M is for My Little Pony

By Jeremy Wilson

My Little Pony is an entertainment franchise best known for the animated TV series that spawned from the original plastic pony toys. There have been four generations of My Little Pony, but when the latest incarnation, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” launched in 2010, something magical happened – the show was not only popular with young girls but also with a select group of older men: Bronies.

These brave men have stood up to the consensus that girly cartoons should only be enjoyed by girls. If an adult man can watch Spiderman in the cinema without being ridiculed, why can’t guys enjoy a cartoon series about horses? Bronies have single handedly (hoofely?) changed perceptions of manhood and masculinity.

Why on earth are college-age males becoming obsessed with pink ponies? Is it an attempt at postmodern irony? Far from it, in fact Brony fandom could be seen as an expression of post-postmodernism. The Bronies are sincere fans of the the animation, storylines and ethos of My Little Pony. They exhibit a pure devotion to the My Little Pony ideology of friendship, love and helping others.

The internet has not only allowed the Brony fanbase to thrive, it gave birth to the whole movement. Within weeks of Friendship Is Magic’s launch, an online following began to form on imageboards such as 4chan’s /co/ (cartoon) forum. While at first some of this posts may have been ironic in nature, a hardcore of Pony devotees clustered round each other, quickly developing an online presence.

Dedicated fan sites such as the wildly popular Equestria Daily and Ponychan which receive hundreds of millions of page views from bronies keen to share their love of the show. Out of this online hub has sprung various branches of Brony fanfiction, Brony art, Brony music and, of course, Brony cosplay. And since there’s not much point in cosplaying without having somewhere to cosplay, Brony conventions can now be found in cities across the world.

Finally, how do you spot a Brony in the wild? They have their own language, bronyspeak, where words are ponified, such as changing the word somebody to somepony. There’s even an extension that will ponify your internet browser for you. Clever.

As you can imagine the Brony community has come in for some abuse online, but the bronies have devised a way to deal with it. They simply post this meme.

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