My White Paper-Taylor Brody

The Topic Background: “Brony” Culture

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (often referred to as MLP: FiM) is an animated television cartoon for young girls that debuted on The Hub network in 2010. The Hub network was created by Hasbro as a ploy to reboot and sell toys that were outdated, such as Transformers and Littlest Pet Shop, which drew criticism from cartoon enthusiasts, including Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew, who believed that The Hub’s creation marked “The End of the Creator-Driven Era in TV Animation.” This particular article made its way to a well-known website called 4chan, where it was discussed in a thread. One person engaging in debate disagreed with Amidi, claiming that MLP: FiM was an extremely high-quality show and encouraged others to watch the show, regardless of age and gender. A couple of guys posting in the thread watched the first episode, later posting about how much they enjoyed it. Other men reading or posting in the threads took their lead, creating one of the most active and unique fandoms in the world: the Bronies.

“Brony” is a portmanteau of “bro” and “pony.” The term applies to any grown person, especially a male, who watches MLP: FiM. Bronies, who tend to be young to grown boys and men between the ages of 13 and 35, enjoy the show’s animation, voice-acting, character development and quality family-friendly humor that sometimes is overlooked in the development of other children’s TV shows. The brony fandom consists primarily of artists and musicians, who create remixes of songs from the show, original pony characters and animated parodies. Hasbro, along with the development team for FiM, was surprised by the unintended turnout of male viewers, yet they decided to embrace them. Commercials and billboards have been made specifically for bronies. The developers have given formerly nameless background ponies names that bronies came up with, such as Derpy Hooves and Doctor Whooves, the latter being a reference to Doctor Who. There are even conventions specifically intended for bronies such as BronyCon and Canterlot Gardens, where the development team and voice actors are present. Brony artists have also been given the benefit of the doubt by Hasbro, who has only sent out one cease and desist for violating the copyright policies attached to MLP: FiM. Hasbro even allow entire episodes of the show to be posted on YouTube, where anyone can watch any episode of the series for free.

The fandom has drawn quite a bit of criticism since its creation, garnering the unwelcome criticism of Fox News, who claimed that bronies were “grown men who stay home from work to watch My Little Pony.” Howard Stern also criticized the fandom, interviewing certain individuals at BronyCon who admitted to liking ponies a little “too” much. Some people have even questioned the psychology of bronies, believing that they are not psychologically sound. Many believe that bronies are pedophiles and closeted homosexuals.

My Working Thesis

Even though bronies are not the intended audience of MLP:FiM, they have very normal reasons for watching the show, and are as sane as the everyday man or woman. Bronies, who have open and creative minds, are too often criticized based on the few “crazies” within the fandom. All fandoms have their weirdos, but in the bronys’ case, they are judged based solely on them. People need to accept that bronies don’t watch FiM because they’re gay, or pedophiles, or psychos…bronies simply enjoy FiM because it is a high-quality show.

Counterintuitive Note

MLP’s target age group is young girls. Most men watch adult cartoons, such as South Park and Family Guy, if they watch cartoons at all. There’s an unwritten rule that boys, men, girls and women all have certain shows that are intended for their age and gender group, and that they should stick to the shows that apply to them. Bronies break this rule to the max: boys, women and men are all present in the brony fandom.

Topics For Smaller Papers:

Appeal

Lauren Faust, the creative mind behind MLP: FiM, created the successful, entertaining children’s animated cartoons Foster’s Home for Imaginary FriendsThe Powerpuff Girls and Codename: Kids Next Door. Leading the way in the voice-acting department is Tara Strong, best known for voicing Timmy Turner in The Fairly Oddparents and Harley Quinn in the Batman Arkham video game series. Other talented voice actors involved include John de Lancie and Andrea Libman. The animation, despite being done through Flash, a simple software, looks anything but simple. It’s complex, colorful and carefully themed. Many outside references are made in the show, such as Star Wars and Pokemon references.

Reaction by Hasbro

Hasbro surprised the TV watching world when it accepted the brony fandom. While it was undoubtedly a money-making scheme, Hasbro was telling the world that they accepted the fact that grown men watch their show. Hasbro allows bronies to get away with more in the copyright field, letting artists and musicians to use their characters and songs to make comics, paintings, remixes and even animations. They also make commercials and billboards that target the older audience, using references to movies and even beer commercials that tend to go over the heads of young children. Hasbro has also given names to certain ponies that bronies created beforehand.

Psychology of Bronies

Bronies, just like anyone who watches a children’s show, learn the lessons taught in each episode. MLP: FiM teaches the fundamental values of friendship, including, but not limited to, honesty, generosity, loyalty, kindness and laughter. Bronies take advantage of these values, which are lost in many friendships, and tend to be kinder, gentler and more caring individuals than those who don’t watch the show.

Current State Of Research Paper

I have many sources available to me for this assignment and a thesis. I’m still looking for a source that indicates the exact percentage of bronies who watch MLP compared to the amount of young girls who watch the show. I used to have one available to me but the location of that article seems to have left my mind.

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2 Responses to My White Paper-Taylor Brody

  1. davidbdale says:

    Hey, Taylor, I admit I haven’t watched an episode yet, so my question may be naive, but why in the world would finding enjoyment in an animated show, even one intended for children, indicate homosexuality or pedophilia? That line of reasoning may be the most counterintuitive of all. Is it just a macho overreaction to admiration for anything other than mixed martial arts?

    When I think of shows I don’t mind watching with kids, including Spongebob Squarepants and Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, I can’t imagine, but maybe that’s the point, that it reflects on my sexuality. But it’s also true I don’t devote even one minute to creating new derivative art or Spongebob parodies.

    When you offer Lauren Faust’s resume, you muddy and enrich the argument considerably. Does the Powerpuff Girls have a devoted adult male fan base? If not, why not? You pretty much obligate yourself to describing the qualities of MLP that reward the attentions of adults in ways other shows do not. Did she do crap work on the other shows?

    What’s interesting to me about Hasbro’s reaction is that they’re probably as protective as any other company about the intellectual property rights of their characters, UNLESS bending those rules creates demand for their products from new revenue sources. It’s just smart business to let your fans attract other fans.

    Ummm . . . Bronies are better people than non-Bronies? And they LEARN character improvement lessons from the shows? That’s really pushing it.

    I’m not sure you need a statistic on the size of the audience, as long as it isn’t one lonely guy who never got a pony as a child. The occurrence of conventions is probably enough to establish the phenomenon. Hasbro’s participation in those conventions is also good evidence that they’re nurturing this fan base, perhaps even evolving the show to meet more of its needs. Besides the new character names, try to track other changes to the story lines, language, or themes.

  2. davidbdale says:

    Good work so far on your own material, and on the corrections you have made following feedback. (More to go though.)
    Grade recorded.
    If you do further revisions, be sure to note so here in comments and request another look.

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