Okay, bronies. As a fellow fan of My Little Pony and self-identified brony, and as someone who has sung the praises of this particular fandom on multiple occasions, I’m telling you we need to talk. And although I usually use the term ‘brony’ as a catch-all term, in this case I’m directing this at the ‘stereotypical’ straight, white, cis-male brony.
Let’s get something straight. I am a hundred percent supportive of your enjoyment of MLP. I think it’s awesome that you’re finding enjoyment outside your gender’s ‘assigned’ genres, and I encourage you to continue. I am sorry that sometimes people make fun of you for this. But for all you straight, white, cis-male bronies, outside of your pony-related choices of entertainment, you have ALL the privilege. By dint of your being straight, white, cis-guys, your life comes with the lowest difficulty setting.
This is important to remember. Privilege isn’t something to feel guilty about, because it’s not something you can change. But it is something to be aware of. And, being aware of this privilege, you need to make sure you do two things.
1) Do not ever appropriate the sufferings of actual minority groups. The phrase “I know what persecution is, because I am a brony” is not okay. Have you, as a brony, ever been denied legal rights or been considered less than human? Is bronydom a fundamental part of your genetic makeup that you can’t help? Has a religious establishment ever told you that you were going to hell for being a brony? (Or maybe it’s okay to know you’re a brony, but not okay to act on that bronydom?) Are you more likely to be targeted for discrimination by law enforcement, and do crimes committed against your group often go unreported or unprosecuted? Are there countries where you could be killed just for openly being a brony? Stop and think about what you’re saying. Being a brony is being part of a fandom, not part of an underprivileged minority group.
2) Actually make an effort to love and tolerate all people. Bronies seem to be constantly congratulating themselves for being open-minded enough to love something that is considered girly. Step back, bro(nie)s, and consider this: when you think you’re being accepting for deigning to like something girly, or attempt to recast MLP as somehow masculine, you’re actually reinforcing gender stereotypes, not breaking them down. You’re saying “usually girly things are dumb and stupid but, guys, look, this girly thing broke the mold and became awesome!” or “There are totally badass bits in here and therefore it’s manly and okay to like”, instead of “Gee, it sure is dumb to say what genders get to like what kinds of entertainment.”
The MLP fandom is, in general, an inclusive place to be. But these are some of many ongoing issues that need to be addressed. Take heed, my colts, and go forth having learned a (friendship) lesson.