Men called Bronies are big fans of 'My Little Pony'

Grown men who call themselves Bronies aren't just fans of "My Little Pony," they're rebelling against gender and social stereotypes.
November 29, 2013 7:38:36 PM PST
There is surging popularity for the "My Little Pony" cartoon. And it's not just from little girls, but grown men. They call themselves Bronies and they are giving researchers a look at how fans behave like never before.

Ohad Kanne is a software engineer in Emeryville. But he's also a Brony.

"A Brony by definition," he said, "is an adult fan of My Little Pony."

Thousands of young men like Ohad are hooked on the cartoon that started in the 1980's.

The newest incarnation of the show debuted three years ago and spread quickly on the Internet, generating a "huge" new fan base. Bronies recently held their first California convention in Sacramento. Hundreds of people attended in costume.

Mason Pummill was one of them, "We got such a great community around here you can go to conventions like these and see people dress up as whatever they want to be."

Kanne added, "You can't really walk around like that all the time when you're in the streets. So, you get to go out sometimes, why not?"

This Bronycon is a chance to share stories, shop for memorabilia, and sing favorite pony songs from the series.

There's even a dance where they can get their Brony on.

These guys aren't just fans; they are rebelling against gender and social stereotypes.

One teen told us, "People make fun of me, but I really don't care."

Another added, "It's weird that we're watching My Little Pony. We are teenage guys, we shouldn't be doing that. But it doesn't really matter. So what if it's weird."

Research done by the Bronies shows there are as many as 12 million Bronies in the United States alone. The fan page Equestria Daily has had over 400 million page views since 2011.

It gets a whopping 175,000 page views a day.

There is also a booming market for pony art. Michelle Debruin was blown away by the success of her first convention, "Within the first five hours of that convention, we were sold out of half of our most popular lines," she said

Bronies are also attracting interest from researchers as well. Psychotherapist Marsha Redden is studying them.

"This is the first time that we know of, that anyone has begun studying a fandom from the beginning," said Redden.

A fandom is a group of extremely dedicated fans, like Trekkies. Or in this case, Bronies.

Redden's research found that the bulk of Bronies are male, age 15 to 30.

"When you talk about Bronies, and you talk about young men who are fans of My Little Pony, which is a little girls cartoon, the first thing that everybody thinks of is they're gay," said Redden, "And that's not what we found."

Redden's says very few Bronies identified as gay. In fact, 85 percent of Bronies identified as heterosexual.

"We found that they are well educated, that they do hold jobs either full or part time, some are in the military," said Redden.

Reddens added that many of these guys turn to the Bronydom for the sense of community and camaraderie.

That probably is not surprising, from a show where "friendship is magic."

The popularity of Bronies has grown so much that there's now a Bronycon planned for April in Burlingame.

Written and produced by Ken Miguel

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