If you have taken time to look through our buttons, chances are you have seen this one. The character is Rainbow Dash from the new My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Depicted as headstrong and sporty pony who never likes to lose, Rainbow Dash has taken a lot of flak for being a stereotypical depiction of a lesbian. While the show’s creator has rebutted these claims, saying that being a tomboy does not make a person a lesbian, fan art has often suggested otherwise.
Modern media is awash in LGBT characters, sexuality in popular media has been an ever evolving phenomenal. But what happens when something traditionally associated with being girly or gay suddenly becomes immensely popular with an audience its creators never envisioned? In this case, adult males who watch My Little Pony. Does My Little Pony itself make this new group of fans a part of the queer community or is My Little Pony changing what it means to be an adult male entirely?
While adult My Little Pony fans or “bronies” are often questioned about their sexuality, the vast majority of this male fan-base is heterosexual. What is going on here then? Is My Little Pony redefining masculinity? Other overly cute feminine things like Powerpuff Girls are more broadly seen associated with the girl power movement of the 1990s, while other shows such as Sailor Moon have made headway into various parts of the queer community. Neither of these however can be seen as shows where you would find your stereotypical red blooded heterosexual male. So why is My Little Pony so popular with its adult male fan-base?
I personally find it interesting to think about appropriate feminine and masculine behaviors in themselves. Heterosexual women often have a broader range of acceptable gender appropriate behaviors than men do when it comes to masculine behaviors. There is everything from tomboys to girly girls in this spectrum, despite the fact that flirting with the former can often bring suspicions of being a lesbian.
Men on the other hand have a much more limited range of gender expression. Any heterosexual male associating himself with activities deemed to be too feminine will immediately bring about accusations of homosexuality and being a sissy, while gay men are often excluded from the public’s view in activities viewed as masculine (I know depictions of masculine gay men are common in the queer community but these depictions do not usually make it outside of that community).
What do you think?