Suddenly everyone and their sister news site has a brony article up! We are a pretty hot topic for these guys now days. Who would have thought an army of adults liking My Little Pony would be so popular?
First off, the music ranking website Billboard.com has dropped a "top 10 Gangnam style parodies", and as is the norm for these lists, pony is right there front and center. Is it just me, or does this website have ridiculously large text? Ouch.
And if the image above didn't give it away already, a Swedish newspaper covered their front page in ponies, with a pretty huge article on us buried within. Head on down past the break for the translation courtesy of Greer, or hit it up on Google Docs.
And finally, WTVY did a short article on pony conventions. When I say short, I mean EQD short. Check it out here! Thanks to Dan for sending that one in.
Swedish Paper Translation:
[Front page text]
Phenomenal - My little bronies
Culture & Entertainment
About the cartoon that advocated tolerance and won an unexpected fan-base.
Left page, upper right corner, Quote] ” When something is pink or full of rainbows and hearts, people jump to the immediate conclusion that it’s dumb.” - Lauren Faust, creator of ”Friendship is magic”.
[Right page, top middle] Known fans of My little pony
1. Lady Gaga - has said that her hit song ”Born this way” is inspired by My little pony, and have worn a pony necklace.
2. Henrik Torehammar (famous Swedish radio journalist) Radio profile and radio show host, may be the first famous Swede to come out as Brony
3. Possible. Weird Al Yankovic, Seth Green and Robert Pattison are famous people that are rumored to be Bronies.
[Right page, upper right corner] 21 years old. That’s the average age of viewers that call themselves Bronies, according to a survey made by BronyStudy. Ages ranging from about 14 to 57 years of age, and around 86 percent of that group is men. The term ”Brony” includes both men and women, but women can sometimes also be called ”Pegasisters”.
[Right page, just above Rainbow Dash] The return of My little pony. The new cartoon have made lots of grown men call themselves ”Bronies”
[Caption] Kiss. The famous picture of the olympic gold medal winner Ed McKeever, kissing a ”My little pony”.
[Quote] The Light. ”Amidst all hate and sour gall, these cute pastel ponies pop up like a much needed light in the dark.”
THE COLORFUL THREAT AGAINST INTERNET HATRED
Suddenly, a picture of the canoer and olympic gold medalist Ed McKeever appeared. The picture caused quite a commotion and was shared over the internet thousands of times. What made this picture so special? Well, McKeever is kissing a little grey plastic horse. Her name is Derpy Hooves, she’s a walleyed ”My little pony” and she has a huge crowd of male fans.
When I was a kid, in the 1980’s, I loved My little pony. They were so cute and colorful. Unfortunately their adventures in movies and books were pretty limited. They often had picnics and picked flowers. But in the hands of a child, that doesn’t matter much. There, the small plastic figures could jump a gazillion miles up in space and go Ninja-fighting evil octopi.
A few years earlier, in the USA, Lauren Faust was playing in a similar way with her toys. Just like me, she thought that, being typical girl toys, they were showing a very bad behavior.
”The ponies defeated their enemies by crying” she states in an interview.
My own story with My little pony has long since ended, but Lauren’s continued. As an animator, she was handed the task of bringing new life to the little ponies.
The result: My little pony - Friendship is magic, a series about Twilight Sparkle, a pony that at first cares more for books than friends. The story is about her realizing that friendship is needed to fight evil, and together with her new friends, she solves problems in the land of Equestria. At the end of every episode, she writes a letter to her mentor, reporting what she’s learned about friendship. The new series is more eventful than the original series, and you can call it a success by far. Among little girls, of course, but also among grown-ups.
They call themselves Bronies. It’s a fusion of the words ”Brothers” and ”ponies”. They first popped up on 4chan. A forum that houses Anime and cartoons, but is also infamous for its racism, sexism and pornography. One might find that strange, but there’s a theory stating this to be part of My little pony’s success. Amidst all hate and sour gall, these cute pastel ponies pop up like a much needed light in the dark. A friend of mine that happens to be an enthusiastic Brony makes further comments on the phenomenon.
- I’ve jokingly said that Lauren Faust should get the Nobel Prize of peace because she’s done what’s considered an almost utopian impossibility. Through the episodes lessons about friendship and respect, she’s made people on the internet to act like…well people! To respect each others opinions and arguments in comments and forum threads! he says.
He tells that, of course, there are comments of hate and rage that accompanies film clips of My little pony, just like with any other clips. But the response to these, often sexist and hostile comments are different.
- Because the fan base has evolved around tolerance and friendship, the answer to hostile comments will often be something like: ”Ok? I can accept what you’re saying, but I don’t share your opinion.”
The Brony fan base grew quickly, and Hasbro, owners of the series, was smart enough to see the new viewers affluent potential. They created new toys of better quality and collectors value. The cartoon is also packed with nods to the nerds, with references to ”The Big Lebowski” ”The A-team” ”Doctor Who” and ”Star Wars” which my Brony contact points out as what he thinks has made the new series so popular among grown ups.
- You recognize scenes and get nostalgic about things that goes completely over the head of the shows actual target group. Still, it’s funny to see how they’ve taken a well known scene and with a good sense of humor, ponyfied it.
Also, a great deal of the popularity goes into the fans possibility of influence.
- For instance, where Hasbro have actually renamed certain characters after listening to the fans ”Fanon” or ”Headcanon” names. Names that fans of the show has collectively agreed is a characters ”real” name.
One such character is the pony who got a kiss from Ed McKeever. In the very first episode, a background pony had become walleyed due to an animation error. This was discovered by fans who named her Derpy. After that, the animators began to deliberately give her a cross eyed expression as a nod to her fans and placed her in the background in different scenes.
But the power of the fans aside, the most fantastic thing about the show is still its message and what it means. The Brony culture seems to be a prime example of that something has happened on the internet. The tone is getting kinder and haters are curbed with tolerance and kindness. The term ”Bronies” is a bit irksome since it so obviously points to men, but fortunately, it seems it should be interpreted in a wider perspective, so that the term ”Bronies” also includes their female equivalent.
Because it would be a crying shame if the boys took over completely just as girls toys became fun.
(Not included in article)
Authors Note: On the same day as this article was published, I received a rather angry E-mail from a man raging about what rubbish that had been printed in the newspaper. ”One might think that the newspaper is written for 5 year old girls, as the majority of it is about horses!” he wrote.
I took great pleasure in writing him a very polite answer.