Introduction

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is an animated television series that was based on the My Little Pony line of toys and animated works by Hasbro. The show’s debut was on October 10, 2010. The show was a success and appealed not only to young girls, which was the target demographic of the show, but also to young and middle-aged men. They are not afraid to admit that they like the show even though it was meant for young girls. They also do not just come from one place; it is a worldwide following of the My Little Pony series. This fandom loves to talk about the show, collect merchandise, and even go and participate in MLP conventions. This fandom is where the term “brony” originated.

MLP Forums is a website where bronies can discuss anything and talk with each other. Here, they discuss about the fandom, fan labor, My Little Pony merchandise, latest events and episodes related to the animated television series. They also form fan clubs, fan made events, and even roleplay as characters within the series or characters they themselves made. The site’s discussion board was used with the desire to share stories, tell tales, and answer any questions a fellow brony may have. They have website rules that apply to anything related to the site.

Purpose of the Study

Bronies have had a large following within the years. They have also amassed significant publicity among the years. The baffling matter with this fandom is the fact that they are mostly men, ranging from young to middle aged, that faithfully follow the show. The sudden popularity of this community cannot be fully explained by conventional wisdom that tells us what men should or should not find engaging. This is where MLP Forums come in. It claims to be the biggest brony forum in the Internet. With this website, the researchers were able to answer the questions:

 

  1. Why is it the case that the majority of bronies are adult males?
  2. How do they interact with others?
  3. What makes bronies different from non-bronies?

 

These are the questions that the researchers aim to answer because these questions contain the necessary information that may fully help people understand the significant following of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and may also significantly help us understand and communicate properly with the enthusiasts of the show called bronies. The study also aims to help people understand and distinguish the different types of bronies.

MLP Forums: General Information and Delving Deep Within

According to Poniverse, a super community that runs multiple brony fan sites, MLP Forums is the biggest brony forum on the Internet and has clocked over 4 million posts with 30,000 and more friendly members. The website has a lot of users that have usernames that are mostly not about the show, but majority of the members of this community use pictures of original characters of the show or pictures of fan made ponies as their profile picture. The website also implements guidelines that are applicable to all official matters that is associated with the site. These includes their Facebook page, DeviantArt page, and many more.These guidelines are as follows:

  1. Tolerate and love everypony
  2. Keep the foul language down
  3. Write in proper, legible English
  4. NSFW and rule 34-type content is strictly taboo
  5. Advertising on MLPF is not permitted
  6. Plagiarism is strictly prohibited
  7. Do not post links to pirated materials
  8. Make quality posts
  9. Don’t be a backseat mod
  10. Don’t create multiple accounts
  11. Don’t create anything and call it “official” without asking an administrator first
  12. Don’t roleplay outside of Roleplay World
  13. Please don’t post suicide threats
  14. Users under thirteen are prohibited from joining MLP Forums
  15. These rules are global and apply everywhere on MLP Forums

From these guidelines, it is apparent that the community advocate serious and civilized discussions. Legitimate and inappropriate content can be expected within the forums because of the prohibition of plagiarism and NSFW content. With the endorsement of tolerance and love among its members, curtail of foul language, and ban of suicide threats, it is also discernible that the community encourages positive vibes among its threads and members. Overall, based on the guidelines established within the site, MLP Forums is a peaceful environment where bronies can interact and enjoy activities with one another.

  1. Why is it the case that the majority of bronies are adult males?

The researchers did participant observation to answer this question. Bronies mostly refer to the men that are fans of the show. Their ages range from 12 to 35 or more. Pegasisters are the counterpart of bronies which refer to the women fans of the My Little Pony series.

In addition to this, a member of the researchers became a member of this community to seek information about why these men like the My Little Pony series which was developed and produced for young girls.

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A member of the researchers made a post in the forums to get information

The responses from the community were plentiful and substantial. The community’s responses were civilized and friendly.

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Response #1

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Response #2

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Response #3

The members of the community like the show for many reasons. Some like MLP because the show reminds them of childhood. Many enjoy the series because they like its theme. It is also important to note that some of the members used to avoid or hate the show because they believe that it represents effeminacy; they became a fan because of the theme of the show that conveys love, tolerance, and friendship, unlike modern society today. For them, ponies are loving, kind, peaceful, and joyful. They hate the constant negativity that is almost always present in the world. With ongoing wars and terrorist threats happening around the globe today, they believe that showing love, kindness, and other positive motives are the way to live.

2. How do they interact with others?

The researchers used the visual method to investigate the answer to this question. Despite what people might think, bronies, fans of an animated show made for young girls, are also civilized people. They acknowledge that some people do not find the series to their liking and respect that. They communicate with non-bronies by talking to them normally. They use whatever language that the non-brony society uses, if they are able.

With regards to bronies, however, they use words that are used within the show and words that have some relation to ponies and are fanmade. They use these consistently when talking with their fellow bronies.

