The power of friendships between women has been the subject of many a TV show, thinkpiece, and celebrity interview. But new research shows that friendships between men deserve just as much credit—and they're not getting it.
The "bromance" has become a popular butt of jokes, often with homophobic undertones, as if it's abnormal for men to be close. Due to toxic societal standards for masculinity, it's still taboo for men to express emotions, especially when they're directed towards other men.
However, according to research conducted by Dove Men+Care with Edelman Intelligence and sociologist Michael Kimmel, most men find their friendships with other men extremely important. Ninety-four percent of men say their male friendships positively impact their well-being, and 74 percent say pop culture doesn't adequately acknowledge these relationships.
Though sports are often considered a means to display toxic masculinity, they've also become a way for men to engage in a less traditionally masculine activity: bonding with their friends. One-third of men are more likely to reach out to a friend during March Madness, and two-thirds connect with friends over sports or fitness.
Research has shown these relationships can have a huge payoff. A recent study, for example, demonstrated how male rats rely on one another during stressful situations, cuddling, and even cooperatively sharing their water.
So maybe it's time we stop mocking "bromances" and acknowledge them as a normal, beneficial interactions between males of any species. After all, there's no word to make fun of women who are close friends. The power of friendship is not gender-specific, and it should be available to anyone free of stigma.