Brett Fisher: My Little Pony
Everyone knows what My Little Pony is. The children’s show created by Hasbro in 1982 featured small ponies doing everything from tea parties to battling monsters. My Little Pony has experienced four generations, each with a different art and writing style than the last. The first three generations are what comes to most people’s minds when they think My Little Pony. Tea parties and pretty dresses, all the things that one would expect from a little girl’s show, are the images that people traditionally associate with My Little Pony. That all changed when generation four was unveiled in 2010. The art design, the writing process, and everything in between took a dramatic turn for the better when feminist activist and screenwriter, Lauren Faust, took over the show.
Faust’s thoughts of My Little Pony are that the show should not target one gender, nor should it only entertain children. Immediately, Faust shifted the show’s direction to be amusing for both males and females of all ages by including innuendoes and references for the older audience, as well as remaining loyal to the silly pony theme for children. She called this new iteration of the franchise; My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
Faust had become the target of negative criticisms for her direction of the show. Libelous blogs and articles were written claiming the show was sexist, homophobic, and racist; which is all quite untrue. The show embodies the opposite of the listed in the sense that it teaches friendship, tolerance, acceptance, and love. These malicious reviews exploded in popularity on the Internet, and with anything else big on the web, 4Chan got involved.
4Chan is an image board website where users post photos or links to various things on the internet and discuss the content with others. These blogs made their way to 4Chan, and 4Chan users decided to watch the show to develop their own opinions. To their surprise, the majority of 4Chan users found the show funny and entertaining, but with anything else, there were naysayers. An online war erupted on 4Chan. Users that enjoyed the show began harmlessly (but excessively) posting jokes, screenshots, and discussion threads of the show. The users who did not enjoy the show were becoming upset with the viral takeover and rebelled. They began trolling and were becoming very intolerant with the fans of the show; posting hateful and rude images and discussion threads belittling them.
Eventually, the moderators of 4Chan decreed that all pony-related content was banned from the site for causing the controversy. Upset, the fans (now humorously named “Bronies” as a witty combination of the terms “bro” and “pony” and is not gender or age specific) created their own websites such as EquestriaDaily. Soon after, 4Chan moderators lifted the ban and created an entire subsection for pony content.
The growing popularity of the show with the older (primarily male) audience spawned countless songs, art pieces, and fan written stories. Hasbro may be a large business with ownership of My Little Pony, but they have consistently allowed and encouraged Bronies to make their own art and merchandise, promising that they can remain fearless of lawsuits for copyright reasons. By this point, Bronies were no longer just a group of people on the internet watching a cartoon.
The Brony subculture was born. Today, there are an estimated 1.5 million Bronies in the world (DashieXScootaloo. “How Many Bronies Are There?” MLPforums.com. Web. 2 Aug. 2012). Eighty-seven percent of Bronies are males between the ages of sixteen and nineteen (“Know Your Meme: Pony Community Survey Results” Derpyhoovesnews.com. Web. 12 Dec. 2012). As one can imagine, the growing popularity of this new deviant subculture also comes with those how are out to destroy it. These people target Bronies with ignorant and malicious claims that the group, as a whole, are homosexual or pedophilic. Bronies frequently combat this with nothing more than ignoring them, often using their catchphrase; “love and tolerate”.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has a vast array of fan labors and officially licensed products reaching every corner of the globe, connecting people with common interests. Bronies such as Thelivingtombstone, Saberspark, and Princewhateverer, have become fairly famed on the web among the Brony community for their contributions to the My Little Pony universe with songs and art. Whether a fan of the show is a six year old girl watching the silly ponies while she chews her morning cereal or a thirty year old man writing full-length reviews on the art style and writing direction of the latest episode, all Bronies can agree that friendship truly is magic.