It's not about liking girl stuff, it's the fact that the writing of the show is top quality. Why do so many people watch shows like Game of Thrones? I didn't watch it at all until the 4th season ended. I decided "might as well see what the fuss is about" and got instantly hooked. Watched all 4 seasons over the span of a week or two. The writing is excellent, the story captures you, and the special effects fit perfectly. Everything about it is great. The same can be said for MLP. The stories might be moral of the story type of episodes, but the way they pull it off is utter genius and you don't even think you're being taught how to be a better person. Understand that with the "65 episode 'rule' ", after the 3rd season, you should have seen the community. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SixtyFiveEpisodeCartoon) 3rd season was half as long hitting the 65 episode mark. It also marked the end of the entire story line. It became so popular that people were petitioning a renew for a 4th season and beyond (and it's soon to be on season 5 and current at 91 episodes). It's not the ponies that do it for people, but the writing, the humor, and the fact that it's actually trying to teach good morals without shoving it down your throat. That, and they do a lot of fan service. Best example that can be made is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC2EMUuQmTY . The segment was redubbed because some "angry parents" decided it sounded "too retarded" and was making fun of mentally handicapped people even though lots of them were speaking out saying they loved that they "had a pony that could better represent them". Could source all that if I still had the old post, but a little searching can give a lot of info on it.
Point to mentioning that is that Hasbro took a risky move to allow a LARGE amount of fan service in a show and the community only grew bigger and closer together because of each one. It's quite an interesting culture and definitely one many look down upon. Would it be any better if I had some scantily clad animated female as my avatar and preferred Hentai instead? Lots of people condemn others for things they don't understand. It's funny, because watching a show that taught morals might help them be better people.
This post has gone on so long I kinda lost track. Sorry if it's a bit much :P
I do watch alot of anime myself, ranging from romance (Can't remember the name of one), to extreme gore (attack on titan), to brilliant comedy (great teacher onizuka etc) Oh and I enjoy good Horror/Gore anime as well.
I also watch Adventure time (later seasons got better adult humor in them imo), but also adult cartoon series like southpark, family guy etc. And I also enjoy watching spongebob, I can understand that a girly cartoon can have great writing, adult humor even, and might even appeal to a male audience in a way. But for some reason I fear being disowned caught watching it, especially as a 23 yo tall male that hits the gym often, just feels.. wrong. That and I'm not a big fan of horses or ponies for that matter, these creatures just do not appeal to me at all, unless they are medium rare with a nice pepper sauce.
However reading your responses I did develop a greater understanding for bronies, and that they merely enjoy good cartoons, Instead of being mentally scarred adults. (This image was created when I watched an episode of "I've never done it before" (Dutch Television show about adults who are still a virgin) where a rather "large" male still had to figure out wether he was *** or straight + was a virgin. But this image has been been cured.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltgfBjzOyKE (Language = Dutch, sorry no subtitles, doubt these are needed though)
I did mention earlier that I watched the crooked parody series (.Mov) Here's a link:
DISCLAIMER: This is a very rough parody, and it might or might not damage you as a bronie! (It's funny just go watch it)
So yeah, thanks for your responses thus far, I hope the links I posted don't damage you too much.