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Walmart doesn’t only sell produce and iPod chargers; they are large marketers of clothes as well. The store sells jeans, shirts, and many other articles of clothing. A lot of their shirts focus on graphics that are tailored for specific fan groups; you’ll see things like Darth Vader and other Star Wars references, Angry Birds, cartoons....
These graphic shirts are targeted towards specific people and are intended for niche audiences. One of these shirts recently aimed its mark at “Bronies,” male fans of the newest My Little Pony cartoon. You’ll see these guys mentioned frequently on chat forums. They even have their own meme! So it’s easy to see why Walmart would design a shirt for Bronies.
Well, the attempt ended up rather badly. A simple choice (I wouldn’t call it a mistake, really) made about the shirt angered Bronies a lot; so much that they are ranting about the shirt and why you shouldn’t purchase it.
The shirt’s photo features characters from the older TV show, the original ’80s version of the cartoon. But “Bronies” are fans of the new cartoon, which is what made the fans angry. They want the graphics to feature ponies and characters from the new show, because that’s where their fandom is based.
“Bronies” are a very specific market. They are adult males who enjoy the cartoon show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. They’re often the brunt of Internet jokes, but they’re not always looked down upon. There’s a meme based on Bronies, and you’ll see them on 4chan.org a lot.
So is the anger warranted here? Or is this just another example of over-inflated ideas? Because really, how many people are going to think, “Oh, that shirt says ‘I heart Bronies,’ but obviously is scandalous and outrageous because the ponies pictured are from the ’80s.” That statement requires a lot of
a) Browsing the Internet
b) Interest in Bronies
c) Paying attention to what someone is wearing
I’m not saying that Bronies don’t have their place in the world, or that they’re silly or whatever. But I will say that the general public doesn’t care as much about what you wear as you’d think. We constantly obsess over outfits and clothing when in reality, unless you’re a fashion editor, you don’t really care what other people are wearing.
So how angry should the Bronies be? What do you think?
Maybe this will all blow over and we can ride our ponies into the sunset.