A subculture has sprung up over the past few years, inspiring a community of supporters and fans of the animated show, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. They call themselves Bronies.
In 2011, the University of Calgary club Bronies United was created.
Fourth-year women’s studies student and club co-founder Tadeus Martyn said the Brony culture has spread due to a simple love of the show.
Through large groups on the Internet, this group of pony-loving friends has spread worldwide. At the U of C, Bronies United has accumulated 80 members, 38 of whom are new this year. Bronies United is looking to spread its community at the U of C.
“It started out as just a small group of people who watched the show and it expanded from there. [Brony] is primarily used to refer to male fans, but it can also be used to refer to female fans. They might also choose Pegasister. It all depends on the individual,” said Martyn. “A lot of people really like the storyline and the writing of the show. Many people were interested in the animation and in general how well the show was put together.”
Martyn, who is doing his honours thesis on how masculinity is portrayed within the Brony community, said the My Little Pony following goes beyond conceptions of masculine and feminine.
“Why should we define it as feminine? It should just be considered a cool show that anyone can watch,” said Martyn. “It speaks to a whole bunch of people that just fell in love with the show.”
Bronies United has held many fundraisers and charity initiatives. Martyn said Bronies are different from other fan groups due to the members’ contributions to new media and charitable organizations.
“With the Bronies, there is a lot of participation. We have a huge music culture and a huge video culture,” said Martyn. “A lot of the fandom is producing your own stuff and showing people what you can do. We are really focused on engaging with the student population as well as helping others.”
Martyn said it has been interesting to be a part of a growing subculture.