First of all, no, shut up, erm. Why.
This is just a quick post to briefly discuss something Jenny Nicholson says in her The Last Bronycon video:
Whether or not you know anything about MLP, MLP: Friendship is Magic, and/or the brony phenomenon, this video is fascinating and worth watching.
Specifically I want to say “Hey, yeah, that’s a good point!” to one thing she says early in the video:
“And I speculate that maybe, in a broad general sense, men are not socialized to recognize uncomplicated, unsexual fondness for a female character.”
Obviously this speculation is useful when discussing bronies but of course I heard her say it and was like “holy shit that’s probably extremely true and applicable to how broadly, generally, men engage in way more than just My Little Pony” and it became the most profound thing I’d heard all week, which wasn’t difficult. I’ve been watching reaction videos mostly, lately. Send help.
But seriously, this nuanced, multifaceted look at the brony fandom is really engaging and educational, if you like to learn more about cultural phenomena specifically in the internet age (as I do). The one speculation I highlighted here is followed by a whole bunch of other observations and critiques that are also really interesting. At her most scathing, discussing how smugly some adults will defend their sexualization of child characters (which as we all know is not something unique to bronies AT ALL), she says something like “it’s like they’re LARPing in a universe where this is all totally fine and OK,” and I liked that. It’s the best, most clarifying way I’ve ever heard someone describe the bad-faith way ephebebehephiles talk about their ephhepphhhhpephhphphphebephilia. (Pedophilia. It’s pedophilia.)
But I promise it’s mostly not about the strange sexualization of ponies and children’s media and the occasional but awful sexualization of children characters, though that’s probably what you would be expecting from something about bronies. Basically she addresses these aspects, calls the harmless parts harmless, calls out the not-so-harmless, and talks sincerely about all the rest of the fandom too, including parts she herself helped shape. While I never watched her parody Friendship is Witchcraft, I watched other popular fan-made parodies of other animated media around that time and if I’d been into the MLP universe it looks like Friendship is Witchcraft would have been exactly my speed. It’s always interesting to see creators of viral internet stuff grow and look back on their creations introspectively and thoughtfully, so that was also a highlight.
Anyway it’s good. May she and others like her document more cultural/internet phenomena. Also! Bonus nostalgia points: I had forgotten I had a pony or two from G1 or G2, and that I combed her hair, until watching this video. It was not an earth-shattering revelation or anything but that was kind of nice.
How to care for YOUR pony’s hair. Because it is relaxing.