I feel like the internet has been keeping a magical secret from me. A pop subculture revelation waiting in the (Fluttershy) wings. This gender bending gem is of course, the phenomenon otherwise known as bronies.
Another online miracle sprout of the infamous 4chan, the term “brony” (bronies is the plural) refers to adult guys that are massively into My Little Pony. Specifically, bronies revere the Friendship is Magic genre of MLP (an animated TV series), not so much the plastic ones I remember from childhood (which seemed slightly more demure, and a lot less like Powerpuff Girls). Some say that brony-dom is just another ironic fad, but then again, these fellas are pretty hardcore. They’ve even started holding “Bronycon“- a convention for dudes to share their love of the sparkly horses and magical unicorns (etc) of the show.
Bronies don’t seem to fit any stereotypical gender models- they embrace their proclivity for wearing the rainbow wigs and tribute wings of their favourite characters, while still donning their baggy jeans and gaming-related tees. And although some haters may label this “super gay“, the whole thing doesn’t seem aligned with any particular sexual orientation. There are even reports that a brony, upon finding a like-minded man, will fist-bump and say “bro-hoof!” with his compadre.
Apparently the appeal is the “non-combative fandom” and peaceful friendship story lines. In fact the Executive Producer of the series (up until recently) Lauren Faust (she is so cute BTW), is being hailed as some kind of pony queen/god. It seems to me that Faust is preeetty much the internet version of Judith Butler.
The only thing that worries me about this whole situation is that by all definitions, I am out of the brony club. Turns out women watchers of the show are dubbed “pegasisters“, which seems like 100% lamer if you ask me. I’m just not sure why in amongst all of the brony challenges to normative masculinity we have to get all gender-binary all over again. But there you go.
So let’s keep watching this web-wide fanboy wonder unfold- but I implore you, always challenge the broninormative gender assumptions you encounter.