This is a fad I never would have expected in a million years. A group of the gifted kids at my son’s junior high are into “My Little Pony.” And I don’t mean girls. I’m talking about boys! They call themselves “bronies.” Apparently it’s a nationwide fad. See this video for the explanation of how it got started:
This is not the show you may remember from the 80’s. It’s a completely different show, a new one that launched recently. It’s currently in its second season. My older son got caught up in this fad, and I was curious about the show, so I watched the first episode.
I get why boys like it. In fact, I’m jealous of modern-day girls that they have a show like this. If this show had been on when I was a girl, I would have loved it. It’s a fantasy adventure show with all female protagonists, aimed at girls. The ponies have magic and they go on quests and fight dragons and also deal with ordinary kid problems like overcoming shyness, learning to be more assertive, making friends, etc.
When I was a kid, My Little Pony seemed to be all about brushing your pony’s hair, and the adventure shows were all aimed at boys. To their credit, they all included some girl characters in reasonably active roles. Still, it’s kind of a bummer that I had to watch the “boy” shows to see the content I wanted to see. I watched D&D, He-Man, that sort of thing.
This new “My Little Pony” is amazing. It’s astonishingly, subversively feminist. Not only are all the protagonists female and doing active things like going on quests, but the world, as presented, appears to be completely matriarchal. The goddesses and villainesses are female, and so far male characters only appear as sidekicks.
That a show like this has attracted a significant male audience astounds and impresses me. And gives me hope for the future. There’s a belief that boys and men won’t read/watch stories with female protagonists or that are targeted at girls and women, and that may be true some of the time, but clearly it is not true all of the time.
The show is also visually interesting. This may be part of its appeal. The animation style appears, to me, to be half anime, half World of Warcraft. Seriously! Look at those towers in the opening scenes and tell me you’re not in the Blood Elf starting zone.