Why do we need a term for someone who doesn't fit the norm?
My five-year-old son, Ari, is obsessed with the show My Little Pony.
One day, Ari wanted to watch a show on Netflix and he spotted the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic picture, featuring six colorful ponies with enormous anime eyes. I figured I'd give the show a try, not knowing if it would hold his attention.
After the first episode, he was hooked.
"Mommy, can I hold the ponies while I watch it?" he asked.
"Sure," I said with a shrug.
"I want that one," he said pointing to Rainbow Dash.
He asked to watch episode after episode, all the while holding the tiny pony figurines in his lap.
When I gave birth to Ari, I imagined someday we'd share similar hobbies. As he grew older, I taught him to play chess and twenty questions, but our mutual love for My Little Pony was a surprise.
As a child, I was obsessed with My Little Pony. I'd become infuriated when my brother would steal my precious My Little Pony figures, holding them just out of my reach.
27 years later, my son is just as obsessed. (I was certain it would be my daughter's thing to collect every single one and covet them like precious jewels, but alas.)
Of course, I'm playing into society's stereotypes of "girl toys" and "boy toys." My son certainly knocked those stereotypes out of the water.
I asked Ari what he likes so much about My Little Pony. His answer was simple: "I just like them." There you have it. He just likes them.
When I confessed to my friends that Ari was a My Little Pony enthusiast, I found out there's actually a term for males who like My Little Pony. Bronys. A Brony is defined as a male fan of the show My Little Pony. My son is a Brony.
Part of me likes the term because it's something to be proud of. Yo, what's up? I'm a Brony, a boy who digs My Little Ponies. On the other hand, it plays into the stereotype that My Little Pony is a "girl's show" and there's inherently "wrong" about a boy watching it. Therefore, our creates a label for someone who watches the show who isn't the typical demographic.
But we can all love My Little Pony without labeling each other boys who like it and girls who like it. It's a show for everyone and in the words of Ari, echoing the sentiment in each episode, "Every pony learns something."
This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.