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The object of their intense enthusiasm doesn’t wield a light saber, or an ax, or an M-4 combat rifle, though some of them send shock waves and love power though horns in their foreheads.

Nor do they ask what pony-identity says about the state of American masculinity, or whether these twenty-something Bronies, many of whom claim to have no interest in dating, are, unlike women, purposefully delaying adulthood.

Turner simply turns to the 5 percent of Bronies who say they are in the military.

“Cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness,” she wrote in 2010.

“Girls like stories with real conflict; girls are smart enough to understand complex plots.” Aside from the tiny tots, though, it’s mostly men applauding Faust’s brand of femanime.

And it means Bronies aren’t rigid, they’re open to new things, say psychologists Jan Griffin and Pat Edwards at the University of South Carolina Upstate, who have done their own studies, along with Dr. The group has submitted papers to the winter conventions of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA).

They have found, among other traits, that the Bronies can be divided into “hipster” and “secret/hidden” subgroups, the former being more likely to go to “Meet Ups” and conventions, wear flashy costumes, and talk about ponies in the workplace. They tend to identify more, however, with their offline “neighborhoods”—families and friends, outside the fandom.

Turner is just about to launch a 2014 census, an update to the 20 surveys and accompanying “State of the Herd” reports.

He will be collaborating this time with researchers from Salem State University in Massachusetts, and the questionnaire is being translated into several languages.

At the outset they seem like typical fanboys: they congregate on fandom websites, dissect their favorite episodes with the exacting precision of a surgeon’s scalpel, and live for the convention crawls—after which they post photographs of themselves with BNFs (Big Name Fans), an arm slung over the other’s shoulder in subculture bliss.

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