Links roundup for 17 July 2012

Here’s a roundup of gendered fandom stories in the news that might be of interest to fans:

  • Wired is one of numerous outlets that has run a feature on bronies in the past months, this one written by their Geekmom columnist, Rebecca Angel. She cited the disturbed reaction of women in response to the fandom. “The comments ranged from pedophilia, to escapism, to gender and age bias, to delayed maturation, and more. There was a variety of opinions from benign amusement to true concern” with the label “creepy” making an appearance. “I was taken aback by this statement because I’m currently writing with a group of adult women who regularly partake in culture aimed at young boys. Was it creepy for me to enjoy Avatar: Last Airbender?” Angel suggests that the reaction comes from entrenched prejudices about gender. “One of the show’s creators, Lauren Faust has this to say about Bronies: ‘As a group, they have not succumbed to society’s pressure that young men must hold contempt for anything feminine, no matter what.'”
  • A similar article popped up on Tor.com which made the gender issues more central, concluding that “it might be nice to live in a world where I can fight for my appreciation of action films and comic books, video games and tough role models, while a guy can like a rom-com or two along with his MLP without having his masculinity questioned.”
  • Perhaps the best take on not just the fandom, but the media interest in it, came from a piece in Collectors Weekly subtitled “Girls vs. Bronies.” It discussed the changing fandom demographics from the 1980s when the series was rebooted. “Most bronies…have zero interest in the Ponies that came before ‘Friendship Is Magic,’ the first three generations of the toy, or the two girly My Little Pony cartoon series that aired in the ’80s and ’90s,” says Shaun, a 24-year-old brony…Shaun later adds, “I think brony culture is making specifically My Little Pony more acceptable, not so much the other stuff…Kids’ shows marketed toward girls aren’t too popular among bronies when they pop up on the official Hub or My Little Pony social-media pages.” The appearance of Bronies has also confused many longtime fans. “Here I’ve been a lifelong Pony fan, and all of a sudden this ‘Friendship Is Magic’ show comes out, and it’s like, what? Where do these people come from and why? I know a lot of My Little Pony collectors who don’t care for the bronies,” says Hayes, a long-time collector…“They feel that they put so much time and effort into this niche collecting community, and then all of a sudden bronies come out and start getting all this attention. And it’s like, hey, well, what about us? We’ve been here forever, and nobody seemed to care. But now that there are all these guys in their 20s that are crazy about it, it’s suddenly important and it means something.”

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