Friendship is Magic: The Brony Effect
My Little Pony.
If you are like most people, you are probably envisioning the syrupy sweet television show from the Eighties and Nineties, the multicolored plastic horses making their homes on Target’s toy shelves, the advertisements for playsets and plushies and… ponies.
If you are like some, you’re picturing the 2010 reboot of the series: “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Re-imagined from the ‘80s series by creative director Lauren Faust, “FiM” tells the story of a young pony named Twilight Sparkle, sent by her mentor Princess Celestia to the town of Ponyville to make friends and save the world. Yes, it sounds ridiculous. And yes, it is a show directed at small girls. But its fanbase is huge, and you’ll never guess who it is made up of: teenage to adult males who call themselves “Bronies.”
“A distinction has to be drawn between what it is that Bronies actually like,” sophomore Solveig Olson-Strom said. “It’s not just My Little Pony, it’s specifically My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Not the toys. Not any of the earlier shows. This show is different because of the actual characters. The ponies have individual personalities that aren’t stereotypically girly.”
Olson-Strom is a “Pegasister,” the female equivalent of a brony. She gave a TED-esque speech on the show for her Literature class, using it to illustrate the importance of gender roles in media. Olson-Strom has seen every episode and is currently planning to costume as the character Pinkie Pie at an upcoming convention.
However, the show is not without its skeptics.
“I don’t really get why people would watch it,” junior Roger Hunt said as his girlfriend (another Pegasister) happily discussed the subject with Olson-Strom. “I remember it as something when I was little, but only girls would watch it. It’s weird that guys like it.”
Sophomore Alison Thompson agrees, noting that a lot of her friends watch the show without her. “I personally don’t like it because the typical fanbase associated with MLP are a lot of 40+ year old men that are all extremely defensive about liking MLP. The show itself is just something that personally I grew out of a long time ago and in my opinion it’s just a passing fad with teenagers.”
“Of course society looks down on Bronies,” freshman Whitner Schellingerhoudt said. “But nobodys really given me crap about it. I just like it because it’s basically like every show I watched as a kid, in that you don’t get some of the jokes until you go back later. It’s like a game, trying to find all the hidden references… but besides that, the animation is great and some pretty awesome stuff goes down on the show.”
But whether a Brony likes it for its statements or its stories, he is still a Brony. And the general advice among the group?
“Just give it a chance,” Schellingerhoudt said. “It’s cooler than you think it is,”