Today I’m going to write about something a bit less distressing than what I’ve written before on this blog. I want to talk about bronies, and this article addressing them.
I won’t give you a history lesson on My Little Pony, because if you’re familiar enough with the Internet to be reading this blog you probably already know a lot about it. For those who don’t, here’s the short version. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a cartoon aimed at kids, that somehow gained a large following of grown men who call themselves “bronies.” Now the fanbase is so big they created an unofficial convention. It’s actually kind of amazing how far this kids’ show has come.
I’ve watched some episodes. I’m not a fan. I think the show is largely dumb, irritating and dumb, with only occasional moments of hilarity or intrigue. But I have nothing against bronies. I can empathize with them, because I happen to be a feminine guy, or at least a guy who identifies with femininity. I almost always play as a female character in games when I have the option; not because of that “might as well be looking at a hot ass” bullshit, but because I generally find it easier to relate to and identify with women than men. (To name some of my favorite fictional characters: Zoey, Faith Connors, Fa Mulan, Katara, Patricia Tannis.) Purple is one of my favorite colors, I don’t care for sports, I think flowers are pretty, the list goes on.
(But I do also think guns are awesome, as well as the color black. Go figure.)
So while I don’t care for the show itself, I think it’s really cool that this brony phenomenon exists. These are guys who don’t feel the need to constantly affirm their masculinity. They don’t have to “prove” themselves to anyone. They don’t care about conforming to society’s expectations of their gender; they just happen to like a cartoon about colorful ponies learning about friendship. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Which brings us to this controversial article, which seems to directly and vehemently disagree with me on that last point.
If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, all you really need to see is this quote:
“All the while, as these pathetic sissies giggle like school girls over magic unicorns that spray rainbows from their horns, real men – and women – who have put aside the temptation to retreat into a frivolous fantasy world are tromping through the wilds of Afghanistan. Such young adults, some younger (in years) than the “bronies,” are protecting all of us – including these pathetic weirdoes.”
This wouldn’t make me laugh so much if I didn’t hear this shit all the time where I live (Texas). I love how the argument can basically be applied to everyone except the military. If you want to trivialize someone’s work, and you’re incredibly lazy about it, you can just say “Well while they’re sitting around doing _____, REAL men and women are fighting WARS in _____!”
Furthermore, there are actually a lot of bronies who serve in the military. There’s a Facebook group of them, for fuck’s sake. So are they “sissies,” or are they REAL MEN?
Anyway, here’s another funny quote:
“Fandom, even potentially nerdy fandom, need not be destructive. For example, the original “Star Trek” had real merit. The character of Captain Kirk provided an example of true manhood – note that the attributes commonly associated with ‘manhood’ are not limited by mere gender, as heroes like Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester proved – even within the concept of science fiction. Watching James T. Kirk teaches young males key life lessons – that violence is an important option for defeating evil, that individual dignity is worth fighting for, and that scoring with green alien chicks is awesome.”
Star Trek was a show about social commentary. It provided an image of all races working together for the betterment of humanity, and in the 60’s that shit was groundbreaking. But no, apparently that’s not why the show has merit — it’s because Captain Kirk was a manly man.
I also find it a bit discomforting that he considers “violence is an important option” to be a positive message.
You’d expect me to be angry about this, but I just find it funny. This writer isn’t just against the brony trend; he’s appalled by it, disgusted, and downright terrified. He’s desperately clinging to his increasingly outdated and closed-minded gender norms. These are the people who hold society back from progression, and we validate the ignorance by getting up in arms.
Instead, I say we just point and laugh.