My Little Pony finds audience regardless of gender
Robin Shin, Photographer
October 17, 2012
Filed under Features
By Robin Shin
It has now been two years since “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” has been airing on “The Hub.” Hasbro Studios, an American “virtual” television production company, had the intention of retooling the “My Little Pony” franchise by updating for the current generation of young girls with the help of the animator and developer, Lauren Faust. The retooling of the show brought in viewers of young girls, but also other variety of viewers the studio did not expect, a large group of male fans who now call themselves “Bronies.”
Ratings showed that “MLP:FiM” only began with 1.4 million viewers per a month, but soon expanded to 4 million per a month by the end of the first season due to the sudden interest from Bronies and other older viewers other than little girls. “MLP:FiM” is the highest-rated show Hasbro offered at the time. Bronies are now looking forward to the release of the third season in November 2013.
Brony is a term that is not familiar with many people, but there are Bronies around us. There are two general vocabularies to describe a Brony: an open brony and a closet brony. A closet Brony is a term used for Bronies who are closed about their support for “MLP: FiM” in public, while an open Brony means they are open about their support.
“I’m not a closet Brony,” said Patrick McEvoy, 20, a Bakersfield College art student. McEvoy’s favorite pony from the show is Fluttershy, “I guess it’s because she’s adorable.” McEvoy stated that he began watching the show when his sister recommended it to him. He was resistant at first, but then when he saw a review on YouTube which got him to watch the show. He enjoyed it due to it’s reminder of a 90′s cartoon and the sense of nostalgia it gave. When asked what he thought of closet Bronies, McEvoy stated, “Embarrassed to be called a Brony.”
Bryce Little, 19, a BC theater student, is a closet Brony and hangs out with friends who are fine with him being a Brony but is not ready to be out and open with his support, “I have admitted to my parents…and my sister,” Little stated, “My dad thinks it’s jokey.” Little’s favorite pony is Twilight Sparkle due to her character having morals. He believes that Bronies who are open about their support are good guys to talk to, but still doesn’t find himself being open due to as he states, “…people aren’t comfortable with Bronies.” Little got into watching the show out of curiosity and due to the fan-made products, such as parody videos and music. His reason for continuing to watch the show was that he liked blowing people’s mind for watching the show, he believes that it would take the fun away if it didn’t have such an effect.
The show brings in viewers who don’t only enjoy it for the humor but for the art and the usage of the multimedia platform “Flash 8″. “The animation is amazing, there are parts where it is cheesy and could tell that it is intended for eight year old girls, but it’s still fun and there is character development and plot progression,” said Yukai Yang, 18, a game art student from Laguna College of Art and Design. It wasn’t only the animation that intrigued Yang, but also the music and the positive atmosphere which as he said, “…brightens your day…” Yang is an open Brony, but stated that he wasn’t too open and not big of a fan enough to go far as to forcing people into watching the show.
Yang stated that there are closet Bronies out there because of the fear of haters, “I play on game servers and there will be people who insult ponies and that it is a show for eight year old girls.” Suzuki too stated that he have many of haters, but still doesn’t hide the fact that he watched the show. Jaymes Madson, 15, a Junior in Carson High School stated, “They hate on me but I don’t take it personally. What ever they think…I guess.”
“A lot of people who hate Bronies think we are like them (Cloppers),” stated McEvoy.
While there are Bronies, there are also another branch of groupies called the “Cloppers”. The word “Clopper” comes from a fan-made word “clopping” which is a play on word for the internet slang “fapping,” which is a form of male masturbation. “What I can say about majority of Cloppers, that they ruin it for us,” said Riki Suzuki, 24, a BC theater student. While there are those who find Cloppers as the black sheep of the fandom, there are also those who are okay with them, “I have nothing against them,” said Charles Head, 19, a BC Digital Arts student. “They forget that rule 34 is used for jokes.” Rule 34 is an internet definition of “if it exists, there is porn of it.”
The fandom of “MLP:FiM” is so great that there are multiple types of conventions occurring through out the different states and cities within the United States. One of the major convention is the bi-annual to annual fan convention titled “BronyCon”. The latest BronyCon occurred in June 2012, where they attracted over 4,000 attendees of both male (Brony) and female (Pegasister) fans.
Charles Head also stated that Bronies are in a way a one big family, “…one was kicked out of their home for liking “My Little Pony” and another Brony offered them to stay at their place for awhile.” The Brony fandom has fans who are also not there to just be known as fans for liking a TV show, but wants to be known for actually doing good in the world, and as the show shares the idea of love, tolerance, and friendship, they wish to do the same. “Bronies for Good” is a web community created in July 2011 to help those who are in need all around the world. Their first act of service was a “Brony Blood Drive” where they posted a post to tell Bronies to get together and go to a neighboring blood bank to donating blood. Their latest ongoing project involves the children and those in need in Uganda. They have currently raised up to 13,000 Euros, which is the equivalent to over 16,000 US dollars.