With the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic coming out next month, I feel now’s right about a good time to talk about a subject that’s been on my mind for a while. Actually, it’s been on my mind for a pretty long time: Bronies…
I used to watch the original My Little Pony a bit when I was a kid, but I can’t remember really much of it now, and I also used to own some of the toys. That’s as much experience as I had with My Little Pony before hearing about the new 2010 version. I didn’t really know what to expect exactly, as the animation style looked very different from the previous show, and I heard about its popularity. Then I heard about the bronies. Even though the target demographic for the show was originally young girls, the show had also received a following of teenage boys and adult men. These guys who consider themselves fans of the show call themselves bronies. My first reaction was curiosity, and it gradually grew. I don’t mind if guys like something like, say, Sailor Moon (I know lots of guys who love Sailor Moon), but this show in particular is so big, and I mean SO big that there are various websites and blogs dedicated to all things bronies, and even Internet memes such as “Welcome to the herd” and “Brohoof”.
So what was it that attracted them so much to the show? Let’s take a moment to see the show on its own. After watching the entire two seasons, all I can say is that even though I’m not a fan of this show, I do like it and for what it is I think it’s very well done. To not get into it too much, I’ll get into one of the best aspects of the show: the characters. Each character of the main cast represents some high-school archetype, so it creates a diversity in the group and it’s easy to distinguish each character and personality from another (and anybody can pick their favourites), but at the same time they aren’t cardboard cut-outs of those archetypes. They have real humanistic attributes and flaws, personalities and interests and emotions that can relate to in various different ways. Actually they’re quite complex for a kids show. That way we can seem them develop over the course of some episodes. Characters like these are very important in a show where kids need to learn not just about morals and values, but about their own identities and the friends they make (which plays as one of the central themes of the show). Besides, these characters are fun, they’re funny, they’re interesting in their own ways, and as a whole just very likeable. I may not be a big fan of this show, but I am looking forward to next season.
Once Lauren Faust (who worked in shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) was given the opportunity to recreate the show for Hasbro, she cleverly removed the “girly” nature of the original show (like “tea-parties” and “sleep-over” story lines) to create more in-depth characters and adventurous settings. This way it wouldn’t be something just for girls, but also something for everyone. With the great animators, writers and staff of the show, they succeeded and received critical praise for its moral outlook and humour. The fandom came as a surprise to the creators of the show, and they were glad that people were drawn to it.
But where did all the praise and the fandom come from? In an article by Amid Amidi, he expressed the great quality of the show and talked about Faust’s impact on the TV animation industry and children’s programming. The nature of this article led to more interest in the show, with audiences paying more attention to factors such as the animation, the plot, the humour and of course the characters. My Little Pony: FiM proved that shows like these can really expand its audience. I think this phenomenon is so big because of the impact that this show had on the way animated shows could be made, especially since this is a show that promotes tie-in toys AND was for young girls. Something like this was created with such a good quality that even older men couldn’t ignore.
Even with all that said, not everyone’s too fond of bronies. If you haven’t seen this, watch this video and pay attention to the reactions of the teenagers in the video:
When referring to the opening of the show itself, with the exception of most of the girls and a guy named Devin, most of the teens said things like “I disapprove of this” or “Why do I have to look at that?” If a person doesn’t want to watch My Little Pony: FiM solely by its appearance, I get it. Not everybody will like this style and no one’s forced to watch anything. That’s their choice. Entertainment is entirely subjective. But what annoyed the heck outta me was when they moved on to the question part of the video. They were surprised when they heard about the male fan base of the show, but then some started saying things like “You should not be watching that if you’re a guy”, “They want to be more like girls?”, “Why waste your time?”, “Get a life”, “If you’re a brony, you shouldn’t be allowed to call yourself a man”, etc. See where I’m getting at?
With the exception of some of the girls in the video, and two guys who said that there’s nothing wrong with the guys liking the show (and Devin admitting that he loved what he just watched), most of these teens considered them losers or guys who have little to no masculinity. They just consider these guys so pathetic and are almost insulted by this fact. I have something to say about this.
For one thing, how can you criticise them for liking a show that YOU haven’t even seen? Yeah, you don’t have to watch the show if the opening didn’t appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean you’ve seen the entire thing and know exactly what the show’s about. Secondly, it’s none of their business to tell people what they should like or shouldn’t like. There are no rules to personal tastes.
As far as the rest goes, people just assume that because they have an interest in ponies and magic that they’re not considered men. Really? Have we become such a society that we have to tell men how they should act and think? Even what they should like? That’s just generalising. You really shouldn’t threaten their masculinity like that. If you’re telling a guy that he should be ashamed of himself for, say, doing ballet, that’s JUST AS BAD as telling a girl that they shouldn’t play football. If it’s ok to say that a girl does football, why isn’t it ok to say that a guy does ballet?
That’s right, Billy Elliot! You show ’em! Do the plie on their asses!
On top of that, they act as if My Little Pony is the only thing these guys think about. I know that your interests are a part of who you are, but PEOPLE CAN HAVE MORE THAN ONE INTEREST. These guys may like My Little Pony: FiM, but that’s not necessarily the ONLY thing they like, or even one of their primary interests. A guy can like both drinking beer and playing video games and still like stuff such as flowers and fairy tales.
So to those brony haters out there, I don’t like your attitudes. You hate the show or you don’t want to watch it, then don’t whine about either the show or its fandom. Just leave the bronies alone and move on. I’m not stopping you from what you like, so why should you stop other guys from doing so? As for all the bronies out there, good for you! Good to show that you’re proud of what you like. But the same goes to you: just ignore the haters out there. Fighting against them won’t do anything either, so try not to do so. Just do your own thing and try not to hate people for having opposing opinions on the show or those who try to tease you.
But still, things aren’t that simple. Because the internet is so big and open to everyone where anyone’s allowed to speak their minds out, people complain about a lot of things. There will be people who don’t like the idea of bronies. The brony phenomena is very huge, so seeing bronies practically all over the internet would probably make someone go nuts. I doubt this article will change anything about this whole hatred, but I would really like more people to be aware of this issue, and maybe some brony haters to be aware of their attitudes.
Now with all that’s said and done, I shall depart.
And if you get this following reference, you’re 20% cooler than those other guys. 😉