Bronies. They’re a thing and I think they’re here to stay. I mean, there’s a whole documentary about this fandom and they have a convention. That’s some pretty serious stuff.
For those who don’t know, Bronies are male fans of My Little Pony. The recent rise of this fandom is associated with a reboot of the My Little Pony cartoon. I knew these unique individuals existed before I watched the documentary a few weeks ago. I’ve seen some disturbingly sexualized ponies and that’s just not something I can unsee.
I certainly had my assumptions about this fandom. Then, I had a coworker ask me how this was different from any other nerdy obsession. She was probably right. There’s a lot of stigma associated with fans of anime and fans of video games. Hell, just about any obsession that gets labeled as nerdy has at least one negative stereotype associated with it. I didn’t want to be one of those people assumed bronies had some weird pony fetish or were all lacking in masculinity (not that anyone should let society dictate if they should feel masculine). So, I decided to see what it was all about.
Regardless of what your interests are, I highly recommend this documentary. It may seem a bit childish at first, but it’s worth a look. I would sum up my viewing experience to say that I am completely supportive of bronies. I don’t understand their fascination, but I commend it.
This documentary follows various bronies as they describe what it was like when they first watched the show and how people reacted. Based on this documentary, I feel like a lot of bronies are kind-hearted, introverted men who are looking for an outlet to express themselves. Various professors and physiologist weigh in throughout this documentary. One mentioned how our culture has no message of friendship, generosity and kindness for adults. These are messages we should take to heart for our whole lives, yet they are only seen as appropriate for children. This person suggested that the bronie fandom might be a way for these men to be a part of a community where they are not shamed for being compassionate, caring men.
The pressure men experience in our society is not something I can know. I do know that many young boys are told to ‘man up’ when they cry. They are expected to be tough and never show emotions traditionally associated with weakness. Many of the boys they followed had few friends and simply felt isolated from society. In the bronie community, they found acceptance. The autistic man they followed was particular touching. He had significant social anxiety, but through the connection he had with fellow bronies, he was able to open up and socialize at the convention.
You wouldn’t believe the things this reboot of My Little Pony has inspired. They create artwork, music and light shows. They are invigorated through the friendship of these ponies. It’s weird, very weird, but I respect them. I can’t argue against the message that attracts them to the show.
…and, after all, I’m still in love with Disney movies. Those are ‘children’s shows’ as well, right? Is my love for Disney and less weird?
Have you ever heard of Bronies? What was your first reaction to the fandom? Have you seen the documentary? Did it change the way you viewed the fandom?