One might assume My Little Pony and the military go together like a unicorn and an M2 machine gun.
But there are those who would disagree. Service members apparently comprise some segment of My Little Pony fans of both genders who are known as “bronies.”
For the uninitiated, the toy and animated television series marketed to girls in the 1980s and 1990s was reinvigorated in a new series, “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” back in 2010. It is a craze with a fan base that is rabid about characters with names like Applejack, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie.
A special lunch for service members at BronyCon got a visit from Tara Strong, who voices the magical pony Twilight Sparkle.
No sooner did Strong praise the men as “twilightlicious,” than they broke out in a baritone of Twilight Sparkle’s signature song:
“T-W-I-L-I-G-H-T, and ain’t no other pony troll down like me. I’m twilightlicious!”
The video was posted by a YouTuber, “navybrony.”
Since BronyCon, regulars on the Military Times forums have been questioning whether it was legal (or tasteful) for a national guardsman to appear there in ACUs with a My Little Pony-themed patch on his arm, called a “cutie mark.” A picture of him with the rainbow-colored lighting patch, which appeared on BuzzFeed, got no love on our forums.
“He should lose his man card for [attending the convention]alone!” wrote garhkal.
But, evidenced by the Facebook fan page, “Military Bronies,” which has more than 1,500 “likes,” there appears to be a burgeoning community friendly to the movement.
On the Military Bronies page, one poster was was worried. How common are bronies in the Army? He was about to join and wanted to know how open to be.
“Hard to say,” was the reply. “Best advice I can give is be subtle about it. Those who share your interests will notice, and you may even make some battle buddies that way. Best of luck to you as you launch your Army career!”
On military brony website FOB Equestria, there are forums with topic headings you might expect about fan fiction, My Little Pony music and getting teased for “being brony.” Then there’s “What are you packing for heat?”
“All the other soldiers have AR rifles but I want a lever action Marlin in .45/70, I could even have ponies carved into the buttstock,” writes BinderBlues.
Bronies told the AP they’re a misunderstood lot who’ve gotten a bad rap from the media. They’re about the show, friendship, love and tolerance, and they have no bad intentions, they say.
Animator Lauren Faust, creator of the “Friendship is Magic” series, told AP at BronyCon that she never imagined the show would be such a hit with teenage boys and young men. She said her main target was little girls, but she hoped to draw in moms and perhaps some boys with strong characters and compelling story lines.
“We live in a society where saying that something is for girls is the equivalent to saying that something is stupid, or saying that something isn’t worthwhile,” Faust said.
“I think that’s awful and I think that kind of attitude needs to be changed,” she said. “And these men are doing it. … They’re proud that they’re forward-thinking and modern enough to look past this misogynistic attitude.”