When the kids’ television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic launched in 2010, it’s unlikely that The Hub network or Hasbro (the makers the toys) could’ve picked the demographic that would go on to become some of the show’s most dedicated fans:
Adult and teenaged men.
Friendship is Magic follows a main character (pony) called Twilight Sparkle, who along with her pastel-coloured, fluffy-maned pony friends in the town of Ponyville, promote friendship and moral values. The show was created for children – with a touch of adult humour to keep parents interested.
Adult male fans of My Little Pony – or as they call themselves, ‘bronies’ (a combination of ‘bro’ and ‘ponies’ – get it?) – don’t seem to mind that the franchise was created to appeal to young girls, and have no problem with saying they find the show ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’.
The fan reaction to the show, from both men and women, has been unbridled. Fans have created songs, artworks, and stories inspired by My Little Pony, which they share with others online. They ‘cosplay’ (dress up) as characters from the show and attend fan conventions. There has even been a documentary made about bronies, titled Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony.
Although the creators of the show were at first surprised (and can you really blame them?), they’ve embraced the older fan base. While the show is still, for all intents and purposes, written for younger audiences, it also contains allusions to the bronies fans (such as including a reference to a fan-named pony called Derpy Hooves in the show).
In an interview with Wired, the creator of the show – Lauren Faust, a 36-year-old who previously was a writer for The Powerpuff Girls – said that she loves the bronies.