I kinda hate the word Brony.
I know there’s a certain culture of boys and men for whom that term is important. I don’t really want to disrespect the sensitive group of people who enjoy the show Friendship Is Magic: My Little Pony. There are kids I know who needed something they could watch that espoused positive ideas and ideologies, that wasn’t tied to toxic masculinity that they knew was harmful to them, and they took to it. I remember a kid singing Winter Wrap Up at school for his performance event and relaying his feelings about how things were okay about it, and nothing terrible had happened.
I don’t even mind the smut and sex stuff. Hey, knock yourself out, if you can be so kind as to keep it out of the spaces where children googling for their favourite characters might find. Fetishes are fetishes, I ain’t going to give people crap for what they respond to if they don’t make that an issue of greater policy.
Heck, I don’t mind people thinking I’m a Brony, meaning ‘person who watches that show.’ I watched two (maybe three? I’m not sure) seasons of it. I don’t have a problem with people thinking I’m a fan of that show. I’m not really in that culture, because I have a hard time being in any culture. I reject the label usually for the same reason I normally reject other labels – I feel it’s a failure of ego, a sin of self, to label myself. It’s something I do gingerly.
I don’t dislike bronies.
But I do hate the word Brony.
I hate the word Brony because the word wouldn’t exist if we lived in a sensible world. A dude can like Corner Gas without being a Brenty, a guy can like Supernatural without being a Supery, a guy can like 24 without being a Torturey. A guy who likes this one show, this one – very girly, but high quality show – has a special term. A shield, an identity, an element of himself that he can wear to say that he is okay with this media form, and that that is something about himself to be proud of. If he was a girl, it would not be a thing worth a title. And then it’s masculinised and comes with this baggage of defensive self-aggrandizement. You get bronies looking down on other men (who don’t appreciate the emotional depth of the show) and bronies looking down on women (who of course they’d like this show, it’s girly). It’s a term that comes with superiority and a persecution complex, and it comes into existence because boys are both insecure about liking things, and because a girls’ show property has come along that they want.
What fascinates me is that this follows with an effort to erase the girliness. As if the show’s good qualities are secondary to it being girly. This is kind of true – most girly media is bad because we don’t fund it, test it, or listen to women, meaning that most of girly media is first-draft ads targeting done by buffoons. Lauren Faust put her finger on it proudly – the reason most girl media is bad is because we make bad girl media, not because being girl media makes it worse than ‘boy’ media.
Brony is a term of Media Brolonialism and I hate it.
Just like things, dudes! You’re allowed! Stop inventing shields to protect yourself from the horrors of liking things that aren’t coded as mascluine! Women have to do this all the time after all, and there are all these other people as well who don’t even have that luxury!