Anatomy of a Brogressive


[This post best read in a nature documentary English-Londoner accent. Trigger Warning: rape culture, general dudebro douchiness. Thanks to my twitter followers for helping to shape this post!].

Behold, science has discovered a peculiar new species of animal. Inhabiting many city centers, it can be found doing menial work in office buildings while listening to Rage Against the Machine on the iPod his parents bought him as a graduation present (though on his OkCupid profile, he brags about being a mover and shaker at his job). It is, indeed, The Brogressive.

The Brogressive is a peculiar species. He looks and sounds like your average human male and it is only by forming a close, Jane Goodall-esque relationship with him that he will reveal his true colors. And even then, there are other defining characteristics that need to be taken into account. This is so as not to confuse The Brogressive with The Televangelist or The White Old Man Politician. Left to its own devices, The Brogressive may actually become The White Old Man Politician, but only after years of working for, as The Brogressive calls it, “The Man.”

The Brogressive is quite skilled at camouflage. Notice how easily he blends in at progressive rallies like Occupy and anti-war protests. One particular clue is that you will almost never find a Brogressive at an exclusively feminist rally like Take Back The Night or a Planned Parenthood event. The Brogressive finds the focus of these events too narrow and not catered enough to his interests as a white man.

Brogressives tend to congregate online in spaces like Reddit and the Gawker comment section (though never Jezebel, unless it is to, as anthropologists say, “troll”). You will find the Brogressive discussing things with others of his kind - things like the NSA and Wikileaks. Often, they will spend hours on Reddit discussing drone policy – but only insofar as drones serve to remind people of the Real Problems With American Foreign Policy. Sometimes, The Brogressive will describe himself as "socially liberal, but fiscally conservative." This is mainly because he would really, really like marijuana legalized. 

The natural enemy of the Brogressive is the Intersectional Feminist. When the two come in conflict, the Brogressive retreats into his protective cave of White Male Privilege, accusing the Intersectional Feminist of being a distraction to the True Progressive Cause (which is, of course, getting Julian Assange out of Sweden so he can get away from those pesky rape charges). The Brogressive, when confronted with his selfishness, will respond with privilege-denying epithets, such as “I can’t be racist; I sleep with women of color all the time!” and “Calm your tits; I was just JOKING when I talked about prison rape!” and “You feminists are so oversensitive! Why do you hate men?”

If pressed hard enough in a conflict, the Brogressive will begin to point to his “ally credentials,” citing, usually, that he “LIKES women and people of color and, come on, isn’t that ENOUGH? What more do you bitches want?”

The Brogressive is easy to spot once you recognize the signs. You might have a budding Brogressive on your hands if:

  1. He works for the Gawker network.
  2. He spends most of his time on Twitter hijacking birth control discussions with tweets about male circumcision.
  3. He seems overly concerned with where Edward Snowden is hiding (though this might also be a sign that he works for the US Federal Government).
  4. He voted for Obama but thinks it was wrong for the POTUS to “get involved” in the Trayvon discussion.
  5. He thinks Seth McFarlane is funny.
  6. “The Devil’s Advocate” isn’t just an arcane format of discussion, but a vital technique for him.

Should you encounter a Brogressive in the wild, do not look him in the eye. He will take that as an opportunity to tell you about the awesome Reddit thread he was reading last night about how “gray rape” is totally A Thing. The best way to handle a Brogressive is to laugh. Yes, laugh. There is nothing a Brogressive hates more than the idea that he is not being taken seriously. Use this weapon carefully, however – it may provoke him to reveal his true nature: The Totally-Not-Sexist-And-Racist Dudebro. Those are - amazingly - more annoying than the Brogressive.

Armed with this knowledge, you may traverse the Internet confidently, ready to mock and snark back at any Brogressive that may cross your path. Might I suggest, however, that you be gentle with them; they are, after all, one of nature's most fragile creatures.