Can Someone Explain “Bronies” to Me?

I’ve recently been made aware of a certain segment of the population known as “Bronies” or the singular “a Brony.” It’s a term for a male viewer of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV show, and I think I have to be missing something here.

Are these guys that genuinely love the show for some strange reason? Or is this some sort of big hipster inside joke that’s going over everyone’s heads. I haven’t seen the show myself, so maybe it’s possible there’s a show about rainbow colored ponies that’s actually worthwhile, but it just seems like a strange thing for there to be this dedicated of a group devoted to. Why does this not exist for other shows aimed at little girls?

Something is amiss here. Can any Bronies in the audience shed some light on this?

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  1. Apparently it’s a really well-written show with developed characters that appeals to older audiences who live in a world of complex relationships and convenience masqueraded as false friendship, who are feeling nostalgic about the times when friendship meant a lifelong bond.

    Or so I’ve heard. Never watched it myself.

  2. There are 3 reasons for one to be a brony
    1. They are fans because it is a very well written show and genuinely funny show, with developed characters and actually has a lot of humor and plotlines that would go over the average childs head.

    2. This one kind of goes hand in hand with 1, but Nostalgia. The show is actually made by the husband and wife teams who pretty much created Powerpuff Girls, Dexters Lab, Samurai Jack and quite a few of the other shows that 90’s kids grew up with which is why the majority of the brony are college aged kids born in the early 90’s.

    3. They are just hipsters who don’t understand why it’s popular but want to seem cool or unique so they just claim to be a fan and buy all the merchandise to seem cool without having a clue that the average brony isn’t going to do all that shit.

  3. Aether and Caleb pretty well hit the high points. Well written and animated. Likable, well rounded characters. Little details that show the folks making it actually care about crafting something with quality.

  4. @Caleb

    You forgot the worst one, and one who give Bronies a bad rep.

    4. The mixture of ones from the any of the first 3 that take it to perverse and/or meme-like heights, or are simply themselves part of another, significantly creepy subculture…..

    ….furries. *shudders*

  5. I wrote a blog article on MLP:Fim that I thin illuminates why Bronies exist, speaking as a moderate brony myself I think I summed it up pretty well. HUZZAH THE EXPLANATIONS HAVE BEEN DOUBLED!!

  6. I strongly support bronies in their endeavors, but I am not one of them. I think this allows me some perspective so I’ll try and share. I actually assumed they were a group of 4chan trolls (the sect actually caused a bit of an online civil war there and they eventually had to be given their own board lest they overrun the site), but I very much appreciated the sickeningly sweet humor that went along with these pony posts so I kept an eye on this phenomenon. After reading pony-based confessionals, message board threads, and reviews from various internet junctions, I realized that these people aren’t doing it just to piss people off. The discussions were clearly from people who genuinely loved this show.

    So I watched the two-episode pilot on Netflix instant. Not really something I’d go out of my way to watch on a regular basis, but I have to admit the show has a lot of charm and the animated facial expressions are fantastic. Perfect, in fact for use as reaction faces and gifs on online message boards, hence the massive online fan base.

    Anyways, I’ll get to the core of the matter here. I’d compare the brony phenomenon to other countercultures like aggressive music fans. Some of us love punk, hardcore rap, and metal music because it pisses people off and allows us to express the aggression and contempt we feel for mainstream society and constricting social norms in a non-destructive manner. Bronies get the same kick out of watching and enjoying a show for little girls, but given that the message of the show is very positive and uplifting, they can express their disdain for social gender norms by enjoying a children’s cartoon show instead of angry music or gory movies or whatever negativity most of us prefer.

    Frankly I’d watch MLP over Spongebob any day of the week. Nobody seems to get their jimmies rustled when adults watch that utter garbage. I say let the bronies be. Yeah, the male cosplay and fan fiction is creepy (5o Shades of Pinkie….has this happened yet?), but that can be true of the extremes of most geek communities. They fill my message boards with combinations of cutesy images and snark that makes me smile so I’m all for these guys. Brohoof!

  7. -These older fans, typically males from 18 to 35, were drawn to the show’s characters, stories, animation style, and influence of the show’s propagation as an Internet meme-

    From: Wikipedia – My_Little_Pony:_Friendship_Is_Magic_fandom

    There you have it, Paul.

  8. This phenomenon does exist for other shows aimed to little girls, just not in America. Magical girl shows in Japan are mostly for younger audiences, but still get a strong adult male following.

  9. *brohoof* for Mike & Trashcanman.

    Hey Trashcanman, That’s some Happy Crappy I can DEFINITELY believe !!

    MAJOR COOL POINTS if you got that reference !

  10. As an adult woman who watches MLP, I concur with the above posters. It’s a funny, clever, entertaining show, and people tend to get annoyed about being told they can’t do or enjoy something because of their gender or because it’s ” childish”. In fact, isn’t there a famous quote by C.S. Lewis about the inherent immaturity of avoiding ” childish” things?

