Friday, January 3, 2014

My Son is a Brony

My son Ari is five years old and he loves the show My Little Pony. For months, I’ve been purchasing the My Little Pony figurines for my daughter, Samara, who is two years old. One day Ari wanted to watch a show on Netflix and he spotted the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic picture featuring six colorful ponies with enormous anime character
eyes. I figured I’d give the show a try, not knowing if it would hold his attention.

As it turned out, after the first episode he was hooked.

“Mommy, can I hold the ponies while I watch it?” He asked.

“Sure.” I said with a shrug.




“I want that one.” He said pointing to Rainbow Dash.

 He asked to watch episode after episode of My Little Pony all the while holding the tiny pony figurines in his lap.

When I had Ari, I imagined we’d share similar hobbies. I taught him to play chess and twenty questions, but our mutual love for My Little Pony was a surprise. You see, when I was a child, I was obsessed with My Little Pony. I would become infuriated when my brother would steal my precious My Little Pony figures holding them just out of my reach.

I remember one time my mom and I were in a toy store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan buying a birthday present for a friend of mine. I must have been six or seven years old. I begged my mom to get me another My Little Pony. I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allowed to get just one more. I needed my fix.



Flash forward to 27 years later, and my son has the same obsession that I once did. Funny, when I first noticed the new My Little Ponies I was certain it would be my daughter’s thing to collect every single one and covet them like precious jewels. Maybe I’m playing into
society’s stereotypes of what are “girl toys” and “boy toys.” My son certainly knocked those stereotypes out of the water.

I asked Ari what he likes so much about My Little Pony. His answer was simple:

“I just like them.”

There you have it. He just likes them.

When I confessed to my friends that Ari was a My Little Pony enthusiast, I found out there was a name for him. Ari is a Brony. A Brony is defined as a male fan of the show My Little Pony. That’s just what he is, a boy who likes My Little Pony.

I find it funny that there is a name for a boy who likes My Little Pony. It’s perfectly fine for boys and girls to watch My Little Pony as it appeals to children in general and not a particular gender. I have a conflicted relationship with the term “Brony.” On the one hand
I think it’s kind of great because it’s something to be proud of. Yo, what’s up? I’m a Brony, a boy who digs My Little Ponies.

On the other hand, it also plays into the stigma that the show is typically one that girls watch and there’s something weird about a boy watching it. Therefore, society does what we do best and it creates a label for someone who watches the show who isn’t the typical
demographic of a female child.

My point is, we can all love My Little Pony without labeling each other boys who like it and girls who like it. It’s a fun show.

In the words of Ari, on each episode of My Little Pony, “Every pony learns something.”

77 comments:

  1. THANK YOU for letting your little boy play with ponies! My adult brony friends have often had a very difficult time with their parents after admitting they like the show. They don't mind if the guys watch SpongeBob, or any other animated kids' show, but when it comes to ponies, well, that's "weird." It's all part of the idea that things made for girls are somehow lesser, and boys shouldn't be into them. Time to dismantle that whole idea.

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  2. Right on! It's a great show and I'm so glad he's found something he can enjoy! I totally agree that the idea that it's just a girl show is bogus. It's not weird at all to enjoy a show that has morals and cool unique characters!

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  3. "It's not weird at all to enjoy a show that has morals and cool unique characters."
    This sums up why most bronies got into the show in the first place. Thanks for this article by the way! I wish more people would see things as you do.

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  4. Hi there! I'm the Lead Editor of Everfree News, a news site dedicated to My Little Pony. Just stopping in to let you know that we wrote an article about your post that will be going up later this afternoon! I'll be back with a link for you when it goes up :)

    Also! While I agree that society often puts a label to things that it's not comfortable with, I'd say that the term "Brony" was mostly created by Bronies themselves. It's not exactly a bad term, the community embraces it for the most part. If anything, from what's been seen by the media, they're more uncomfortable with the term than the actual concept, heh.

    Glad to hear you're accepting of your son's interests, though, even if they may appear quirky. Too often, parents--more commonly fathers--shun their kids for it, which is unfortunate.



    Thank you very much!

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  5. That's wonderful! I'm excited to see the link when you have it. Both my husband and I support Ari's love of My Little Pony.

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  6. The term "Brony" actually refers to *any* fan of Friendship is Magic who isn't in the target demographic, so it applies equally to men and women! Lately it's been converging on dropping the "not in target demo" bit and just plain meaning "any fan of Friendship is Magic".

