Bronies: They’re a Thing

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?

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15 thoughts on “Bronies: They’re a Thing”

  1. I tend to be as progressive as they come; and guys who are into My Little Pony is fine by me…. BUT is My Little Pony even ‘worth’ being ‘into’? I mean, I think I remember seeing an episode of that show when I was little (my sisters used to have My LIttle Ponies back in the day) and even though my memory is really sketchy, I hardly remember thinking that the show was very good. Wasn’t it similar to Care Bears? I can understand why some shows are popular and have tons of fans, but other shows seem, uh, er, kinda boring/dumb. But I guess that is life; people have all sorts of different tastes……… but here is where I’m going with this comment; are these guys INTO My LIttle Ponies because the show is ‘worth’ being into it…. or are they INTO it because its considered ‘trendy’ or a type of ‘hipster’ thing to do?

    Can’t we be honest and say that some shows are utter rubbish? Or in my quest to be laid back, progressive, and chill; do I have to say that everything is beautiful in its own way? OR do I have the right to say that someone who puts dog shit on a picture of the virgin Mary has NOT created something beautiful?

    1. I think we can be honest and say that we don’t all agree on what makes a show valuable. These Bronies are not fans of My Little Pony in terms of the old toys or TV show. It’s specifically about this particular reboot of the show. They claim the animation is well done and that the story-line is great. If I had a desire to watch the show, I feel that I would disagree. But that’s me. I don’t see anything that is harmful about this show, so I’m am fine with Bronies.

      I think a part of me connects with them simply because they feel like outcast. Did you hear about the 11-year-old boy who liked this particular My Little Pony show who was so badly bullied that he tried to kill himself. I don’t care how old you are or how odd you think this interest is, there’s no reason to push someone that far off the edge. There’s no reason to dislike a fandom so much that you spread hate about the fans.

    1. I have to tell you this because it was not in the documentary:

      “…adult fans of My Little Pony are generally reluctant to sexualize it and the bronies who do incorporate an erotic element — called “Cloppers” — are already considered a fringe part of the fandom.”

      Now I know… there are not only Bronies but Cloppers. Like squares and rectangles, all Cloppers are Brionies but all Bronies are not Cloppers.

      I discovered this lovely information here: http://bit.ly/1fel1zb

    2. I’m a huge fan of Lauren Faust and what she’s done with the series. I’m a 25 year old, married man. My wife and I really enjoy the show. A few weeks back there was a Mad Men reference. In an earlier season we saw references to The Big Lebowski and Trainspotting. The stories are fun, and even some of the songs are memorable. It’s funny and well-made.

      1. That’s what I hear. I don’t think it’s my thing and, even if it was, I have way too many fandoms to juggle as it is. I can’t take on another at the moment. Nonetheless, I do respect fans of the show. I don’ see anything wrong with it and I don’t see how it’s any different from my own nerdy obsessions.

    1. I remember playing with some my little ponies when I was younger…. I also remember my brother’s favorite color used to be pink (he liked the pink power ranger). My family was pretty good with him. No one made him feel bad for liking pink. I feel like picking on boys and men who like my little pony is ridiculous. People like what they like. What’s the big deal?

  2. I feel like a lot of bronies are kind-hearted, introverted men who are looking for an outlet to express themselves.

    I’m sure that’s spot on. That partly describes the Bronies we met although I’d tend to say they also seemed like awkward garden-variety nerds in some ways (maybe minus the more annoying and creepy fanboy traits)

      1. I think much of the problem is the ’70s, and more especially the ’80s, set a trend that cartoon shows were basically extended commercials for toy lines. Toys are HORRIDLY gender-segregated. I used to work for Toys ‘R Us, and it annoyed the hell out of me. Sure, the boys’ section was really “all the stuff for grownup collectors”, but still. Cimmy and I banned Barbie from our home and after a while, my daughter just could NOT stand anything too girly or too pink, Don’t get me started on Nerf’s “Rebelle” line…

        I think the protesters are stuck on “that’s a show promoting girl toys”, y’know? “Grown men shouldn’t be watching a show meant to sell little girls toys.”

        Here’s a video you might find interesting that illustrates what I’m saying, by BuzzFeed:

  3. I’m not a fan of the show myself, but I totally get the fascination with ponies and friendship (and I have a bunch of MLP figures for restyling and art at home myself; one of them is even featuerd on my blog, see under “art”) and I agree that messages of kindness and supporting each other shouldn’t be exclusively for kids. Why shouldn’t grown up men be allowed to have some more or less innocent fun (ok, there does some weird mix of MLP and adult entertainment exist, but that’s not the core of bronie-dom, I believe) and celebrate friendship and explore a more emotional side of masculinity? Women are kicking ass in soccer and martial arts these days (or becoming a she-hulk^^), so I think it’s only fair to let guys find friends in a community with a love for pink ponies … I’ve met some of these guys and they are really nice and funny – at the hacker congress I went to last year they brought knitting machines and iron-on decals for t-shirts to spread the pony love between all the 3D printers and stuff, and everybody had a great time.

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