Daisy Creager |Staff Writer

You know them, you’ve seen them around the school. Sometimes you know who they are, and others are harder to detect. Of course, I’m talking about Bronies- the subculture of young men who are into the popular animated show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Bronies range in age from 14 to the early 40s, but are generally around the age of 21. Like other fan groups (ie Hunger Games, Dr Who)  the Brony community serves as a social function that provides meaning and strong moral guidance and virtuous messages. Common stereotypes of older Bronies are that they are unemployed, live in their parents’ basements, and  generally aren’t dating anyone.

“It is false that only women watch My Little Pony because they did a survey and found out that 50% of the fan base of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is men from the age of 14-30. The thing about men who watch My Little Pony being gay, that’s is not true because I’ve met plenty of other bronies that are perfectly straight, they just happen to like My Little Pony,” sophomore and self professed brony Elijah Huffman said.

“Another stereotype is that bronies are house rats that stay in their house and are really antisocial,” freshman David Carroll. “There are online communities, internet groups that come together and talk about bronies, and I’ve talked to people that are like that, that just stay in their house all the time, but there are people that are very social outside the community with other groups, who are in clubs and sports and are involved with different things- a rainbow of people basically.”

But what makes a brony? How is one classified in this ‘rainbow’ of MLP fanatics?

“[It’s] any person who actively looks into the show. Not just passively watching, like if it’s on and they see it they’ll watch a little bit, but actively goes in and watches the show. They look at websites about it, that is what makes a Brony,” Carroll said.

That being said, there are different degrees of…er, ‘Bronyhood’? They can generally be put into four different groups.

MLP fans like Elijah and David can be characterized as ‘social Bronies’-dedicated and engaged fans who are open about their Bronyhood. Social bronies are generally outgoing, open, reliable and careful. They are best connected with the friendly and fun loving  Pinkie Pie. They are often introduced to the show by family or friends, and ALWAYS own MLP merchandise.

“In middle school, my friend was really into the cartoon and anime kind of things, she would tell me about it but I didn’t really pay attention until summer when I was really bored and watched an episode and actually enjoyed it,” Carroll said. “[I’ve watched it] for five or six months. The first two episodes I watched I thought were fairly bad and I didn’t really enjoy them, however after that I got really into the characters and I really enjoyed the community.”

In the middle we have the ‘independent’ bronies. ‘Independent bronies’ seek little moral guidance from MLP and are very open about their Bronyhood. They were usually shown the show by friends and are generally outgoing and social, don’t care what people think, and enjoy the shock value of being a Brony. They are best represented by the hipster Johnny Hoof.

“I’m not a hard core brony. I’ve seen every episode of the show and I really like it, I don’t own any merchandise though-like teeshirts and stuff like that. I am open to owning teeshirts though,” ‘independent’ brony and senior Theo Creager said. “I don’t know much about [websites], that is a thing that is like any other fandom like Dr. Who-any show that people are really really into. That part of it is normal, it’s just the people who are really hardcore. I don’t go on those. That’s probably the next progression-it’s watching the show, then getting merchandise, then that progresses to going on websites and commenting on stuff and chat forums. After that is where you advance to getting into fan fiction and posting videos on youtube and stuff.”

On the other hand, there are also ‘mixed’ and ‘secret’ bronies. Mixed bronies are open to select people about their Bronyhood, depending on the circumstances. They generally found MLP by accident and are pretty laid back. ‘Secret bronies’  generally discovered the show by accident, and do not share their love for the show with family or friends. While secret bronies tend to be more introverted, they are agreeable, caring and desire positive social interactions.They are best connected to Mare Do Well-dedicated and engaded but secret about their identity.

So what’s the big draw? Fans are generally intrigued by the character development and complex plot line of the show, as well as the community of love, tolerance and good moral values that comes with participating in online chat rooms, blogs, and fan stories.

“Well, I really like old ‘90s tv shows like Ed, Edd and Eddy, Billy and Mandy, [and] especially Spongebob- in all those shows the characters were interesting, the plots were really humorous,” Carroll said. “In modern shows they’re catering to a younger audience-or, an audience that I don’t really like. Modern shows are dull, their jokes tend to be random and not for humor. This show is humorous, the characters are actually interesting, and the animation is really good, it is done by Lauren Faust who did a lot of shows like Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends and other shows in the nineties that I enjoyed.”

Above anything, bronies just want skeptics to know that their fandom is just like…well, anyone else’s.

“They would be surprised, there’s tons of people who watch My Little Pony-not just nerds and stuff,” Huffman said. “[People] should attempt to watch it if they want to, just the first one or two episodes-they might like it-but they shouldn’t judge before they watch it.”

For more information about Bronies or the Brony community, go to:

http://www.bronystate.net/about-us/

 

 

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About The Author

Daisy is a senior at Johnson and has been on staff for The Pride for four years. She wants to attend Texas A&M University and major in Business and Accounting. She loves traveling and sushi and wants to be a pirate when she grows up. Yarr.

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