Bronies

Jake Parkhouse poses with Fluttershy, his favorite character from the show ‘My Little Pony.’ He identifies with its sympathetic attitude.

 

Crowds buzz around the convention hall, eager to meet the voice actors who breathe life into their favorite characters and share their enjoyment of one show. Every year, BronyCon — a gathering with the purpose of bringing adult male “My Little Pony” fans together — is held on the East Coast. 

Jake Parkhouse, a senior physics and mathematics double major, went to BronyCon once.

“BronyCons are just as much of the fans celebrating the existence of the fandom as they are the existence of the show,” Parkhouse said. “There were fan artists and musicians, story writers and so on.”

Many assume “My Little Pony” is a show for children, but Bronies are adamant that isn’t the case. 

“It’s just genuinely a good show,” Parkhouse said. “The same reasons I enjoy watching ‘Steven Universe,’ I like watching ‘My Little Pony.’ ‘One Punch Man,’ same reason. They’re all silly and funny.”

The show portrays nine characters in the fictional town of Equestria, centering on the unicorn pony Twilight Sparkle as she learns lessons about friendship.

His favorite character is Fluttershy, a yellow Pegasus with cotton candy-pink hair.

“We both tend to be very quiet whenever possible, but surprise others when the time comes to show how loud we can be,” Parkhouse said. “We both have a natural sympathy for things, and don’t like to make a big deal out of anything.”

The season two finale of the show is his favorite, which is a two-parter.

“It’s the perfect example of, ‘Hey, this isn’t a show for little girls,’” Parkhouse said. “This episode includes, like, literally a war, and a bunch of blackmailing and infiltration and replacing people in power. There’s just an all-out siege in Equestria.”

Parkhouse regularly spots other Bronies on campus.

“We tend not to make a big deal out of it because of the stigma,” Parkhouse said. “Maybe we have one shirt that has a pony on it, or there’ll be like a keychain on their backpack.”

Parkhouse loves to explain why he enjoys the show, especially the “moments of complete absurdity that make you laugh.”

Parkhouse’s mom, Jennifer McRae, admires that he’s found a way to be himself.

“I think that if he finds it interesting, more power to him,” McRae said. “I have watched it, and I think it’s cute, but I don’t get the humor in the same way that he does.”

He’s received some negative reactions from people because of his fandom, and these people always feel the need to tell him why they feel this way. 

Parkhouse’s friend Justin Leas, a senior physics and philosophy double major, knows him from chemistry class, and is also aware of the Brony stigma.

“I feel like it’s negative stereotypes across the board,” Leas said. “He was so open about it, it made me not even question it in the first place.”

Parkhouse claims the reaction to the fandom depends on the person, and he’s had his fair share of negative encounters. 

“I’ve … had times where people have questioned my mental state or even stopped talking to me after finding out,” Parkhouse said.

Parkhouse has a positive outlook on people’s viewpoints though. 

“People are different, and if they didn’t like the show, then that’s just their opinion,” Parkhouse said. “So what if mine is different? Opinions are magical in the sense that we can both be right at the same time.” 

Contact Lauren Sampson at sampsolx@dukes.jmu.edu.