  11. I don’t like to consider myself a “brony,” because I think it’s a little insulting that the only way a male can love something that’s meant for girls is to put a male-oriented label on it, but I do genuinely love the show. It’s clever, funny, well-written and just goddamned adorable.
    Simply put, bronies exist for the same reason that the internet is obsessed with pictures of cats.

  12. Yes I started watching the show because I thought it was some sort a parody to a kid’s show (like happy tree friends). But after realizing it wasn’t, two or three episodes later, I can to the conclusion that is a genuinely entertaining show with a good message. Give the show a chance, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it to.

  13. I’ve been a brony for around a year now, and people have pretty strong opinions about community, both negative and positive. Most people who hate the community usually assume one or more of the following:

    1. We’re gay. Basically because some people can’t understand the idea of a male liking something that’s intended for females. Now of course there’s nothing wrong with being gay, but the fact is that being a brony has nothing to do with sexual orientation.

    2. We’re pedophiles. Similar to the above, some people can’t understand the idea of an adult liking something intended for children. I’m not sure why that would make someone a pedophile, but that’s what many people think.

    3. We’re furries, or something similar. Now truth be told, there is a group within the community known as “cloppers” which indulge in Rule 34. Rule 34 as you probably know, states that if it exists, there is porn of it. MLP is no exception. Now I’m not a clopper, but I have nothing against them. They’re entitled to like whatever they want. It doesn’t affect me in any way, so why should I care? Regardless, they make up a minority within the fandom– that minority exists in ANY fandom, whether you’re aware of it or not.

    4. We’re trolls, or we only like the show because it’s hip or something. This is completely false. True bronies like the show because it’s funny, wonderfully animated, has great voice acting and interesting stories, and because they enjoy being in the community. There’s no inside joke and we’re not trying to troll anybody; we genuinely like the show.

    5. We’re nerdy losers with no real social lives and we use the show as some sort of escape from that. Now I won’t really argue with the nerd part, I mean most of the people that visit this site probably have some pretty nerdy tendencies– and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But really, most of us are normal average people. We have regular lives and other interests and so forth. We’re just like any other fandom on the internet. And for the record, there are a healthy amount of both male and female bronies.

    Now I can understand why some people have a difficult time accepting us– it’s definitely a weird phenomenon, there’s no doubt about that. I didn’t get it at first either. I saw all this pony stuff popping up all over the internet and I thought it was really strange, then I decided to check out the show and I instantly fell in love with it.

    It’s not for everybody though. There’s nothing wrong with disliking the show; I want to make that point clear. I’ve heard a lot of folks say that bronies are “the cancer of the internet,” spreading to every corner and consuming everyone in their path. Many people treat us like we’re a cult or something and we’re going around door-to-door trying to convert people into bronies. That’s a bunch of nonsense. There are perhaps some obsessive and overzealous bronies, like with any fandom, but in all truth, we’re really just a group of people that like a show. That’s all.

    Perhaps the one thing that sets us apart from other fandoms is the way the creators of the show have fully embraced us. The writers, voice actors, etc. regularly communicate with us and show their appreciation for us. They’ve mentioned us on commercial promos for the show, and characters like Derpy Hooves pretty much exist because of us (I won’t bother explaining, you can look it up if you’re really interested). All in all, it’s just a great show and a great community to be a part of.

    Here’s the quote that LadyFoxfire was referring to:

    “Critics who treat ‘adult’ as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves… When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” ~ C.S. Lewis

  14. My little pony is a way for lonely socially awkward dudes to fit in with other lonely socially awkward dudes because everyone else laughs at them for masturbating to a little girls tv show.

  15. @Levi– Wow. That’s not even close to right. Aside from the cloppers – who are a very, very small portion of the fanbase- being a brony has nothing to do with sex or masturbation. It’s a funny, cute, interesting show, and there’s nothing wrong with appreciating that.

    As for us being lonely and socially awkward, again, you’re wrong. Our lives are not defined by the show, and it’s not the only thing we’re passionate about. Even if most of my friends aren’t bronies, we have other things in common, and the fact that I have one or more interests that they don’t share doesn’t affect our relationship any more than me not liking sports does.

    I find it odd that despite the fact that comic books are also ostensibly for children, nobody gives a crap that Avengers and Dark Knight Rises were two of the biggest movies of the decade. Why is that? Oh right, because they’re both fantastic movies.

  16. Another thing just occurred to me; I think that a lot of the reason that the MLP fandom is so visible and outspoken compared to other fandoms is precisely because people think we’re weird. Some bronies think it’s fun to annoy and confuse people by talking about their love for a children’s show (trolling, basically), and some of us just get defensive when we’re accused of being freaks or perverts for watching MLP (see my above post). Combine that with non-fans questioning, mocking, or discussing the phenomenon, it’s sort of a feedback loop of people talking about MLP.

    Case in point: I actually like Futurama more than I like MLP. But I have now written three posts about MLP today, and none about Futurama, because an Unreality writer wrote a post asking about why I like MLP, and nobody has asked me why I like Futurama.

