I wish I could tell you for sure, but I think I can give you an idea.
There is a phenomenon on the internet that many have brushed up against called variously “that Brony thing”, “why are people posting those stupid pony pictures?”, and many less or more kind things. Basically there is a group of people who have become rabid fans of the reboot of the new “My Little Pony” cartoon. The interesting thing is the numbers of 15-35 year old men. There are many different reasons for why they became fans, but what matters is that they are, and they are PASSIONATE about it in great enough numbers to be noticed at some level on the internet.
It gets noticed because the social spread of the phenomenon involves the little techie internet communities that spread little mentions and glimpses of their new obsession everywhere they can. Don’t believe me?
Fox News, but not all good coverage. This guy is ridiculous in how he characterizes entire communities. Especially when he offers no evidence for many of his assertions. Some people just have to disapprove of things that don’t really affect them apparently. This right wing hack is really paranoid.
Silly? Well at least one political party in Berlin makes the government watch episodes when they have trouble getting anything done.
The fans come from every walk of life that I can think of. I am pretty rabidly on the left and am an atheist, but have encountered Bronies that are libertarians, republicans, democrats, religions of all types. I have encountered Bronies from many countries and cultures.
I have met feminist and anti-feminist Bronies. They are genuinely anti-feminists, I argued with them. I was banned from Ponychan for how that argument went (not bitching, I deserved it). How does that happen without it being a really deep emotional connection so basic that it creates that kind of cognitive dissonance? Especially when the creator of the show explicitly says she tries to put feminist principles into the show! (below) I have seen people redefine feminism and refuse to acknowledge how feminists think about themselves in order to protect what they think.
- Love the animation and general silly feel of the show. It was after all made by the same person who came up with “The Powerpuff Girls”, which also had more of a male following than many people realize.
- The intelligent way that the episodes are written, so that the show is not just silly, sparkly fluff for girls. Instead they are filled with real-world problems, and realistic characters with flaws who could really exist as a matter of personality. This was deliberately written into the show by the creator who hated how fake entertainment for young girls was, and wanted to do something about it.
- Fill in the blank. Who knows why other folks watch?
Among the fans there are people who are simply completely confused about how they could get so emotionally attached to a girls cartoon! I was one of them. It’s snuck up on me and I had no idea it was happening. I was an “ordinary kid” in terms of entertainment for the most part. I was a big fan of GI-Joe and Transformers in the 80’s (sadly not He-Man or Thundercats because my parents are religious in an annoying sense, I still love them though…). I first became involved with MLP through an internet hive of scum and villany that I love very much. I am a connoisseur of internet drama and the emotional battles between the pony-lovers and pony-haters are a thing to behold. However mere exposure was enough. Something about the humor and emotional content got me hooked. After a few months I realized I knew the names and personalities of all the mane characters and most of the in-jokes. I had to finally watch it.The first two were a bit rough, the next couple were OK, and that was the end of it. I was hooked to the point that I joined internet communities.
Life can be crap, ponies make it happier.