The Culture of the Bronies
This was actually a rewrite of a speech I gave in Calgary AB Canada, on June 16 2012. The text does not appear anywhere else on the internet.
The History of Bronies
Good Afternoon. My Name is Nigel Kirk and the subject which I have prepared for you is on Bronies. Bronies are a subculture of fans and devotees to the television series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
The Bronies, which are predominantly made up of adult males, seems to have a blatant disregard for contemporary social norms, yet have a rich history and should still be evaluated on those merits or their contributions to society.
The Bronies do indeed have a rich history. It began with Lauren Faust, co-creator of such series as “Powerpuff Girls” and “Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends.” She had approached Hasbro with the idea of marketing her Galaxy Girls toyline idea, and instead, Hasbro offered a job trying to resurrect one of their dead franchises. My Little Pony. Faust took the idea and prepared a 40 page presentation, teaming up with colleagues from previous series she's worked on in order to finish the presentation. Hasbro then hired her to work on the series, and gave her full creative control.
On October 10, 2010, The first episode of the two part pilot aired. 10-10-10 being the date that Hasbro launched it own television station “the Hub.” Immediately the show started receiving mixed reviews. Critics either really loved the show, or really hated it. The criticism continued until one historic day, a blogger complained that a tomboyish character with a rainbow colored mane was a lesbian, because she was, well, tomboyish and had a rainbow colored mane. Many people had become shocked that this was either true, or at just how rediculous the assumption was. Bloggers all over the internet began to watch the show to see if there was any merit to this accusation. Eventually, bloggers who had become fans of the show made their way to the website 4chan to defend the series by posting screencaps of the show with humorous captions.
The fans of the series made their way onto 4chan's main imageboard /b/ and what has since been known as the “great pony war” in which there were many casualties began. The users of /b/ did not feel that a cartoon for little girls was appropriate. Also /b/ smacks of racism and homophobia and of course, adult males watching a little girls show does have certain connotations... so the war was on.
Eventually, this lead to an all-out ban on all pony posts in /b/ and a ban on all IP addresses linked to pony related posts. This lead to the term Brothers in Ponies, or /b/ronies.
Cultural Characteristics of Bronies
Now to discuss characteristics of the Brony culture. For this I like to look at the humanities: Music, artwork, and literature. The fans of the show do everything from mixing music to making art. Some of which is completely adorable, to those which are mature, yet classy to the absolutely grotesque.
It includes a variety of music, some original songs inspired by the series, and covers of songs from the series. The genres vary widely, from classical piano, to pop, to heavy metal, to dubstep. The fans write “fan-fictions”... their own original stories that take place in the My Little Pony universe... of a wide variety of genres: romance, adventure, comedy, tragedy, all the way to erotic fiction and horror. There are people who dress in costume at conventions, the biggest ones being BroNYcon in New York, and Everfree Northwest in Seattle.
Bronies also have their own language. Replace words like “body” and “person” with “pony”, as in “Pay attention Everypony!” Replace Hands and Fists with “Hooves” Replace “God” with “Celestia.” The Bronies have become fluent in this, and it comes as second nature to a Brony. In fact, they will speak like this accidentally in casual conversation with people who may not be Bronies themselves.
Bronies and Inter-cultural Actions
Finally, Let's discuss Bronies' contributions to society. First of, Bronies are kind of a pseudo-feminism. I do not mean to offend any women when I say this, but Bronies, which are predominantly male, are challenging the very definition of what it means to be masculine. This is why they are often described as deviants. The very definition of deviant is someone who does not adhere to social norms or society's expectations of them. For Bronies, they watch and ENJOY a little girls cartoon. It's okay for Bronies to cry, It's okay for them to be emotional, it's okay for one guy to hug another guy, and to put a bit of emotion behind it. Typical males? No. But it's a part of what defines many members of the Brony culture.
Additionally, they also do a lot of charity work, from hosting autograph sessions at conventions to raise money for the SPCA, to filming a documentary to raise money for various charities. Even many of the top brony musicians got together to make an Album to raise funds to build a hospital in Uganda. Bronies are not a nuisance to society. They genuinely want to try to make the world a better place.
Additionally, the Bronies live by their own code of ethics, summarized under on phrase: Love and Tolerance. When someone criticises them, they respond respectfully, and continue to love critics in both word and action. This is sometimes known as “Firing the Orbital Friendship Cannon” because Bronies have also learned that oftentimes, if they can't rustle your feathers, they've lost power over you, and kindness does actually make for a great weapon.
So in conclusion, Bronies have a rich, albeit short history, They have all the qualities that define them as a unique culture, including unique artwork, music, literature, and language, and they continue to contribute to society by challenging social norms, charity work, and by living by their own ethical code.