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  7. That's what I hear now. Well perhaps Ari is a Brony in training!

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  8. Here you are! :) http://news.everfree.net/2014/01/bloggers-young-son-discovers-my-little-pony/ If you have any questions, requests, or disputes, please don't hesitate to let us know!

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  9. This is fantastic! Feel free to Tweet it and mention me @~Calligraphy @osnsmom

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  10. Great for him to like MLP! I know plenty of little boys that are obsessed with Mine Craft or some of the more violent video games, so shouldn't people be glad that they choose ponies over that?

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  11. Right on! I'm very happy about his chosen obsession. Plus MLPs are awesome!

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  12. This is the sort of article that just warms my heart. I say good on the little guy for naturally being drawn to the show and making a statement (that he likely isnt even aware of, being 5.)

    I hope you and your son can continue to share this interest in the years to come, and again, the article was wonderful.

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  13. Equestria Daily also wrote an article!

    http://www.equestriadaily.com/2014/01/interesting-article-my-son-is-brony.html#idc-cover

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  14. That's so awesome! What a great community! You guys rock!

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  15. There *Is* a seperate name for female fans, though mostly to keep up with the puns, so it can be occasionally offensive. "Bro-ny" and "Pega-sister"... Hehe ^-^

    Also, congratulations, you were featured on Equestria Daily, it seems! The main pony news-site that gets 800,000 unique visitors a day, apparently XD

    If you'd be interested, there is a major source of fanfiction which could be fun to flick through ^-^ Remember that anything can show up, and like any fandom we have our share of more... 'adult' themed stories, but they're infrequent enough and hidden behind a filter. Be sure to read through anything before showing it to Ari, since most of us *are* 18, darker themes can show up. www.fimfiction.com

    And, if you'd be interested, there's a scientific evaluation of the Brony fandom here http://herdcensus.com/ , gathering information from lots of Bronies. It's due to release data for 2014 at the end of the month, if you're interested.


    Another interesting note that you may enjoy is that there's a lot of music and artwork about ponies. Very well made, as well. As it's one of the most popular, i'd suggest http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QZMjFC_RgY to get yourself started.

    I've wall-of-texted too much, I know XD Enjoy yourself! It truly is a great fandom to be a part of! :D

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  16. Well written article on brines. I like it, we don't really need labels to admire a good show. My Little Pony is a breath of fresh air for cartoons in my opinion.

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  17. I love this story, it is unfortunate that some people think it's weird or anything but if everyone were to accept it wouldn't that loose our independence? Like I would rather be someone who is "proud to be a brony" than be a regular "brony". If that makes sense :)

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  18. I hope your son enjoys his time within the herd.

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  19. Hehe I was just about to post that link as well!

    But I gotta say that this is a very nice and lovely post about your son liking MLP-FiM and becoming a brony! Indeed I want to thank you for creating this story and for accepting your sons interests of ponies as well!

    I do see where you're coming from when its to labeling people who may be into something they find weird, but do know that the term brony is in no means an demeaner but an term for any fan of MLP!


    There's also Pegasisters as well but is less used compared to the term brony. But you can call yourself either or just a fan of MLP if you want hehe!

    Yup!
    I'm a proud brony myself who's been part of the fandom going back to December 2010 during it's early roots. The fandom being centered around Friendship is Magic, the 4th gen of MLP!

    To this day, i'm happy to see the fandom grow more and more and spread around the world expanding upon many things over an show about cute and awesome ponies!

    Reading this made me smile and I must say again, thank you for making it Old/New School Mom!


    Here, have an interesting link that will tell you all kinds of stuff about bronies and the fandom around it!
    http://whatisabrony.com/


    Your welcome and feel free to check out all the links to explore and have fun hehe! ^_^

    That is all, see ya!

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  20. What a bright little boy and a very wise and caring mother. Thank you for a wonderful story. good luck and life to you both!

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  21. I think of the term "brony" as the name of a member of the fandom/subculture, not as a gender specific term. I'm a woman and I proudly call myself a brony.

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  22. One more thing, it's shown up on one of the most popular sites we have, Equestria Daily! http://www.equestriadaily.com/2014/01/interesting-article-my-son-is-brony.html
    Go you!

