Friendship: still magic

by Amber Lyons | Student Contributor

In 2010 Lauren Faust created the reboot My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. While at first sight this doesn’t appear much different from the original shows and movies, Faust took the series and turned it into something that not only avoids the clichés of the prepubescent girl TV genre, but, as proven by its fan base, goes beyond the show’s original gender norms.

Self-titled as ‘Bronies’ (male or gender neutral) or ‘Pegasisters’ (exclusively female), these adults have dominated the show’s fan base. The Brony Study Research Project is a project that took 40,000 Bronies, and non-Bronies and had them fill out different surveys. The study found:
• the average age of fans is 21
• that 86% of Bronies are male
• 62% are currently in college or are college-educated
• 84% identified as heterosexual
As a group Bronies, were found to be more introverted, more agreeable (less likely to seek conflict), and less neurotic than non-Bronies.

My Little Pony (MLP) features six female ‘mane’ characters who learn lessons about friendship through day-to-day activities and high adventures. The show uses a story arc common to children’s cartoons: a quick, cutsie intro; a problem appears; said problem is mishandled; characters confront the problem together; finally, a moral lesson is explained in the end.

The Brony Study talks about how the lessons presented at the end of every episode relate to the Brony fandom. “MLP presents a highly moral and virtuous message allowing it to serve a Guidance function (for many Bronies). This is likely to be the least recognized feature of the Brony phenomenon, but may also represent one of the Brony Fan Community’s greatest strengths and potential contributions to emerging web based fan communities”

The Brony community has shown that they take these lessons of love and tolerance to heart with the web site Bronies for Good.  Bronies for Good is a group that sponsors non profit organizations. The group has helped with blood drives and Christmas toy donations, and has raised $30,000 for the Children’s Cancer Association and $100,000 for Your Siblings, a non-profit that creates clinics and orphanages in Uganda and Burundi. They also attend different My Little Pony conventions and sell items in auction. The funds go to various different causes; a single signed poster has gone for $4,050.

This generosity goes outside of specialized groups. In 2012 Tara Strong, the voice of the main character Twilight Sparkle, posted a link on Twitter encouraging people to donate to the Amazing Gray Fund. The fund goes to help a young boy by the name of Grayson. At six years old Grayson was diagnosed with a brain tumor, the fund went to his cancer treatments. In the documentary Bronies, Tara Strong goes to see Grayson with a Twilight Sparkle plushie, $600 from the hats that Strong had sold online and $6000 from donations. The Brony community supported Grayson by sending him not just money for his different treatments, but personalized messages telling him how strong and amazing he is.

Bronies have received a bad reputation in the public eye. They have been accused of being immature, creepy and weird. In reality, they are a group of people who enjoy a show that encourages high morals and who wish to bring those morals into the real world.

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