I show up to my day time job with a small, bright pink My Little Pony purse clutched in my hand. It’s my every day purse and I carry it around proudly despite the fact that I am an adult woman pushing 30. You may shake your head and think I’m crazy – especially if you don’t have a fandom or universe you enjoy yourself. You might even think I look stupid. To me, my love of My Little Pony is completely normal.
Hi. My name is Kimi and I am what some refer to as a “Brony” or “Pegasister” – an adult who loves what is considered to be a children’s television show featuring animated ponies and the magic of their friendship.
Like so many young women my age, I grew up watching the first generation of My Little Pony back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. I don’t really remember it, but I must have really liked it to have numerous My Little Pony themed birthday cakes growing up. Regardless, clearly my adoration for cute animated ponies has somehow stuck with me through to my adult life without my realizing.
A couple of years ago, my best friend (who is male by the way) re-introduced me to this majestical world of ponies. I wrote it all off as silly on numerous occasions until I finally let down my guard and gave the show a real shot. Much to my surprise, I found that the characters were well designed with strong personalities, the plots were interesting and entertaining, the voices were quality and well suited to each pony, and overall I found the show a pleasure to watch.
Unlike a lot of cartoons designed for girls, this generation of ponies known as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP:FiM) isn’t just a bunch of pastel pink ponies sitting around sipping tea and eating biscuits. There are real adventures to be had, dangers to face and even some life lessons to be learned through difficult situations.
Children are taught the values of Honesty, Loyalty, Kindness, Laughter, Generosity and the Magic that happens when you bring those traits together. It’s surprisingly not at all lame and because of the strong personalities the ponies each posses, it’s entertaining and mostly groan-free for adults.
But what makes this show so special? What is it that’s so intriguing?
MLP:FiM A Dog and Pony Show is an episode with a perfect example. The main character of the episode, Rarity is what I would describe as prissy. She abhors dirt and hard labor, but will do whatever it takes to help out her friends – including getting down and dirty if need be. Thus, she is the pony that represents Generosity.
In one of my favorite episodes, she is captured by a band of wild dogs who want her to use her powers to find gems, dig them up and do the dirty work of lugging the collection of gems around in a cart. She makes complaints about the harness being too tight and that she is getting dirty. The wild dogs tell her to stop whining and Rarity being the smart pony that she is, teaches them the difference between complaining and whining.
At the cut of the scene, Rarity has convinced the wild dogs to do whatever it takes to get her to stop whining. What you miss is that after the cut, Rarity has the dogs decorating the cave and doing all of the work of digging and lugging the gems around.
We’re accustomed to Rarity being so dainty and she uses that to her advantage, using her quick thinking to transform herself from the typical damsel in distress, to tricking her pony-nappers into doing the work for her. It’s all very clever, impressive and it teaches children that people (and ponies) aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes the one that looks most weak, is the strongest of the bunch.
What Makes Bronies Stay?
We arrived at the show because someone thought we’d like it. We stayed for strongly voiced characters like lead pony Princess Twilight Sparkle – voiced by Tara Strong who is known for her work as Dil Pickles on Rugrats, Bubbles on The Powerpuff Girls and Timmy Turner on The Fairly OddParents… among other characters.
We stayed for the beautiful artwork and animation in addition to the quick and witty writing that caters to the child in us as much as our adult sense of humor. We stayed because we found a way to identify with the ponies and see ourselves in their predicaments and hard life choices. We stayed because we learned to hate ourselves a little bit less.
Of course there is the fan fiction, art, official and third party merchandise to go crazy over as with any other fandom out there. Personally, I collect Funko Pop and the clear variant of Funko My Little Pony figurines. A couple of months ago, I got my hands on a couple of Princess Luna figurines by Funko through a negative encounter between Hot Topic and myself.