The Pony Expression of Masculinity

So, as some readers may know, I’m a big fan of Ross Scott’s Machinima Series Freeman’s Mind.  In the latest episode, there’s a bit where he says something about “it’s 20 degrees cooler here”.  This fairly innocuous line got people in the YouTube comments quite excited–admittedly, YouTube commenters are fairly easy to excite–and ultimately it turned out that was because they thought it was a reference to something called “My Little Pony“.

If you’re like me, you wondered “What is ‘My Little Pony?’, and you went and found out that it’s a cartoon show about colorful ponies.  Then you wondered “why are so many people watching Freeman’s Mind also so knowledgeable about that show?”  You wouldn’t think there would be much overlap between a series about ponies with names like “Pinkie Pie” and a series about a foul-mouthed, paranoid scientist fighting extra-dimensional aliens in the midst of a military cover-up.

But, turns out there is something of a fan cult of “My Little Pony” among 18-34 year old men.  They are apparently called “bronies”, and… well, I guess, just read about it.  According to the Wikipedia page, there is a fan fiction based on these ponies entitled “Fallout: Equestria”, which apparently combines the Fallout games–which are rather dark, to put it mildly, with said colorful ponies.

All-righty, then…

To my mind, this is kind of weird.  I just don’t how else to say it.  That said, objectively speaking, it’s not really that different from being a “Trekkie” or what have you, and fan sub-cultures always look weird from the outside.  I don’t get it, but whatever.

Now, since gender stereotypes are involved here, there’s naturally a political component to this.  And Kurt Schlichter at the conservative site Big Hollywood writes about just how dreadful this pony stuff really is, and he makes sure to explain why being a Star Trek nerd, in his opinion, is not at all the same thing.

First of all, I don’t buy into that too much.  Whether you watch Kirk or Twilight Sparkle, whether you give yourself Vulcan ears or a colorful pony mask to go to your convention of similarly-dressed enthusiasts, you are ultimately just a very devoted fan of some TV series.  It doesn’t say all that much about you, really.  (Freddie DeBoer could probably do this point more justice than I can.)

And the other thing is, like I said in the beginning, a lot of these fans are also fans of action and war video games with guns, explosions, and all the other stuff stereotypically “masculine” entertainment is supposed to entail.  I think this video sums up their tastes well:

It’s not like these people aren’t into all the stereotypical stuff as well.  I think that kind of reinforces my point that you can only tell so much about a person from what games/TV shows/movies etc. that they watch.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?