The Bro Code: The Fallout of Raising Boys to Subordinate and Objectify Women

Keith, The Bro Code - cover

In this new book from Routledge Press, gender scholar Thomas Keith takes the reader on a journey, explaining the many factors and influences in boys’ and young men’s lives that assist in creating men who view women as less important, less capable, and less valuable than men. In what Keith terms, “bro culture,” boys and young men are taught a normative set of rules of manhood, whereby the influences of TV, games, films, music, advertising, internet content, and pornography help shape boys’ views of girls and women, while also shaping men’s views of themselves.

When coupled with the sexist instruction that often comes from older men of influence such as fathers, older brothers, uncles, grandfathers, coaches, youth pastors and other religious figures, politicians, celebrities, sports stars, and authoritative sources in boys’ and men’s lives, the sexist and homophobic instruction can be inescapable. Consequently, the directives that result from this training harms both girls and boys, women and men. For instance, sexist instruction trains boys and men to avoid any traits that are considered to be feminine in nature including feelings of fear, sadness, loneliness, self-doubt, and shame as sentiments considered to be signs of weakness. At the same time, traits of kindness, empathy, and compassion are often signified as being unmasculine and therefore traits to avoid at all costs. In essence, the bro-code instruction to boys and young men is to disconnect yourself from human traits that allow us to be emotionally whole, and to replace those caring and loving traits with attitudes and qualities that create damaged and dangerous men.

The bro code is a code of manhood that leaves a path of destruction in its wake, contributing to failed relationships, suicide ideation and completion in men, lives of solitude and desperation, sexual misconduct, and violence against women. Rather than viewed as a treatise that bashes men, The Bro Code is a manual on the things to avoid when raising boys so that women and men can lead more satisfying and fulfilling lives.

Order the book from Routledge here.

Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: Raising Boys on Sexism

Chapter 2: Bro Culture in the Age of #metoo

Chapter 3: Frat Life: A Continuum from Honor Societies to Toxic Bro-hood

Chapter 4: The Bro Code of Silence: How Men's Silence Harms Women and Men

Chapter 5: Advertising’s Sexist Call to Men

Chapter 6: A Bro-Manual to Media

 Chapter 7: Musical Misogynists: The Beat of Bro Culture

Chapter 8: Pornography: Sex-Ed for Bros

Chapter 9: Trump and Political Sexism

Chapter 10: Religious Bros