I shouldn’t have to write this post, but let me explain where this comes from.
Recently, after leaving Phoenix Comicon, I heard the following argument (paraphrased)
“Because it’s disgusting. Men shouldn’t be into My Little Pony. It’s a cartoon for little Girls!”
The person speaking was a large, angry man bullying five teenaged girls, who looked angry but unable to speak up at this man who was attacking their favorite fandom.
My first thought was “Then what, do you think I shouldn’t be a fan of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles because it’s a cartoon designed for young boys?” Sexist pig.
Nerd shaming comes in all forms: Gender-based, cosplay-based (you’re too fat/thin/dark/gross/wrong sized to play that character.), and knowledge-based (If you don’t know X then you’re not a real fan) are the most primary, but there are other ways people can shame. Nerd shaming is little more than bullying between nerds; trying to make some other group of nerds and geeks feel bad because you think you are superior in your fandom.
This even happens within fandoms (Some Whovians are notorious for it).
This brings me back to Bronies, and My Little Pony. Exactly what is wrong with a Full Grown Man watching cartoons “made for little girls?”
Myth: The Show is for Girls.
First of all, the show was not made for genitals, because if it was, it would not be for little children.
That being said, it does have a more feminine twist to it, because it has mostly female characters in the show.
Saying “My Little Pony” is only for little girls is like saying that “Transformers,” “GI Joe,” “Voltron,” “Adventure Time,” and “Ren and Stimpy” are only for boys. These cartoons have strong masculine appeal, but girls (and women) watch them as well.
TRUTH: There are valid lessons to be learned by both men and women in MLP
To bring this a point further, the stories and themes of My Little Pony involve some in-depth themes: Friendship, puberty (because what else could ‘Cutie marks’ represent?) , heroism, and responsibility, things every child must eventually learn.
Case in point: a set of characters in the show, the “Cutie Mark Crusaders” are on a quest to gain their cutie marks, often to comical methods. These quests remind me very much of what it was like to be a pre-adolescent girl, “before puberty,” wondering what it would be like when I grow up, when “the big womanly things” were going to happen.
These are three young girls, who, much like many of the young viewers, are also trying to rush to adult hood.
There are infinite lessons to be learned from the three alone, and I think that this is a lesson that men, especially those involved with wives, girlfriends, sisters, and daughters, need.
To use the words of my father and husband to explain why they took home economics in high school instead of shop “I follow girl’s interests so I can meet and talk to girls. If girls like it, then I should too, because hello, I get to hang out with girls.”
Myth: Being a Brony is perverted.
First of all, let me address “Rule 34.” Yes, there is a dark side to the MLP world in twisted perversion. But guess what? The same can be said with Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Supernatural (Wincest), Anime, the Smurfs, Thundercats, He-Man, Star Trek, Star Wars
… and practically every other fandom out there.
My husband once found a book called “Everything you ever needed to know about Clown Porn” when looking for an “Art of Fushigi Yugi” book for me.
So MLP is not alone in it’s shipping/clopping/whatever it is called.
There’s also the whole “Only sick twisted pedophile weirdos would be into a cartoon or collect toys made for little girls.”
Cause I collect Star Wars Action figures. (Obi-Wan Kenobis, to be specific.). Does that make me sick and weird?
That’s what I thought you’d say.
What about fully grown women who have fetishes for Link? or for Jacob/Edward? or even Harry Potter?
Cause I know there are a lot of adult women who fantasize about those youthful characters, and noone thinks twice, or if they do, they don’t say anything.
I’m not going much further down this rabbit hole, but it is important to realize that just because a person is into things considered a “child’s interest” does not mean that they are “into children.” I am not saying that there aren’t sick weirdos within the MLP Fan community, there certainly are some. Just don’t assume that it is the case.
Truth: Bronihood better than being Bullied
Being obsessed with “My Little Pony,” no matter how secretly kept it is, is much better than obsessing over violent video games such as “Grand Theft Auto,” which has lots of criminal and illegal activity, theft among them.
Being obsessed with “My Little Pony” and going to these “Brony” conventions and being able to open up to friends who have common interests is better than feeling left out, lonely and resorting to shooting random classmates at school or feeling so unaccepted and attempting to kill oneself.
Being a brony, celebrating one’s sense of self and acceptance, should be a good thing. Finding people who understand these lessons can help others get out of the dark places. I agree: it is far better to teach our children (and ourselves) to become friends and good neighbors to others than to seek violent means of retribution and conflict resolution or suicide.
Becoming a brony, like identifying with any other fan group, is just one other way to find acceptance.
To me, however, the best argument for My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic is my good friend Joshua.
Joshua is one of my best friends, and when he sees My Little Pony, he lights up with a smile, and starts singing. To Josh, ponies are all about what the show is called: Friendship and Magic.