You may not be aware of it, but there is a huge and thriving cult following of this so-called “children’s show.” They’re known as Bronies. Male fans (Bro) + My Little Ponies = “Brony.” It’s not a joke. Some estimates put the adult viewership of the show well above the kid viewership. The Brony facebook page has over 23,000 fans. The female equivalent of Brony, is Pegsister, but Brony just sounds cooler, (about 20% cooler, in fact), so I’m dubbing myself a she-Brony.
OK, laugh. I’ll wait. I’m with you. At least I was.
Becoming a Brony (or she-Brony) involves four stages:
2) Watching it. Ironically.
3) Singing along.
4) Getting a cutie mark tatooed on your flank.
Currently, I’m a Stage 3. I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it at first. I huffed and sighed and rolled my eyes. I hated these things when I was a kid. But, I have a three-year-old, I told myself, so it’s okay to watch. Then I started chuckling at the smart humor in it. And the songs are really good and catchy. And OMG, Rainbow Dash is freakin’ awesome!!!
It took me about three episodes to go from skeptical to watching it when my kid wasn’t even around. It doesn’t hurt that the writers cater to their adult fans. There are episodes that reference Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and Lord of the Rings.
I’m not ashamed. I’m proud to be a She-Brony. I’ve learned some valuable life lessons from the denizens of Ponyville, and you can too.
brought to you by Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Apple Jack and Princess Celestia:
1. “You’ve gotta share. You’ve gotta care. It’s the right thing to do.” The ponies take on racism, er, species-ism. I think what they’re really trying to say is, “Live United.”
2. When there’s a big job to do, magic won’t get it done. You need a community and teamwork.
3. Everypony has a special talent. Once a pony discovers it, a tattoo, called a Cutie Mark, magically appears on the pony’s flank.There are several episodes where younger ponies try out lots of different jobs and hobbies to see which one fits, hoping to earn their cutie marks. What this means for you is that if you feel like you haven’t found your life’s calling yet, volunteer! It’s the perfect way to figure out where you belong. Getting ink on your hip is totally your call.
4. When an evil Cockatrice turns your friends into stone, you have to stare down that chicken-headed snake until it relents and sets your friends free. This is all about advocacy. Sometimes, bad stuff happens to people and they need a champion. You may be timid, but somewhere deep inside, you have the strength to help.
5. There’s nothing wrong with girls. This message, which comes as much from the cult of the Brony as from the show itself, celebrates gender equality.
I’ll break it down. It’s socially acceptable for girls to play with cars, but the second a little boy (or grown man) shows interest in flying horses, something is wrong. If you spend three seconds to think about it, the implication here is that boys are superior to girls. Of course girls would like BOY things. “Boy toys” are cool, fun, educational. And of course girls would like “girl toys” because they’re pink, domestic, nurturing. But why would a boy degrade himself by playing with girl toys? This translates into adulthood where men who do anything nurturing or domestic are suddenly feminine, e.g., like a female, e.g., Less Than.
The show’s former head writer, Lauren Faust, in responding to criticism of Bronies stated:
In general, I am still inspired by bronies. As a group, they have not succumbed to society’s pressure that young men must hold contempt for anything feminine no matter what. They’ve been able to see beyond the preconceived notions that they were most likely raised to judge something for its merit. On top of that, they’re brave enough to embrace it openly despite the ridicule that they are undoubtedly subjected to.
You may not be a Brony yet, but you will be. Have you seen the show? Tell me I’m not alone! What valuable lessons have ponies taught you?