A Shifting Society
Last week I wrote about how the children’s series, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has very powerful messages for our lives and our community. I am not the only one who sees this. A legion of fans agree. What is interesting is these fans, these “Bronies,” are made up of mostly heterosexual adult males.
The documentary, A Brony Tale, explores this unexpected demographic. What the filmmakers found was a community of men who are breaking gender definitions. Much has been in the news recently about transgender and physiologically changing gender. What is different here is that these men are men. They want their X and Y chromosomes, are heterosexual, and embrace their bodies as they are. What these men are not embracing is society’s expectations for how men are supposed to act. According to the film, “Bronies have changed the definition of masculinity,” and I agree.
I love how burly men, military men, and men of every color and size stand proud in their truth. They are willing to break through gender-based expectations and embrace who they truly are. As the self-proclaimed “Manliest Brony in the World” said, “We are supposed to chug beer, ride motorcycles, be degrading to women, and like explosions.” Instead he watches a show created for little girls. “I like what I like. I don’t need society to tell me what I like.”
As these men accept, embrace, and proclaim themselves a Brony, something interesting happens, they find new sides to their personality. They release their creativity producing art and music relating to the show. And they also learn to express their feelings and emotions. In the documentary, we get to meet Bryan, an Iraqi war veteran who struggled with depression after serving. For him the show became a cathartic release to help him move forward with life. The Bronies have also created an accepting, caring community which we will explore next week.
In the film, a sociology student and Brony talks about the “Pink and Blue Syndrome.” The concept is that when we are born, the hospital gives us either a pink cap or a blue cap and from that point forward culturally-based gender expectations are imposed. Through the show and the Brony community, prescriptive gender roles are being broken allowing men to express more traditionally feminine traits, and providing space for women to take historically male roles. The sociological Brony wrote a wonderful post about how the series made him “an open-minded, loving, tolerant, and caring person” and how a show for little girls allowed him to free “myself from the chains of hatred and discrimination and have taken a step towards a life of looking upon others with love, compassion, and understanding.”
For the last few years, sources I read have been forecasting how we are moving into a new age. A time when we are moving to a more feminine-based society. This does not mean a woman-led versus a man-lead world. The concept is more about how feminine behaviors and viewpoints of compassion, nurturing, gentleness, and connection will become more dominant instead of the traditional masculine focus on competition, power, ego, greed, and violence. As the ponies teach, it is possible to have a world based in kindness, joy, generosity, honesty, and loyalty. We can find harmony if we are willing to embrace who we are, admit our faults and grow from them, accept and forgive others, and lead from compassion and understanding.
As century-old governments and traditional establishments try to hold on using force and attack, realize this is a last ditch effort to maintain the old norm. This too will pass. We are at the tipping point of a new positive, kind, accepting time, and the Bronies are showing us it is possible.