In the world of subcultures a strange one’s developed around My Little Pony. The small plastic horses with long brushable manes came out in the early 80s but developed a cult following of men in their 20s in 2010 after a revamped version of the cartoon came out.
At the recent Ponycon those two worlds came into conflict. My fellow host Joe Sykes reports.
AMBI: Welcome to Ponycon 2015, let me hear it!! Noise and cheers from the crowd
At St Francis College in Brooklyn Heights it’s Ponycon 2015. On the first floor little girls and their parents visit the pony spa, sip sodas in the ponycakes café or cheer on the pony-themed band Cyril the Wolf in the Mane Hall.
It’s not exactly kids music and its not just here there’s a clash.
It’s on the 5th floor where the JOUSTING takes place. At one end of a long corridor is a small toy museum filled with about 500 pony models all of different shapes and sizes.
Hindman: So we get a trickle of people coming through. We have a lot of old pony product up in this room here.
Kirk Hindman was one of the original sculptors for My Little Pony back in the 80s when it was still little girls and hairbrushes. He trained in fine arts sculpture at Towson University and says back in the day ponymaking was…
Hindman: Artistry. And the other thing is they kind of reflect our personalites.
To me the small white pony with pink hair sitting in front of me looks…just like another pony. But to him….
Hindman: My friend Bill Colbertson made this one here and it looks like Bill Colbertson.
This is the world of collectors and collectables.
But at the other end of the corridor is the travelling pony museum and…that’s where the bronies live.
Connor Cheeley: My name is Connor Cheeley, the handle is slickdeals.
Slickdeals is what he goes by on the pony chatrooms with other men like him who call themselves bronies.
The brony movement started in 2010 after the release of the revamped My Little Pony cartoon which is more… Japanese cartoon…than little plastic dolls. Their origin stories are often like Cheely’s who started watching after his girlfriend told him about the show.
Cheeley: So I watch a few episodes, she doesn’t hear from me for another two days while I run through the entire first season. I’m like what have you done to me why is this incredible?
He shows me some of the more…risqué…items that make up the gallery. The few children who come in are shuffled away by anxious parents. There, in the middle of the room, is a my little pony provocatively displaying its behind…and…its got socks on.
Cheeley: the whole concept is ponies in socks are sexy.
Chai: In the old collecting community you say the word brony and we think of pervert.
In a world that to outsiders might seem so connected, misunderstandings abound. He used to call himself Golden Clopper on the internet chat rooms. Then…. he started getting emails from strangers telling him his name had another meaning.
Chai: I’m like what’s wrong with that. A horse goes clop clop clop and they’re like, apparently clopping in the brony community means masturbating and I’m like what the hell??
For Chai and his colleagues, it’s a brave new world which they just aren’t really that prepared for.
For the Bronies, the party is only just beginning and with a pony themed rave planned for the night ahead they will go late into the Brooklyn night.
Joe Sykes, Columbia Radio News