How pony are you? Do you devote several hours a day to pony news, pony media, pony discussion, and pony thoughts? Do you decorate your house with pony posters, pony plushies, and pony figurines while you blast pony music through the halls?
A good number of bronies are young enough to still be living with their parents, and a good number are also stuck in dorm rooms that they have to share with others who may not be as understanding of brony culture as one would like. The question is, would you if you could?
One thing that you, dear readers, may not know about me is that I love lore and history of fictional universes that I have a vested interest in. I will still infrequently play Runescape, where all of the history, lore, quests, backstory, and other general information are something I make a point to pay attention to; as such, I’m something of an encyclopedia for that game. When I was playing World of Warcraft, I similarly devoted countless hours to running around their lore section and paying very close attention to implications made through gameplay.
So, what happens when you give a self-proclaimed fictional historian like Scootareader a new TV show that has incredibly well-developed characters, a deep, thoughtful story, and enough history to keep me wanting to chew through children’s books for weeks for little nuggets of information?
You get him frustrated, that’s what.
One thing that most bronies don’t think about is the amount of time and effort that they have put into the show and the fandom. Thinking logically about it, there would be far more free time in my day if I hadn’t filled it with ponies. This is a choice, not an obligation; perhaps all addicts say that about their problems, but I think that watching an educational, entertaining show for girls is ultimately a better decision of wasting time than slowly giving myself cancer, finding inebriated promiscuous women at questionable social events, or searching for solace in likewise illegal activities.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that ponies are not an addiction; that we can all kick them out of our lives at any time, there will be no residual effects, and life will go on as it normally does, sans the ponies. Now we’re getting to where there’s sacrifice—time freely devoted to a cause. Jroddie, as some of you may have noticed, has been posting a lot more articles recently; this isn’t because he likes season 4, however. He still hates the direction that the show is taking, convinced that matters have gotten progressively worse since Lauren Faust departed our fair show.
I agree with him: Things have gotten worse since Lauren Faust left. However, my beef isn’t with the show itself.
Friendship. It’s in the title of the show, and most definitely a central theme of the new generation of My Little Pony. It drives actions, saves nations, and gives viewers the warm fuzzies when things work out all right. As said by Twilight Sparkle, “Friendship is a wondrous and magical thing, and like the path cut through the orchard, there will always be a way through.” (The Return of Harmony P2)
So, is the magic of friendship something that all bronies feel in their hearts? The answer to that riddle is no. Friendship, despite being the central pillar of the show which all things are built upon, is pathetically underrepresented in the brony community. There’s acting and there’s pretending, but an incredibly high number of bronies balk at the notion of friends being meaningful.
In a time before there was ponies, the world still existed. People were happy, and people were sad. There were times of peace, and there were times of war. The world turned, and time passed us by. We didn’t consider ourselves a lost cause, a world without direction, and there was still a significant population of humanity that was dissatisfied with the direction our species is taking.
Now, there are ponies. We have several seasons under our belt, and some of us anticipate several more. We, as a fandom in general, are psyched about it. Whatever misgivings existed about alicorn Twilight, they typically seem to have been forgotten in the interest of new episodes. Just what has driven us to make this a part of our lives? What of our lives before ponies? What is so special about a few animated horses singing about friendship?
Well… I’ve talked about so many of the smaller things that diversify the fandom, how about we tackle the big guy now? There’s an arsenal of different things that the community brings in—multimedia to the highest extent—which impacts some of our lives very highly, others very little. It’s just a huge conglomerate of stuff, and no one can manage all of it. There’s just too much, and it’s everywhere now.
It’s very difficult to describe in one opinion who bronies are. There’s no way you can get anything all-encompassing from one guy standing up and saying, “This is my opinion.” I could give it my best effort, but it would still fall far too short of the mark.
So, I enlisted some help.
One thing that I learned relatively quickly on the fanfiction scene is that there is verbiage specific to fanfiction that those who have never read it or been interested in it don’t know or understand. Terms like mary sue, shipping, and OTP (one true pairing, for shipping pairs, if you don’t know) are things that I’d never heard of prior to my first forays into this new and fascinating world of speculation and imagination.
Another of these terms that I came across is canon. In opposition to fanon, canon is what is considered as having actually happened, as far as storyline progression goes. In some shows, it is as if a reset button was pressed at the beginning of each episode, making previous episodes meaningless and making each new episode a standalone, with no references to past episodes and no additions to future episodes.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic doesn’t have a reset button. Each episode has a lesson that’s actually learned by the characters which carries its teachings into future episodes, giving a sense of continuity and story. So, since these elements exist, this show has the textbook definition of canon.
From early on in the development of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, bronies have influenced the direction of the show in very interesting ways. One of these has been background characters—those deemed so unnecessary that they may not even be given a name. Nearly every pony created so far, from a pegasus jumping on a cloud to an earth pony wrapping up winter to a unicorn doing his daily shopping, has received some kind of unofficial name from the bronies.
One of these characters, having existed since the first episode, is Derpy Hooves. Originally canonically Ditzy Doo, the fandom somehow managed to change the minds of the creators of the show to change her name as a shout-out to bronies. In episode 14 of season 2, The Last Roundup, we had our moment: On the official show, Rainbow Dash said, “Careful, Derpy!” The cheer that went up in the room of bronies I was watching it with woke up half the people still sleeping in my dorm.
Imagine our surprise when they took her away from us again.
All right, so conventions are these really big events that have bronies from large areas attending, sometimes worldwide. These are orchestrated, require a large amount of money, and generally aim to please all audiences that may be in attendance.
Meetups are none of these things. They are very local, often don’t cost more than a couple hundred dollars at the really big events, and are single occasions that only interested parties need attend. If conventions are the culmination of brony socialization, meetups are a step down.
We’ve all heard the term. It refers specifically to a female fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Some women love it, and some hate it. We respect that; you may call yourself what you wish.
The question here is not, “What is a pegasister?” The question here is, “Why are there pegasisters? Or female bronies, for that matter?” Well, before I put my foot any further in my mouth, let’s explore this topic somewhat.