Is nothing feminine and frilly and gaily-coloured enough — or scary enough — to be safe from greedy appropriation by men these days?
Not content with apeing previously ‘female’ habits such as handbags, waxing, moisturising, make-up, diet drinks, gal-pal dinner-dates and G-spot massages, men have now, according to a piece on Wired, finally taken up that femmest of feminine holies, the truly terrifying totem of femininity … My Little Pony.
“First we can’t believe this show is so good, then we can’t believe we’ve become fans for life, then we can’t believe we’re walking down the pink aisle at Toys R Us or asking for the girl’s toy in our Happy Meal,” Allen said in an e-mail to Wired.com. “Then we can’t believe our friends haven’t seen it yet, then we can’t believe they’re becoming bronies too.”
OK, before masculinists everywhere wail and tear their beards out, it’s probably only a micro-trend. But I rather like the way this group of male geeks have defiantly chosen the ‘pink aisle’ and gone against almighty American marketing, which has always tended to prefer bizarrely extreme gender-separation in product presentation — even and especially when there’s not much if any essential difference between the product marketed at men and women .
Likewise I always ask for ‘Diet Coke’ instead of ‘Zero’, not because I prefer the taste — I can’t tell any real difference — but because I’m supposed to ask for Zero. I know it’s not quite the same ‘pink aisle’ as asking for the female toy with your Happy Meal, but you do occasionally get some funny looks, now that Coca Cola Corp have decided that making Zero as butch as possible and Diet Coke as femme as possible is the way to maximise sales of what is essentially the same calorie-anxious carbonated drink. (Even though, in the UK at least, it doesn’t seem to be working.)
The rather wonderful spoof (bottom of page) created by a ‘brony’ (yes, that’s really the term MLP fanboys use to describe themselves) uses the soundtrack from the Watchmen trailer and clips from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic to create a car-crash collision of American (Hollywood) butchery and (kids TV) femmery. And in the process creates what looks like an entirely new genre. Or species.
I’d like to think it was a deliberate satire on butching up a ‘femme’ product for men, and also of the camp excess of action movie trailers themselves. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it’s completely sincere. And maybe the message is more: look how butch we are to be into My Little Pony. It takes balls to own this stuff!
But whatever the answer is, I doubt I’ll be following the Bronies to BronyLand any time soon.
I don’t know about you, but My Little Pony scares the shit out of me.
Tip: Elise Moore