogrammers (a combination of bro and programmer), etc. While the term, bro, and its derivatives have been around for a while, feminists have used Dickinson’s firing to assert bros and bro culture is everywhere there is a concentration of men especially in the tech industry. Is this really the case? To figure that out we have to see what the definition of “bro” is. Urban dictionary provides several definitions. Here is the first:
Obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties. When they aren’t making an ass of themselves they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying. Nearly everyone in a fraternity is a bro but there are also many bros who are not in a fraternity. They often wear a rugby shirt and a baseball cap. It is not uncommon for them to have spiked hair with frosted tips.
The urban dictionary definition covers what most people would think a “bro” is, yet such a definition means that terms like “brogrammer” are a contradiction in terms. The definition of “bro” is consistent with what most people think frat guys and jersey shore guidos are like, not programmers. Most people think of programmers as men who lack social skills and maybe even have borderline Aspergers syndrome. Their idea of a programmer is a man who neither is part of a fraternity nor is at a lot of parties. (While programmers can come from all walks of life, the issue in question when it comes to defining terms like “bro” and “brogrammer” is people’s perceptions.) As far as most people’s perceptions are concerned, a “brogrammer” logically can not exist. The question must be asked, “why does the term, ‘brogrammer’, exist?” and “why would anyone say that a lot of frat guys and similar types have taken over the tech industry?”
Looking at how the terms, “bro” and “brogrammer”, are used by feminists reveals a different definition of the word being used by feminists. Ann Friedman writing in New York Magazine shows us what feminists really mean by terms like “bro” and “brogrammer”:
“Bro” once meant something specific: a self-absorbed young white guy in board shorts with a taste for cheap beer. But it’s become a shorthand for the sort of privileged ignorance that thrives in groups dominated by wealthy, white, straight men. “Bro” is convenient because describing a professional or social dynamic as “overly white, straight, and male” seems both too politically charged and too general
To feminists terms like “bro” and “brogrammer” are synonyms for straight white male. As Ann Friedman reveals, feminists can’t just say straight white men when they mean straight white men because it’s too “politically charged”. In other words, if feminists talk about straight white men, it’s obvious that feminists just hate straight white men. Instead, feminists are now using the term “bro” to make people think they’re only talking about a frat guy subset of straight white men when feminists are talking about all straight white men. It’s a trick by feminists to avoid criticism because most people aren’t going to defend stereotypical frat guy behavior whereas they might have a problem with blanket attacks on straight white men.
This also reveals that the term, “brogrammer”, is really just an attack on men in the tech industry. The explains the contradictions in people perceptions of a bro and a programmer. It has nothing to do with the behavior of men in the tech industry. What feminists really have a problem with in the tech industry is that there is a large group of men employed in jobs that aren’t under their control. Like with the term, “bro”, using the term, “brogrammer”, is an attempt by feminists to avoid criticism from people who might have a problem with blanket attacks on men working in the tech industry.
In conclusion, whenever a feminist use the term, “bro” or “brogrammer”, just replace it with straight white men or men in the tech industry as appropriate. By doing that, what feminists really mean when using those terms will become clear.