March 24, 2013

Dudebro

English: First reconstruction of Neanderthal m...
English: First reconstruction of Neanderthal man Espa├▒ol: Primera reconstrucci├│n del Hombre de Neandertal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I saw a couple of people on Twitter recently using a term with which I was unfamiliar: dudebro. It seemed like it was being used as some sort of insult, but I was not sure. Since I was not familiar with the term, I asked about what it meant on Twitter. @16bitheretic, the author of Room Full of Crazy, informed me that "dudebro" began on gaming sites as a pejorative reference to men who play games like Call of Duty or Madden, drink beer, and engage in various pursuits associated with traditional masculinity. The term was initially used as a way of criticizing one's taste in video games.

As it was adopted by other groups outside the gaming community, "dudebro" evolved into what some describe as a gendered slur akin to characterizing men as Neanderthals. I found this fascinating and am grateful to @16bitheretic for the information. The next time I see the term being used online, I will have some idea what it means.

Now I suppose the relevant question is whether or not men should take offense at the term. I am not personally offended by it. I know I am not much like the sort of man for which the term is intended. Perhaps this is why I would have a difficult time getting too worked up about it. Of course, I recognize that some men might take offense at it. After all, some women find words like "bitch" and "cunt" to be extremely offensive while other women are not at all bothered by such terms.

Now that I have some idea what "dudebro" means and am aware that some consider it a gendered slur, I plan to avoid using it. This will be quite easy for me since it has only been a week or two since I first encountered the term. I'll avoid using it just like I avoid using other gendered slurs and for the same reason: I do not find that they add much value to the conversation and are needlessly inflammatory. Seems simple enough, doesn't it?

I suppose I could attempt to make a big deal about the forces of political correctness conspiring to take away my freedom to say "dudebro," but I have little interest in using the word. And besides, I think there there are too many real problems resulting from political correctness that I'd rather address instead. In the big picture, my imagined freedom to use silly words to insult people without experiencing negative social pressure seems far less important.

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