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  23. Hey! I'm a female fan that's outta the demographic (teenager), and I prefer to be called Brony. It mostly refers to anyone out of the demographic who wants to be called by the name in my eyes. Nice to see that you're totally accepting of your son though, dude, a lot of people hate the idea of dudes liking colorful ponies or even tomboys, in my case, I've gotten ridicule-- and I'm a girl!
    Thanks for not judging him, you're cool for it :)

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  24. Welcome to the Herd. Tonight we drink from the skulls of our enemies.

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  25. Suggestion for bonding, read Past Sins together while listening to Einhorn's Voices of Light (the playlist is on Youtube).


    Old Sophocles wishes he could invoke feels like that.


    (I could recommend a list of must-read fanfics to fill a dictionary, that that's one of the best and a good starting point.)

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  26. “My point is, we can all love My Little Pony without labeling each other boys who like it and girls who like it. It’s a fun show.”
    I don’t think the word “brony” is to blame. Though some female bronies want to be called “pegasisters”, “brony” has kinda become a unisex name for fans of MLP, just as you call a “whovian” someone who likes Dr. Who, or a “trekkie” someone who likes Star Trek.
    But I have to admit that I don’t actually expect people to accept my appeal for MLP; I find myself wanting people to react, directly blame me for being a brony, so that I get a chance to *make* them accept me. It’s like I’m putting ponies everywhere just to show I’m a human before being a brony.
    I can keep control on it, but I think that MLP is becoming (has become?) an emblem of some kind of crusade against stereotypes, and it might explain a lot about rabid bronies… (Not sure if totally in the topic; I’ll just let this here…)

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  27. I digress, I'm a major lit and drama geek. I'm walking my young niece through The Six Deeds of Harmony. http://www.fimfiction.net/story/37858/the-six-deeds-of-harmony

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  28. no, don't let it happen it will turn out like i one other kid, what happened was he watched the show and somewhat he stared spazzing out he said his mind was hurting and he can feel something strange when he looked at the show he almost committed suicide. after a few days he turned satanic and said evil things when he saw the show. mlp fim is satanic

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  29. I'd just like to point out that while brony and pegasister are the terms for fans outside of the target demographic, brony is used by many female fans, some of whom use it exclusively to describe themselves. So brony is much more of a gender neutral term than it seems at first glance.

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  30. Look, I don't think she's interested in reading some fanfics to her son, especially considering how dark most of them are. He's still just learning to read.

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  31. Pish. I got my niece the Rime of the Ancient Mariner with original illustrations for Christmas. Kids can handle it and it's never to early to start building vocabulary.

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  32. Heck yeah, My Little Pony is awesome! A lot of people watch it now.

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  33. Because everything goes better with data...


    In a 2013 survey of nearly 22,000 bronies, 40.1% of bronies agreed or strongly agreed that any fan of MLP is a brony, while 33.3% disagreed or strongly disagreed. However, 91.4% of bronies believed that bronies can be either male or female, and barely 10% favored the use of the term Pegasisters.


    Apart from the awesome art and music, one great activity your son (and daughter, when she's older) could get involved with is the brony community's embodiment of the element of generosity. Groups like Bronies for Good and the Brony Thank You Fund have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for projects ranging from orphanages in Africa to endowing animation scholarships. It's never too young to get kids involved in the idea of giving back (something I'm sure you already do!)

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  34. I thought 'brony' meant like.. older fan of the show. I think five-year-old boys are in the target demographic, so I don't know if it's okay to call a small child a brony, gender-regardless, because it's totally their demographic.
    Society may eventually force a gender role onto him. He must be a big buff man who can't tell colours apart, and spits, or something. But maybe society will be changed by time he's at that age. He's just not at that age yet, especially if he hasn't started first grade/kindergarten.
    And judging by this article, it seems obvious you haven't forced him to be what society thinks he should be, you let him express himself, and I'm glad for that. He will be a much better rounded human being than most when he's older.

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  35. must say i applaud you so much for this i am a recent addition to the brony community and i must say i wish my family was this excepting of it... so good on you

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  36. I came acros this on equestriadaily and I just thought its thecoolest to hear of such a little guy getting into the show lol its the firts story I've herdof and it just made me smile

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  37. I found this article on Equestria Daily, the brony fandom's most popular news site, just to let you know. I want to thank you for your support of your son's love of My Little Pony, my perents all but disowned me for it.



    I also want to let you know that this fandom is the best one your son could be a part of, as I'm sure that he will be when he gets older. This fandom is the kindest, most loving one in the world, and we're willing to accept anybody for who they are.

