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Unpacking the broflake

What is a broflake?

Well, thanks for asking. We’re here to help. From now, we’re going to ask that you read this in the voice of a certain Sir David Attenborough.

Why, look over there. We have a broflake. An ashamedly un-rare species. This man spends the majority of his days sat on Twitter, complaining about Black Lives Matter and reminding others that ‘reverse racism’ does in fact exist. The broflake is not homophobic, no no. Look at one of the tabs on his computer: he has clearly been watching lesbian porn. An ally! Yet, he recently turned down an invite to G-A-Y for, well, fear of looking too gay.  There we have it – the sweet, clichéd bro.

The broflake is an interesting species, for he sort of evolved from what the internet has come to know as the ‘snowflake’.  The term ‘snowflake’ originates from the 90s movie Fight Club and is used in an attempt to make anyone who fits certain ideas – modern, decent values, prepared to speak out, not stuck living in the 1950s – appear soft, weak or even emasculated. From the get-go, it’s clear that anyone who believes that this word is appropriate to describe decent people is a complete knob – not only that, they’re a broflake. A massive brokflake. Now, allow us to highlight why this term is the perfect word for every awful guy you’ve ever known (you can stop reading in Sir Dave voice now, by the way).

The neologism appeared in Urban Dictionary only recently and could not have come at a more appropriate time. The website defines the broflake as a ‘straight, white male who is offended by any feminist or ethnic group which is not directly designed for him’. The word itself is ideal. Being an obvious play on the derogatory ‘snowflake’, it in turn creates a word that is far more patronising – and subsequently damaging – to the alpha-male-turn-alt-right ego. By using a word that is similar to one associated with things that may vex them, its sardonic tone helps to further emasculate their male bravado.

The emasculation here is important, because to this breed of man emasculation still exists. They [supposedly] don’t cry, probably still hoot at women on the street and actually believe that political correctness has in fact gone mad. Famous examples of broflakes consist of Donald Trump (need we go further) and Piers Morgan. Not only is Morgan about as inspiring as a jacket potato, but if you aren’t aware of the Twitter tirade he went on around the time of the women’s marches in January, then please do Google it. You will see that he probably has the words ‘sexist’ (alongside ‘tosspot’ and ‘pig’) in the subheading of his resumé.

And then we have Love Island. The question on the lips of the nation: is Johnny – a contestant on the show if you haven’t been watching, but, let’s face it: you have – is also a broflake, or if he is merely just ignorant. A couple of weeks ago, social media was flooded with videos and think-pieces about Camilla’s – a fellow contestant – confirmation of her feminism, and Johnny’s subsequent misunderstanding of it. Jonny, like all broflakes, feels that, ‘feminism believes in inequality’.  Ah, right. Cos, y’know, as feminists, while we might look as if we are striving for fair treatment, we’re actually all sat in underground bunkers, planning to overthrow the male sex and shatter the glass ceiling so violently that we can use its shards to confirm those psychosexual castration fears of yours. Yeah, that’s what feminists secretly want – as well as universal lesbianism and pardons for menstruating-related crime.

On a serious note, it is a shame that the term ever had to be created. For even if there are a couple of people who sadly believe that the ‘All Lives Matte’r hashtag should exist, or are ready to get upset by the notion of female safe spaces at festivals. We shouldn’t let them spoil the passionate discourse we share when particularly discussing race, gender and sexuality related issues. And yes, whilst the word ‘snowflake’ may be said in jest half the time, it still intends to makes a mockery of those who are trying to better our current situation.

So there, the broflake, the perfect word for every guy you hate. A man whose ideals are so set on inequality he tries to ridicule those who strive for the opposite, and in turn paints them as people who are against him personally (even though they are most likely just against most things that he stands for). He has not ever felt oppression in the way that he claims because he is the one who has contributed to its existence in the first place. Of course, I am not referring to every white straight cis male out there – for I can vouch from experience that not all broflakes fit this criteria, and that, thankfully, the majority of straight, white men are not bad people. Yet it is fair to say that anyone who decides to patronise those whose intentions are nothing but positive, are, frankly, not worth your time.

Whether it’s someone calling for #heterosexualprideday on Twitter, or a guy who is appalled by your inclusion of the word ‘feminist’ in your Tinder bio, they are a broflake and it is eventually time that they were avoided altogether.

Get Volume #19 here.

Words by Charlotte Johnstone

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