 

Brony Language English Language
Anypony Anyone
Everypony Everyone
Nopony No one
Somepony Someone
Fillies and gentlecolts Ladies and gentlemen
Hay yeah! Hell yeah!
Hooves Hands or feet
Thank Celestia! Thank goodness!
What in Ponyville is going on here? What in the world is going on here?
Bro-hoof Bro-fist
Paraspriting Trolling
Pegasister Female bronies
PMV Pony Music Video
Ponyfied Pony version of something
Welcome to the herd! Greeting for new fans of the show
Rule 48 If it exists, there is a pony version of it
Rule 49 If there is no pony version yet, it will be made

Figure 1. Some common terms used within the forums

The fandom is also attempting to create their own language. They call it the “Unicorn Language”. It contains its own alphabet, phonetics, prefixes, suffixes, rules on how to use it, and many more. It is very detailed, but it is still not officially recognized by the whole community as of now.

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A member of the community is working on their very own language called “Unicorn Language”

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The alphabet and phonetics of the Unicorn Language

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Talks about the meaning of each hieroglyphic and combining them to create longer and more complex words

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States that each hieroglyphic or symbol can hold different meanings depending on where they are placed within a sentence

 

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Each hieroglyphic can alter the meaning of a word by either attaching them before or after it

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They claim that a pony’s vocal tract is structurally similar to humans.

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Says that each consonant letter is simply a one-syllable word which has a default vowel associated with it

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Vocabulary used for family relations

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The member’s analysis of the “family relations” picture

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Talks about the use of personal, first person, and second personal pronouns in the Unicorn Language

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Summary of the personal and possessive pronouns used in the Unicorn Language

The community also interact with each other within the site by using the different sections found in MLP Forums. These sections include Canterlot, Poniverse Events, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Octavia’s Hall, Roleplay World, Beyond Equestria, Conventions, and Poniverse.

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In Canterlot, the community greets its new members and discuss issues and updates that occur within the site.

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In Poniverse Events, bronies talk about events, announcements, and festivities that they celebrate.

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Bronies in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic converse about the current events within the show and also talk about the past series, spin-off movies, an upcoming MLP movie in 2017, and also topics that are relevant to the series.

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Octavia’s Hall is where the creative bronies go to. This is where fanmade art, music, stories, and other artworks are shared and examined by the community.

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In Roleplay World, bronies plan, prepare, and discuss their roleplay events, using original ponies of the series or fanmade ones, with the community.

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In Beyond Equestria, people converse about matters that are not related to My Little Ponies.

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Conventions is where bronies discuss about official brony conventions such as announcements and meetups.

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Poniverse is where members of the community can quickly access other Poniverse sites.

       3. What makes bronies different from non-bronies?

The researchers utilized participant observation to explore this question. There are multiple types of bronies.

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These types of bronies are bronies, non-bronies, psycho bronies, and anti-bronies.

Bronies or pegasisters are the people that love the show and respect people that do not. They acknowledge that some people might not enjoy the show as much as they do and honor their opinions as their own. Non-bronies are people that do not follow, appreciate, and may even hate the show but, at least, show respect to brony fandom. They do not come as complete haters to bronies and also do not show prejudice against them. Anti-bronies are people that scorn the show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its community as a whole. They act as a contemptible person when in confrontation with a brony.

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Anti-bronies criticize and demean bronies on a personal level.

Should people be branded as such, the community view this as a negative label. There are also people that are called psycho bronies. These are bronies that are so in love with the show that it is the only thing they think and talk about. If someone says that they do not like My Little Pony, they do not respect that person’s opinion. They force their love for the show to people who do not view it the same way as they do. Bronies believe that there would not be anti-bronies if not for these people. These psycho bronies, like anti-bronies, are viewed by the community as antagonistic labels. These two groups of people are the primary reason why bronies are still hated today.

Conclusion

MLP Forums is a forum website that has a considerable amount of members called bronies. This site is a place where they could interact with fellow bronies and discover matters related to the show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This fandom called bronies consist of mostly men, ranging from young to middle aged. This following has garnered significant publicity among the years and their numbers are still increasing to this very day. They find My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, an animated television series developed and produced for young girls, engaging.  These people find the show appealing not because of malicious intentions, which is a common misconception of people outside the community, but because the show reminds them of their childhood and conveys positive themes such as love, patience, friendship, and joy. Members of the community communicate with each other using words used within the show itself and words that are made by the fandom. The brony fandom is dynamic and expansive.They interact with one another within the different sections found within MLP Forums. This is where they talk about topics related to the show, create and share artworks with members of the community, and also roleplay. They have begun developing their own detailed language to communicate with one another. There are also multiple types of bronies within this community. They are the bronies, the non-bronies, the psycho bronies, and the anti-bronies. The functionalist theory by Emile Durkheim is suitable for this community because MLP Forums serve as a place where people of similar hobbies, ideals, and beliefs called bronies can interact with others and express themselves. This website provides a peaceful environment, much like a second home, for these fans from all walks of life. Consequently, this helps these people perform and contribute significantly better in modern society.