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  38. It's not exactly a parenting convention to read things like Past Sins to a five year old. Plus, it's understandable if she's more then a little wary of Fanfiction, especially because of things like My Immortal and DEFINATELY 50 Shades of Grey giving it a bad reputation. In fact, if I was a parent and not in a Fandom, I wouldn't go near fanfics with a 10 foot pole.

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  39. Why not? Sideshow Bob read the D'artagnan Romances to 9-year-olds and the little turds still preferred to see him shot out of a cannon. Clearly, their parents didn't expose them to proper literature soon enough.

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  40. Actually, I think it's the members of the fandom who created the name for themselves (in the same way that Star Trek fans are known as "Trekkies"). Names that other people tend to give bronies are typically a mix of homophobic slurs and profanity...

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  41. Awesome article! - i came here through the link at Equestria Daily,

    I was kinda curious as to how much research you've don't on "Bronies" now that
    your son Ari has grown fond of the show. Being the community goes all over the place from extremely talented Musicians that make original songs inspired by the show or remixes of songs from the show, or Extremely Talented Artists that draw their own fan art inspired by the show to Video editors that make either random funny videos, music videos, or even their own custom animations!

    I'm a lesser known Video Editor on youtube that i make PMV's (Pony Music Videos) as well as movie trailer parodies with the ponies. and just wanted to share one of my really early pony videos, its' one of the first i ever did with ponies, and was just wondering of there were any other videos you may have stumbled across recently.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-maeywi4jY


    Again awesome Article, being you seem to have always been the long time fan but even though others have mentioned it for Ari - Welcome to the Herd!

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  42. Well I'm a 15 year old girl, and I love My Little Pony. I also have two younger brothers (3 and 6) who love it just as much as I do. My parents also like it too, so there's nothing for me to worry about ahaha. My mum thinks they'e cute and dad does too. Sometimes I even catch my dad singing the theme song. lol

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  43. I thought the term "brony" was used for defining adult male men (or women if you don't like "pegasister"

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  44. Of course, saying something is "one of the kindest fandoms" is a lot like saying something is "one of the most generous corporations" or "one of the most peaceful empires".

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  45. I certainly hope you don't get too overwhelmed with all the bronies coming out of the woodwork to cheer you on o_o; The fandom is *kind of huge*. It's long surpassed that point of critical mass where loud and objectionable minority factions have started to form, and I hope you'll pay them no mind; the vast majority of us make friendliness the very core of our personality, so I apologize in advance if you encounter any off-putting oddities.

    Some nice stuff to look for in MLPFIM is moral compass: the show does its very best (most of the time) to teach about integrity, courage, empathy, patience, optimism, and leadership -- if you watched the very first episodes, you might know them as "honesty", "loyalty", "kindness", "generosity", laughter," and "magic", though! It can prove to be an excellent tool to promote good social habits. When I have kids, I'm hoping MLP will be helpful to me as well.

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  46. Even though as someone mentioned there that there are seperate names for male and female fans (Bronies and Pega-sisters) Brony is also gender neutral and is used for the whole fandom so you could have both girl and boy Bronies, I don't call myself a Pega-sister even though I'm female, I always refer to myself as a Brony :)

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  47. Even though as someone mentioned that there are separate names for male and female fans (Bronies and Pega-sisters) Brony is also gender neutral and is used for the whole fandom so you could have both girl and boy Bronies, I don't call myself a Pega-sister even though I'm female, I always refer to myself as a Brony :)

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  48. I'm not seeing any sign of anyone asking, so I'll be the first to ask it...Who is his favorite pony? As to the article itself, good on you for being so cool about it! My own mother gives me odd looks whenever the subject of ponies comes up, but at least she doesn't outright express displeasure toward my bronyhood, so I guess that's something. ^_^; And I'm mostly with RandomBrony: The term "brony" doesn't specifically mean a boy who likes ponies, more just people who love the show, and/or enjoy the company of the fanbase. But it's not just for people outside the target demographic who love the show...I've met/heard of young girls who identified as bronies!

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  49. Yep, ponies. Though they technically have a term for girls (mostly women, i guess) who watch the show too. Slightly less common "Pegasister" XD

    Both my boys watch MLP, and they're 2 & 4. makes for good saturday night TV time, because even my husband likes the show.

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  50. This made me so happy to read! You're story hit me right here! *points to heart*


    Absolutely lovely!

