Bronies: Adult Men Who Like My Little Pony and Why It Disturbs me
Wrapped in her tacky pink nightgown adorned with a flying, rainbow striped Pegasus, my sweet, innocent little 3.5 year old is laying in bed this morning as she looks up at me with a dreamy expression, smiles and says “Mommy? Today can I PLEASE get Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy?” See, my 3 year old DAUGHTER has a little obsession with My Little Ponies. She loves the cartoon, the books and will spend hours combing the tails of her collection of bright colored ponies. But? She’s 3. And a GIRL.
Last night Jason told me about this hilarious video he found. “It’s a mash-up of the My Little Pony cartoon and the Watchmen movie – it’s hilarious.”
Then I get in a Twitter-sation with an old colleague about Toys R US and I mention My Little Pony (or MLP as I will soon learn it’s referenced as) and she asks if I knew about “Bronies.” Not really knowing what it was, and thinking it was maybe boy versions of the popular toy, the first thing that popped up was an article from Wired.com posted last week talking about the “Fanboys” of My Little Pony that call themselves “Bronies.”
With websites dedicated to fan art and fan stories, these are men in their twenties, thirties and forties that are just as obsessed with MLP as my 3 year old daughter.
“First we can’t believe this show is so good, then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life, then we can’t believe we’re walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl’s toy in our Happy Meal,” Allen said in an e-mail to Wired.com. “Then we can’t believe our friends haven’t seen it yet, then we can’t believe they’re becoming bronies too.”
Is ANYONE else as disturbed by this as I am?! I mean yes, everyone has the right to have a cult fascination. Many women in this same age group are obsessed with teenage sparkly vampires, but these are grown men coveting the same toys as my preschooler. The popular Bronie website Equestia Daily, even proudly proclaims to be “corrupting little girls television.” Hasbro (the toy manufacturer) and The Hub (the cable network the show airs on) seem to be OK with this new fanbase. Quoted in the Wired.com article, Lauren Faust, the shows producer argues that the Bronies are “might be bucking the gender socialization of things considered to be “for girls” or “for boys.”
To this point, I will say that my 7.5 year old son, and some of his other friends with little sisters, also really like the show. It’s actually been a great compromise during TV time since both kids want to watch it. But the difference? MY SON IS SEVEN.
Looking at my daughter this morning, still glassy-eyed from her pony dreams, I realized why this bothers me so much…to me, it’s a step away from some kind of child molestation. I see these 30 year old men sitting there with pink plastic ponies and envision them getting turned on. Or worse – are they getting turned on by my daughter playing with her beloved Apple Jack or Pinkie Pie.
Then again, I tend to take things a bit to the extreme. Maybe it is just a innocent, stupid thing for these men, a new fad to obsess over since comic books have become so mainstream and acceptable. One Bronie was even quoted saying:
“As a person with Asperger syndrome, I learned more about theory of mind, friendships and social interactions from this season than I had in the previous 31 years of life.”
What do you think? Is this an innocent fad? Are Bronies just bored “geeks” Or does it leave a bad taste in your mouth?
Update: The pony artist asked me to remove the images of the custom ponies in lingerie. I apologize for using her images in my post. If you would like to view examples of her work, please feel free to visit her site.
UPDATE: The comments to this article are being closed because of threatening and hostile comments. The comments have only proven to me that this whole bronie trend leaves a bad taste in my mouth.