By: Esther Tell
A Brony is an adult (mostly male) person that likes my little pony.
Like is maybe not strong enough of a word for this subculture. The Bronys evolved out of an online forum that took flight a few years ago when a group of 20 something men got together to admit their love for the TV show “My Little Pony.” I am not sure why they evolved as fast and as strong as they did, but there are theories; one is that it breaks the walls down of gender stereotypes, and with that grew a whole sub-culture of acceptance.
A few days ago I watched a documentary about this sub –culture, where a film crew followed around several people who identified as Brony on their way to and at a convention for fans of my little ponies. One of the people they followed around was a young adult with Asperger’s, a young man by the name of Daniel.
“I like ponies,” he starts out. “They don’t have a lot of emotional demands. The pony that I most identify with is Twilight, she gets really freaked out when things don’t go her way. If something goes out of her control, she gets very stressed out.”
His mom interjected, “ When he first told me about My Little Pony I was afraid that it was a new obsession.”
The second time we see him in the documentary he finds out that there is a My little pony convention near where he lives, and he decides to go. His mother is somewhat taken aback and is shocked at his desire to attend a convention. “He has organized everything himself, he wanted to do it all himself. I think he is going to have a bit of trouble with the train.” She trails off as she looks in the distance. You can tell that she is more then a little apprehensive; something tells me she would not be allowing this trip to take place if it was not for the two trustworthy men with cameras that will be accompanying him.
As the documentary goes on, everyone is at the convention, except for Daniel. The camera slowly dissolves to him confused, lost, looking at maps, and talking about how nervous he is on the streets of Manchester, as he decides weather or not he should ask for directions. Interacting with the cameras, he says everything he is feeling or thinking out loud. “I am feeling uncomfortable…I am getting agitated. “ He stops in front of a store, and says to the camera, “I guess I will stop here and ask someone in this store for directions.” He turns his head, “no..it’s a little busy.” I feel his anxiety through the film, every turn a wrong turn, every map leading to a dead end. After a while, it seems like he only has one option left, so he turns on his heel and finally asks a woman for directions. The camera cuts out with him saying, “I was a sensible person, I asked for directions…which I should have done first thing. “
Skipping ahead to the last shot of Daniel, he is at the convention surrounded by people and beaming, “This has been so much fun, hanging out with everyone, rocking out to the music. I don’t feel anxious right now, I feel serene.” He is no longer talking with the camera, but the camera picks up a conversation he is having with a new friend. “This has been the best day of my life.”
All of these small moments lead up to an intrinsic reward for Daniel, it was almost the perfect set up, from self talk to the safe obstacles. After the documentary was over I turned to my husband and said, “I think we just saw RDI in the wild.”