Are Bronies Changing the Definition of Masculinity?

You might assume that the animated TV series “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” is for little girls, but Bronies would beg to differ. Bronies are adult men who sincerely LOVE the show, and aren’t afraid to admit it. Many people are baffled, even angered, by Brony culture. With their unabashed appreciation for “My Little Pony”, Bronies are challenging our perception of gender roles, which may be more fluid than previously thought!

[Via IHC]


23 Responses to Are Bronies Changing the Definition of Masculinity?

  1. Okay, interesting concept for entertainment purposes, but the question is just silly. Silly because the "bronies" community might be bigger than one would expect, but it's still a very niche community. That's like saying that "furries" are changing social norms. The delayed adulthood/ prolonged adolescence phenomena are the fuel behind bronies, and they manifest in a lot more way that are traditionally masculine. The number of males in their 20s, 30s, and beyond playing Call of Duty etc. on a regular basis should put this question to bed, by itself.

    • Wow, didn't expect to see someone call out playing CoD as a marker for lack of maturity. I stopped playing video games years ago, but one of my forty-something coworkers still plays, mostly to bond with his son. On top of that CoD is played by a huge portion of the people currently serving in US military.

      I would say that obsessive fanboyism is probably a pretty good marker for lack of maturity. Anything else puts you on a slippery slope fast. For example, are mature adults allowed to enjoy Pixar movies? I suspect most do. I like Pixar movies, and FiM too. Between my career and social life I don't have the time to be an obsessive though.

      • Not what I meant but I see how you got there. I simply meant that the popularity of traditionally masculine games like CoD are a sign that the definition of masculine isn't shifting much. I certainly didn't want to imply that FPS = immaturity. Especially since I'll be playing one in about ten minutes.

        • Sorry, but i fail to see how the continued popularity of traditionally “masculine” games is indicating no (or not much) change in the definition. for one it hasn’t necessarily to shift, instead it could simply broaden. for the other even if it were shifting, as you assume, maybe the continued popularity of games as CoD is due to female players starting to play more “masculine” games and making up for the lack of male players.

  2. Couple months ago I stopped in at a McDonald's in north Portland (Oregon) and saw four early 20's men wearing My Little Pony T-shirts discussing their My Little Pony figurines from "girl toy" Happy Meals. The same McDonald's had a number of young adults/teenagers wearing canary yellow super hero style capes so I just chalked it up to Portland being Portland.

  3. So I write stories, go backpacking, make pizzas, act in stage plays, prefer Blue Moons and B52's, read Neil Gaiman and Jack London, fight my friends with homemade weapons and my fists, and am in no way secretive in my desire for Pinkie Pie to rule the entire free world. Problems?

  4. Wow. Some people just like it unironicly? I always thought it was funny, but never took it seriously. I don't see a extreme niche group changing the definition of masculinity. I think the bronies are severely over estimated their numbers and their impact.

  5. Women are encouraged to individually define themselves not by what they are told to be but what they choose to be regardless of if it is defined as masculine or feminine by social norms. The whole idea that this trend should only be practiced by women is absurd. Men who "enforce" their ideas of masculine behavior among other males are generally the least capable of individuality, are usually self-loathing, and the most unhappy of the lot. In male culture, Men trade their individuality and happiness for the approval of these types of men. The real tragedy is that happiness with one's self brings confidence and confidence is an attribute that all women find alluring…

  6. Sorry folks. MLP is a kids show and not kids show as in its good from an all audience standpoint like Avatar: Last Airbender, or even some of the new GI Joe or Thundercats shows. Nope MLP is a kids show with plots designed for kids. Yes I HAVE watched both seasons. Meh. Some episodes are OK. The characters are "fun". But at the end of the day powerpuff girls had more cross age appeal then MLP.
    Don't get me wrong. I have MLP shot glasses and have done what I like to term the rainbow dash. (Trust me you will end up on your *** after two dashes.) The fan made stuff is fun. But the show and the obsession with MLP isn't changing the the def of masculinity any more then furries are becoming more mainstream. Yes in small corners they are, but overall its still subculture. As is Bronies.

  7. I don't think MLP is changing the definition of masculinity. I think that MLP:FIM just hit upon certain themes that men also happen to like. You see the same thing happen with cartoons aimed at boys that have a female audience.

    The only reason I started watching MLP:FIM is because of bronies. When I was a little kiddo, I loved MLP. But it lost it's appeal as I got older. I didn't even know there WAS a new MLP until I started seeing all these jokes about bronies on the internet. When I looked up the definition of a bronie I thought "What? An MLP series MEN like? It's gotta be good!" and I was right. (My logic has always been that the more appealing to both genders a show is, the higher quality the writing and story telling.)

    Oh, and in case this isn't obvious, yes, I am a woman. As a little girl, I loved MLP. My Mom had collectable Breyer Horse figurines she wouldn't let me play with, so MLP toys were the next best thing. xD

  8. Not a bad video. Not a bad video at all. I mean, it's a little behind the curve here, since these questions have already been asked in the community fairly extensively for a few months now, but it's nice to see the concepts getting a wider audience, especially in a critical framework of feminism and gender theory.

    For those who are interested, these are two articles that analyze the question of the show's relationship to gender performance in a bit more detail. They've already made the rounds of the community itself, but newcomers to the show might find them interesting:

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