Bronies, Gender Policing, and the Tragic Story of Michael Morones

Brony Michael Morones fights for his life after suicide attempt.

11-year-old Michael Morones

I’d like to take a break from my Wonder Woman series to discuss an item that came across my newsfeed. Actually, it’s not something I’d “like” to do. I’m trembling and I feel physically ill just reading the news reports but this is something that we need to talk about.

An 11-year-old boy from North Carolina named Michael Morones attempted suicide by hanging himself after being brutally bullied for being a Brony. His stepfather, Shannon Suttle, explains that “Michael was upset because the kids were calling him gay for liking a girls’ TV show… He said to us that the other kids were telling him he was gay for loving Pinkie Pie and they were trying to make him feel ashamed for being gay.  We said that we didn’t care if he was gay or straight; he was our son and we would love him.”

My Little Pony fan Michael Morones with friends

Michael with his brother and friends.

Michael is currently unconscious and unable to breathe without assistance. If he wakes up, it’s reported he’ll likely be blind.

This is what happens when society insists on enforcing archaic and arbitrary gender roles (not to mention sexual prejudice). I normally focus on the harm the patriarchy causes women (for obvious reasons) but this shit isn’t just a “women’s issue.”

You see, this is the way the patriarchy is “supposed” to work and it’s fucking terrifying. A patriarchal society certainly aims to constrain women in draconian gender roles but it has tidy little boxes for us guys, too.

Gender roles are social constructs. While these social norms can be (and are) imposed formally through legislation, they’re mostly enforced by informal means. That means when someone like Michael “steps out of line” by watching My Little Pony, it falls on the good little foot soldiers of the patriarchy to stomp out the perceived aberration through alienation, social shaming, and physical threats and violence.

This is gender segregation at work.

Next time someone tries to argue that stringent gender roles aren’t a big deal, tell them about Michael Morones who hung himself from his bunk bed railing because the patriarchy refused to tolerate his love of a show about friendship and tolerance.

If you’re able help offset the financial cost of Michael’s care and hopeful rehabilitation, please do so at at the Michael Morones Recovery Fund.

Photos via 1 and 2

4 Responses to “Bronies, Gender Policing, and the Tragic Story of Michael Morones”

  1. 1 mookieintherealworld February 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Reblogged this on Mookieintherealworld and commented:
    This shouldn’t be happening by now.

  2. 2 Shimky February 7, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Truly awful. I do believe this sort of thing happens all the time? I just saw a fictional film (‘Disconnect’, 2012) which deals, in part, with a very similar story.

    Bullying makes me so angry; it’s so incredibly unfair and pointless. Thank you for sharing this story. The more people are aware, the more society will change, hopefully.

  3. 3 Paul Teevan September 20, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    So the irony is all the anti brony feminists, especially one’s affiliated with Pinkiepony and Dragondicks are giving the patriarchy a big boost?

    • 4 Daniel Amrhein October 2, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      I’m not really familiar with what you’re referencing and I’m not aware of a bunch of anti-brony feminists so I can’t comment too much on your question.

      I will say that guys who like MLP can help to subvert and redefine what society accepts as “masculinity.” However, that’s not to say that all bronies are are doing good as there are veins of people in the community (like in all fandoms) that are simply bringing their toxic masculinity to the MLP fandom. I.e. there are guys who like MLP that are still assholes. But overall it’s great that more men and boys are comfortable not letting society push its narrow definition of masculinity onto them.

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