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  51. I will admit that I became a fan of the show in late 2012. At that time, I had seen G1 and G2 of My Little Pony. P.S: I'm a 29 year old male here. The fact that I remembered the older generations of My Little Pony (especially G2 which is like the black sheep of cartoons that I've seen in my life so sorry fans of G2), I felt ashamed of admitting that I have seen them.

    And here I am, after watching various clips of it on YouTube, various fanarts on DeviantArt when it started around 2010 and drifting away from it after getting flashbacks of G1 and G2's My Little Pony, one clip did it in for me that made me go: That's My Little Pony??? I watched the episode from that clip and thought, "meh, it was alright." Then I saw another one. "whoa, okay THAT was really good." After watching the Season 1 premiere, I got hooked and I haven't looked back going into Season 4. It's like you said: "It's not weird at all to enjoy a show that has morals and cool unique characters." And that's why I like G4's incarnation of My Little Pony: it has something that cartoons had back then that what cartoons today DON'T have.

    But.....sadly. Only two people know of me being a brony and that's my younger brother and sister who would tease me about it, in good fun of course. I am actually scared of letting anyone else know about me being a fan of the show, especially family which is quite frankly the worst type to tell. I know the whole "if they are [insert family member/friend here], they should respect your opinions" cliche but still.....

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  52. What do you guys think of the upcoming documentary movie on Bronies?

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  53. I didn't know there was another one. Or do you mean the Unreleased Tapes?
    http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bronies-the-unreleased-tapes

    For the Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, which came out last year, obviously there were a lot of subjects merely glossed over, but they could only cram so much into an hour and a half. If you haven't seen it, it recently got put up on netflix.

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  54. Good choice. The moment I was irrevocably hooked was seeing Dash breaking the sound barrier, circa March 2011.

    I enjoyed the older shows back in the '80s and still revisited them as a guilty pleasure as a man, but seeing such an awesome feat of physical prowess (set to Guile's Theme in that particular vid) I decided from that moment I would never be ashamed of liking ponies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bjkM_y-Wps

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  55. Yeah, Dashie is awesome.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmYDVNWaARU

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  56. This is just touching. Award for best mom?

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  57. I got into the fandom by just randomly seeing it on Netflix and going "click", because why not? Strangely I got into it the exact same way your son did... And I'm pretty close to the stereotype for that show, but I like it just as any Brony would.

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  58. Brony is a gender neutral term for a fan of the show. Happy to see your son enjoys the show though!

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  59. Awesome! If anyone else is on the fence about the show, I wholeheartedly recommend it. Its just simply a great deal of good clean honest to goodness fun.

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  60. MLP:FIM is a far more wholesome animated show than, say, South Park, or even the Simpsons, with good life lessons, and the animation is far more appealing. But the charm of the program lies in the characters, who are not only good role models for young women, but eminently likable in their own right, which is probably why so many men (and little boys) like the show. They make the various Disney princesses look like two dimensional characters. Take Twilight Sparkle, who is a brainiac, vaguely aspergian cross between Temperance Brennan and Rory Gilmore, with a touch of Samantha the Witch thrown in. Or Pinky Pie: ditsy, vivacious, ebullient, with a photographic memory and the intellect and skills to build an aircraft from scratch. Ari seems to like Rainbow Dash, who is the Danica Patrick, or fighter pilot of the Mane Six--he is in good company, as Dashie has a large fan base in the armed forces fighting for us in Afghanistan.

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  61. I, too, was nonplussed...until I watched a couple of episodes:


    http://files.sharenator.com/memes_it_has_begun_brony-s500x1022-152558-580.jpg

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  62. There are some surprisingly macho fans of the show, like military men, and firearms officionados. Google "My Little Pony"+"AR-15" (or whatever other gun) and be surprised at cutie mark-emblazoned stocks, etc. Irony may be part of this (i.e., cute and girly meets action), but the fact that characters like Rainbow Dash and AJ are action heroines--which men tend to like--is probably behind the macho male fan love.

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  63. They usually chose ponies AND that:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km1YqjzIsJE

    Boys will be boys. And you would not like Fluttershy when she gets angry...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIpTX4rWOpE

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  64. Just to clear a few things up as a real brony. A more accurate definition for the term "brony" is of an adult or teen that enjoy's the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Generally a brony is a male, but many adult females also identify with the term brony. "Brony" was also a term invented by bronys to identify other fans of the show and proclaim their love for the show. Some reasons your son my like MLP: FIM is that the characters are some of the most three dimensional characters of any cartoon ever and break many girly tropes, also the story is very well written.

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