  17. I had heard of Friendship Is Magic, and like most thought that it was going to be stupid/ dumb girl show. I had seen it several places through out the internet so I decided to give it a shot, just to see what all the fuss was about. I watch one episode, didn’t like it, but it was a two part episode so I decided to at least see how the story ended. Watched the second episode, still didn’t see the big deal, decided to see what a normal non pilot episode would be like, soon enough I was halfway through the season, I could no longer say I was watching it out of curiosity, I was watching it because I was enraptured by it. Most Bronies will go on tangents about how the characters are good, and the animation, and the writing and so on and so forth. All I know is that when I watch it it makes me happy, plain and simple, more so than any other show, game, book, or other type of media has ever effected me. I love the fandom and all the amazing things other fans have produced, original animations, stories, music, and we generally try to be kind to one another, which is something the world could use more of, God know the internet is a cesspool of trolls and cretins.

    You asked why we like this show, the simple answer is just “Because we do. It makes us happy and that’s all the reason we need.”

  18. Same reason we have Furries, mostly. – though not the complete answer.

    *queue up mandatory defense of the show, where it sounds like it’s going to be nominated for every TV award.*
    – and they’d all be wrong.

    There is plenty of good shows out there but for some reason they decide this ones the one they need to tout as significant…They may give these as these reasons but any reasonably objective adult won’t fool themselves into thinking its anymore complex than any mother children’s show.

    Needless to say, you aren’t missing anything, this is just as silly as when adults are into winnie the pooh, spongebob, or any other vapid kids show.

  19. honestly, people knock bronies cause it’s a ‘cool’ thing to do, the arguments saying bronies are all blankie blanks and etc etc are poorly formed…

    John DeLancey, Q, has lent his voice to the show. That should quell a lot of the arguments against the show and fans of the show.

  20. I wasn’t always a Brony, at one point I detested the show with all my being. However that said that was before I actually watched the show and found out why it was so popular. I was immediately drawn into the humor and well drawn characters. I have several favorites including Dr Whooves, Vinyl Scratch, and Twilight Sparkle. People have asked me why I enjoy it, and honestly I couldn’t tell you why, I just know that I do. Does that make me odd? Maybe, but I can accept that I am odd as long as I can say that there are alot more who are more odd than I.

    And just to cement my stance…

  21. Personally, like all internet sub-cultures I try not to make a general consensus about bronies and instead judge them on an individual basis. But just like all sub-cultures there are extremes in either direction and some of those extremes tend to creep me the heck out!

    For bronies it’s those guys that dress up in pony-esque costumes at cons and parade around with their cardboard wings, rainbow hair, and proudly month-unshaven beards that get to me. Those are the ones that just downright creep me out. I’d rather see you in a full fur-suit type of pony-costume than whatever the heck you’re wearing with your rainbow bracelets and weird patchy beard. I know you go home and jack off to this stuff, and thats weird. Really, really weird.

    And this is in no way a stab at the gay community, or the fur community, either. I don’t care if you like boys or girls or if you think your spirit is that of a fox or a horned fox, or a flying horned fox. Whatever. It’s when you cross that border into creepydom: that razor thin line between “okay, he’s just a big fan” to “omfg hide my kids”.

  22. The main points ahve all been made, but I would add that a great vocal cast, conpelling but not overbearing moral lessons, and a great deal of nods to and parodies of pop culture make it a winner. My daughter and I both watch, though I dare say I may be the bigger fan.

    1. Yes, those three extra reasons are definitely what’s keeping me watching despite the sometimes overdone cuteness. Otherwise, give me more Dragons, kung-Fu panda or Avatar: the next airbender, etc. any day over MLP.
      Still, MLP is surprising more iften than not, and I’d also add that the fact that they make good fun of all the girlie standards like humorists do also makes smiling and laughing easy while watching.

      Grown genre female writer speaking 🙂

  23. From all of the bronies I’ve talked to, they just genuinely LIKE the show. And my little boy is 7 years old and he is also a brony. He happened upon the show one day on Netflix for Kids and he fell in love with it! He loves Super Mario, Halo, Legos and My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. No ulterior motives. He just really LOVES the show. And he can tell you about every single pony and their personality, too!

  24. The show isnt “deep” like everyone is saying…. and show any 1st generation pony to a brony and they freak out, that rules out the nostalgia. The animation isnt the best out there… so you cant say you only watched it for that. The internet makes everyone think that if you live by the definition of “irony” you are the coolest person ever. Moral lessons? with magic ponies and a monarch pony that imprisoned her sister on the moon?…. laughable…. and what is worse… there is a pony for every character ever… its annoying… its an infection. this is the system irony–>fandom–> troll and thats about it. they wont listen to anyone that isnt a brony… either saying their argument is “invalid, stupid, or that they dont embrace tolerance” I get you want to talk about your favorite show… but do it behind the walls of a brony forum or something… like every other fanbase

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