A comment was offered by a nice young lady on this site’s post about the MLP:FiM Season 3 Teaser that got me to thinking. What is it about this incarnation of My Little Pony that is creating such devotion?
Jenn wrote in the comment:
“23 years old and I’ve been on Team MLP since the 80s – even based my college senior thesis project on them – still trying to understand where the brony fascination came from, but the more the merrier!!”
Well, I know where my fascination with My Little Pony started…I was something like ten and could not openly play with girl’s toys, and I was jealous of my sister’s few My Little Ponies. Today, I now own some of my own dolls- right now just Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Trixie. They are set up in front of my TV with Twilight and Rarity ‘cuddling’. Yeah, mentally, I’m still something of a little girl. I never quite got to grow up into an adult.
Then again, as Erin at Girls With Slingshots put it, “Man, being an adult is so much better when you forget you’re suppose to be boring.”
I have been thinking about this. Why is this version of My Little Pony so fascinating to people. I certainly think part of it has to do with the fact that it is now easier for us all to get in touch with each other. Certainly back when Jenn first started with MLP, and I wanted to play with them…well, there wasn’t an internet.
I think part of it is actually about the shift in gender perceptions. There is something not-stereotypically-girly about Friendship is Magic. The series may be about the power of friendship, and to a certain amount sisterhood, but it is not about pink and fluff. Growing up with civilization stuffing me into a male role (I’m intersexual and transsexual), I was exposed to this societal belief that men and boys were suppose to be hands off and distant. Girls were suppose to be touchy-feely. Girls were suppose to hug and be about emotions while men were suppose to be rough and tumble.
Friendship is Magic tosses a lot of those stereotypes out the door. While Rarity and Fluttershy are the most feminine of the Mane Six, Apple Jack and Rainbow Dash are both pretty boy-ish. The Mane Six run across the entire spectrum of what it means to be a woman or a girl. Not all girls are into fashion the way Rarity is, and not all are shy the way Fluttershy is. Heck, there are times when one expects Fluttershy to end up morphing into an early Disney Princess. Twilight is kind of midline, as is Pinkie Pie.
The thing is, there are a lot of boys and men who don’t fit into the stereotypes of what it means to be a MAN, and for them, this is a series that gives them an outlet. Out there, be it Transformers or GI Joe, the pickings are pretty slim for men and boys who want something that isn’t going to push them into being Manly Men.
This is certainly my thoughts on this, but I wonder what others have to say about it. Why do you, our readers, be you male or female or something in between, why do you think that this incarnation of My Little Pony is so popular?