Last weekend the Anaheim Marriott was overrun with “bronies”, mostly adult male fans of “My Little Pony.” I had a great time taking pictures of the creative costumes, but I didn’t have enough time to really interview anyone indepth or become immersed in the whole thing. Since I don’t watch My Little Pony, I rarely knew what was going on.
I did discover that it is not the 1980s “My Little Pony” people are becoming obsessed with, it’s a new franchise for Hub TV made in Vancouver by Lauren Faust, previously of Powerpuff Girls. People wanted to emphasize that “My Little Pony Friendship is Magic” has a message, and that’s what they relate to. As one 6’2 buff man told me, “Did I ever think I would get into “My Little Pony”? No way!” Another fan told me the show is about acceptance, lack of gender bias, and even acceptance of other sexual orientations.
The crowd seemed to be primarily teen to 30-something guys, with plenty of girls in the mix. Some girls refer to themselves as a pega-sis, but many girls feel that brony is a gender-neutral term and are proud to describe themselves thusly.
People were dressed as various characters, and there didn’t seem to be a single aesthetic. There were a lot of bright colors, a lot of pastels, and glitter galore. Lots of guys were giving each other horseback rides, and playing a game in which the “pony” tried to throw the “rider” by spinning and making sudden moves. At one point someone shouted a code word, and everybody fell to the floor as if knocked out. Whether these games were My Little Pony related, or just what this group of guys do for fun, I haven’t a clue.
The one thing I did know is that they treated this outsider with friendliness and acceptance. They were excited to talk about the TV show and the fan scene. One girl even offered to lend me her precious laminate so I could go in and watch a show — and she didn’t even know my name! I know that it’s tempting to make fun of the bronies,but the world can be such a harsh place. Why not disappear into a friendly world of pastels and sparkles for a little while?