The “My Little Pony” television show and merchandise are labeled “for ages six and up.” For some Kent State students — not just girls — the phrase, “and up” has a little more leeway. A new rising popularity in “My Little Pony” fandom has been surging for a little over a year now, with a surprising new demographic: grown men and women.
The popularity of these ponies do not discriminate against genders, as men love it as much as women. The men were dubbed “Bronies” and the women “Pegasisters” after the different races of horses in the “My Little Pony” universe. The show has gained great favor with bronies and pegasisters, many of whom are college students, even at Kent State. The Kent State Bronies and Pegasisters is a student-run organization on-campus that acts as a fan club for students that love “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.”
The group was established in late September 2011 by co-founders Jason Meek, a freshman majoring in visual communication design, Molly Pfeil, a freshman visual communication design major, and Annika Johnson, a freshman flight technology major. “
It was a way to meet people since I was new at college,” said Meek, the brony-president of the club, who isn’t ashamed of his love of the show and even a buyer of Hasbro’s “My Little Pony” merchandise, said, “I’ve pretty much forgotten it’s anything but strange [to like My Little Pony] at this point.”
As well as entertaining, the show has also empowered women with its strong message that no girl is the same. “The writers took the stereotypes of girls and threw them out the window,” said Pfiel. “Instead of behaving like ponies they behave like (people around the same age as) college students.”
These young adults, ranging from 17 to mid- 20s, adore the show. Many are left asking themselves how this phenomenon occurred in the first place. For decades, “My Little Pony” was enjoyed by millions of little girls; teenagers and young adults were thought of as the last people who would be interested in the craze. Yet here they are. The reason: new management.
Hasbro inc., the company that created “My Little Pony” and its toy line had kept its animation series and films rather bland since the shows began airing in 1986. Then, only a few years ago, Hasbro decided to revamp the entire animated series by creating an entirely different series about never-before-seen ponies.
The corporation looked to Lauren Faust, famous animator and writer, for many of the great shows and films we grew up with, such as: “The Powerpuff Girls,” “Cat’s Don’t Dance,” “Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends” and “The Iron Giant.”
Then, in October 10th, 2010, Lauren Faust, with the help of seven other hand-picked writers created “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” With its attractive animation, deep story lines and complex character development, “My Little Pony” became a show for little girls and their parents.
The new show’s appeal stretched farther than it ever intended. And with the help of the internet, its popularity spread to the underground forums, to teens and young adults who still love to watch cartoons.
“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” is finishing its second season and is already approved for a third season, gaining more popularity one brony/pegasister at a time.