My Little Pony (MLP) is a series of toy ponies, first introduced in 1981. Since then, MLP has grown significantly—it has created games, movies, and a television show. The television show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was created and intended for little girls, however, its fan base has grown to boys, as well as grown men who appreciate the show for its messages about harmony, acceptance and peaceful living. Fans of MLP that are grown men, identify themselves as bronies, and have created several brony memes (memes about MLP) to celebrate their passion for MLP.
Brony memes are incredibly popular on the Internet. They function as transmitters of culture because they illustrate a type of social activism by challenging what constitutes masculinity. Brony memes are created by, and intended for all kinds of audiences. These memes push social boundaries because they challenge the perception of what is supposed to be masculine and feminine by creating a meme fanbase that is inclusive, exemplifying that cute, pink ponies are not just interesting to girls, but also to boys and grown men. Consequently, brony memes are an important cultural artifact in this way because it demonstrates a change in social views regarding gender identification.
Furthermore, brony memes work as a rhetorical genre because MLP is a recurrent image in brony memes. Brony memes are a social need for bronies because it is a mode of entertainment and social activism for them. It is this social need, this exigence, that calls brony memes into production. That said, the producers of these memes are bronies who are looking to entertain other bronies, and also assert their freedom of choice, through a shared interest. Brony memes construct a community where bronies can get together and self-present without judgement. Memes function as socially powerful tools because they allow bronies to express their interest in MLP without being judged because the memes are seen as funny. Memes, as a larger genre, are defined by comedy and entertainment because they function to make people laugh and entertain them. That said, brony memes are able to demonstrate social activism by challenging gender stereotypes, all the while cleverly escaping criticism through the comedic meme genre.
Ultimately, the brony community is successful in advocating a social activism because they reduce gender stereotyping in parents, who are now more accepting of their sons enjoying a “girl’s show.”
“My Little Brony.” My Little Brony. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2013. <http://memebase.cheezburger.com/bronies?page=1>.
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