I think many of us have heard of the “Bro Code” by now. If not, do brush up on the 89 articles of the rule book. Or you can simply have the first 14 articles recited to you in true dramatic fashion here by Neil Patrick Harris and Matt Kuhn, two actors from the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother. (Funny quote below:)
A bro never divulges the existence of the Bro Code to a woman. It is a sacred document not to be shared with chicks for any reason. No. Not even that reason. Note: If you are a woman listening to this, first, let me apologize it was never my intention for this book to contain so much math. Secondly, I urge you to take the Bro Code for what it is: a piece of fiction meant to entertain a broad audience through the prism of stereotypical gender differences. I mean sometimes it really is like we’re from different planets. (Dry, nervous laughter) Clearly no real person could realistically believe or adhere to the vulgar rule contained within. Those boots are adorable, B T Dub. Pssst. Hey guys, ignore what I said. The Bro Code is definitely not a piece of fiction. . .”
I giggled quite a bit listening to this video and you probably will too.
The positive thing about stereotypes is that they show us how far or near our thoughts and beliefs lie in relation to them. If our convictions match the gender cliche, we feel soothed and more secure in our beliefs. And if we viscerally sense our opposition to the stereotype, then we feel somewhat enraged, but simultaneously more empowered and secure in our contrary views.
Everyone wins. Bros and hos.
Chris Brown has been on my mind for a long time. You know when it started – the night he and Rihanna didn’t appear at the Grammys because he was assaulting her in a car. When all the photos of her bruised face leaked, it seemed surprising (yet, not totally) that a person who had spoken about his own experience with his mother’s battering publicly would be guilty of the same disturbing acts himself.
But oh, it was true. And oh, Chris Brown was sorry. It unleashed a firestorm of MTV specials about abuse, fans defending him, fans disowning him, and his retreat out of the mainstream to get help, or whatever it is you do when you’re under 21 and you brutally beat your own girlfriend. He plea bargained out of jail time, and participated in a year long domestic violence course that, from all reports til recently, seemed successful.
In that year, two things happened that still rattle. The first was his appearance on the BET Awards, participating in a Michael Jackson tribute. While there are very few entertainers who had what MJ did, Chris Brown has some of the moves.
And if he had come out, danced, and gotten offstage, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me in the slightest. It’s when we get to ‘Man in the Mirror’ that I bristle. It’s the crying. It’s the crying and the panning to the women in the audience who are obviously feeling empathetic toward someone who hasn’t shown any true remorse about the crime he committed, but is relieved that there is still a way to salvage his career.
Then “Deuces” leaked. Written by Brown himself, Tyga, and Kevin McCall, the song talks about breaking off a relationship after failed attempts to make it work. On the surface, it seems like myriad other pop songs.
Then I listened to the lyrics. Hearing someone paint themselves as some kind of victim, calling a partner “nothing but a vulture” and demanding things be “drama-free” in light of his own personal life was nothing if not messed up. No, dude, the person who should be getting deuces chucked at them by a partner is YOU.
So, here we are, a year later, and news breaks that while Brown’s DV counseling has been going well, he can’t seem to keep his anger in check. I don’t think there are enough awards shows for him to cry this all away. On top of that incident, he is now allowed to meet and talk with Rihanna, after the court order barring both was lifted due to his progression through counseling. While the lift required Rihanna’s consent, I can’t imagine that his overall mental health has improved to the point of a stable relationship. Redemption for Chris Brown is going to require intensive counseling, and I don’t know if a 21 year old man is capable of that kind of commitment.