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It’s a show aimed at little girls, and the biggest fans are adult men.

My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic

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’.

A brony (wearing a brony hoody available from online retailer Hot Topic).

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).

An ‘artists interpretation’ of Bronies, from Philip Bonneau.

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.

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“This might be a little short-sighted on my part, but I just assumed that any adult man who didn’t have a little girl wouldn’t even give it a try,” Faust said.

“The fact that they did and that they were open-minded and cool enough and secure in their masculinity enough to embrace it and love it and go online and talk about how much they love it — I’m kind of proud.”

Faust has since left the show, but said after her departure: “Together I think we helped prove that ‘for girls’ does not have to automatically equal ‘lame.’ …. The array of people this show has touched has completely exceeded my wildest expectations!”

Although the people behind the show may have embraced bronies – not everyone ‘gets’ the concept. The beginning of the Bronies documentary starts with a series of vox pops on the street, with people asked what kind of person they think a brony would be.

Most said that bronies were “creepy”, “weird”,  probably “gay” or “old paedophiles”.

For the most part, the fans are actually university-aged heterosexual men.

There is, however, some support for bronies, and their attitude of seeming not to care what’s supposed to be “for girls” and what’s supposed to be “for boys”.

The Poly Post published:

A group of bronies dressing up at a fan convention.

What about the mothers who fawn over the erotic “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy? Isn’t it more mind-boggling to think that many married women fantasize over having a Bondage, Dominance, Sadism and Masochism (BDSM) relationship like Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s?

These men are not hurting anyone; they are not all registered sex offenders and have no criminal records. As one reporter from Fox News stated, “There are worse things a man can obsess over, than “My Little Pony.”

Being obsessed with “My Little Pony,” no matter how secretly kept it is, is much better than obsessing over violent video games such as “Grand Theft Auto,” which has lots of criminal and illegal activity, theft among them.

This video talks about how bronies challenge traditional notions of masculine media consumption – it’s pretty interesting viewing.

So, what’s your take on the bronies phenomenon? Do you think it’s kind of cool that men are embracing their inner My Little Pony fan? Or are you worried about a show that supposed to be for little girls, becoming the domain of men? 

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