The “Brotriarchy” / Bro-Code Needs to Be Dismantled ASAP, Here’s Why + How

By: Farida El Shafie

Note: the term ‘brotriarchy’ was brought to our attention by @fuk_the_briotrachy + the image belongs to them as well. thank you guys for educating us and making info accessible!

Can I get “down with the brotriachy” sewn on the back of a leather jacket or in subscript under a Supreme hoodie so that the men reading this pay enough attention? 

The brotriarchy is yet to be defined as a noun of its own. It’s a by-product of rape culture, a double-ended sword, a jab into an already existing wound. As a sub-division of the patriarchy, it oppresses and as a system that hinders the deliverance of justice, it calls for dismantling – urgently. Just like anything that upholds the patriarchy, it is rooted in misogyny (sexist ideologies towards femininity that result in the deprecation and devaluation of womxn) i.e pretty shit. 

It is barbed wire disguised as a picket fence. It’s shrouded in secrecy that presents itself as protection, as a safety net but only amongst those involved. Yet, just like barbed wire, it’s held together by fear; fear of what lies on the other side, if the “bro-code” was to be broken. What facilitates the brotriarchy is the “bond” between men. It’s the apathy, the unwillingness to call out your friend’s abusive behavior due to a misplaced sense of loyalty. Yes, you are loyal, in the eyes of the oppressor, you, my friend, are the perfect pawn. The sad reality is, the only person you are protecting is the oppressor. The same person who was willing to put your life at risk in the first place. If you’ve ever found yourself on an encrypted chat with 50-200 other men, distributing girls’ nudes and did nothing to stop it, congratulations you’ve upheld one of the most toxic and oppressive social constructs faced by generations today. 

At the centre of the brotriachy you will find consent, specifically lack thereof. You will find rape, sexual harassment, assault, leaked nudes, toxic masculinity, abuse and oppression. The brotriachy is an enabler; It feeds, supplies, funds and protects the patriarchy. It’s a tangled mess of threats and blackmail confining and exploiting womxn as well as the enablers “the bros,” because chances are if you out your friend, you’re getting beat up. The reason it fucks us over is that it has single-handedly built a brass-bound Culture of Silence. There’s a reason why male-dominated spaces are notorious for sexual abuse; its the by-product of an environment that solely consists of hyper-masculine males, facilitating each other’s misconduct. Justifications crop up, blurring the lines, and since no one is actively fighting back and doing the right thing (in fear of being ostracized) you now have a group of brainwashed “bros” sticking up for each other I presume? What you’re actually doing is covering up, hiding, and sweeping gross misconduct and negligence under the rug. I promise you if a quarter of the men call each other out for their awful treatment of womxn, you would see a massive reduction in sexual assault. When you don’t speak up, womxn get raped. Let me rephrase; because you did not speak up, she got raped. This is the price that’s paid for being complicit. Does that feel right to you?
The only way to dismantle violence/rape culture is to dismantle the brotriarchy. The culture that continuously invalidates the feelings, experiences, and traumas everyone faces. Let’s eradicate this stale and hopeless apathetic state we’ve fostered. Too many people are fearful of calling out their friends, to destroy the “bond” that took years to build, since “it was only one incident.” We need to be more active when it comes to policing unjust actions especially when we have ample control. That means calling them out. Point blank. When you see justifications being made for shitty behavior, address it. You will meet resistance and you will fight back because that’s what genuinely good friends do. The culture of silence you’ve so meticulously supported will falter. The misogynistic behaviour will find no room to grow, it will strengthen the friendship you’ve clearly tirelessly fought to protect. Put your fragile male ego aside, suppress the urge to succumb to your self-pride. This isn’t always about you even if you’re at the centre of it all. Be selfless for once. Show them that their actions have repercussions and that they hold weight. The brotriarchy can only be dismantled if you start alienating these people, forcing them to reexamine and pick apart their own actions. I guarantee you there is no better punishment than loneliness; that shit will break you.

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