Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pony Psychology

The first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Season 2 aired yesterday. My friends being the bronies they are, we had a party with food, cookies, cupcakes, and little toy ponies to celebrate. Later that night while I procrastinated on much more important things, I was thinking about our favorite ponies and why we like them so much, and that lead me to think about why anyone likes ponies at all, especially a bunch of guys in their twenties. Now, I'm no pony psychology expert, but I have some thoughts.
Why Bronies Exist
There are quite a few shows that are produced with women as their intended audience. Find enough honest men, and you'll see that there are plenty of male fans of those shows as well. Despite what any guy tells you, everyone without severe mental disorders has traits that are both masculine and feminine. Sometimes it's fun to like something that caters to the side you don't show much. Ponies aren't really much different here, I think. They're cute and silly, so it's fun to watch no matter what your gender is. It's sort of this fun way of enjoying something girly with a huge community of other guys who take time to do the same thing.
Twilight Sparkle 
My friends sort of hate her. It's actually sort of weird. Twilight is this really introverted book worm that doesn't really have any concept of how friends work. She does some really lame stuff in the show, like always thinking she can save the day with a spell (her forte is magic) and being really excited about organizing things. More notably picked on by my friends, there's a point where she gets to go to a super awesome party, and all she wants to do is talk to the princess the whole time. My boyfriend likes her. He's closest in personality to her and he knows it. He's not afraid to admit it, either, even though she's always deemed the "worst pony." In ways, I'm really similar to her myself. I'm much more likely to want to stay in and learn about things than go out and make friends with the other ponies. In ways, maybe we're all a little bit like Twilight Sparkle.
Let's just get both the unicorns out of the way first here. Rarity is this really up-tight, sort of snooty unicorn who runs her own fashion boutique. She's the stereotypical prissy character who's afraid to get dirty and always cares about how her mane looks. I'm some mix of her and Twilight, I think. Twilight sort of represents my introverted scholarly side, while Rarity represents my crafty, business-oriented, want-to-get-out-there-and-get-noticed side. She's probably my favorite of the main six ponies. As long as you can look past how stuck up she can be at times, you see that she's really dedicated to doing what she wants to be doing, which is making things and selling them to other people who want to give her money.
Pinkie Pie
Pinkie Pie is this crazy hyper pony with a poofy mane and tail who wants nothing more than to be in a state of constant euphoria. I hate her. Pinkie is constantly happy to the point of being irritating. She's always doing ridiculous things and not taking much seriously. I think the biggest reason I dislike her character is my strong sense of "Don't do that! We need to do THIS! Stop screwing around!" Mentally, I think like her in a bunch of ways. I just never show it half as much as she does. She's my friend's favorite, by the way, and I just know I'm going to get complained at for this paragraph. I think part of the reason that a lot of people love her is her ability to shrug off criticism and be herself, no matter how much it might make her look like a lunatic. Everyone at some point has wanted to be like Pinkie Pie.
Applejack is a hard-working, down-to-earth, ready-to-get-stuff-done pony with a Southern accent. She helps her family run an apple orchard and farm. Out of all the ponies, she has the strongest sense of family, since she works with her siblings and other relatives on the farm. She never puts herself first. At one point she wants to sell tons of baked goods for no other reason than to make enough money to buy her old granny a hip replacement. She represents the values that everyone should have, I think, and maybe that's why she doesn't have as big of a fan base as the other sillier ponies. In a lot of ways, we can respect her mentality. In a lot of other ways, we'd rather be partying and being crazy.
We all know someone who's always afraid of everything and is too shy to ever speak up and voice an opinion. That pony equivalent is Fluttershy. She's a pegasus that's afraid of flying too high, as well as pretty much everything else in existence. She spends most of her time with little animals, all of which she loves and talks to constantly. She has this natural gift to bond with nature-type things. As far as shyness goes, I'm like her in ways. I imagine a lot of people watching want to be her friend and make her less afraid of things, mostly out of pity because she's pretty pathetic.
Rainbow Dash
Last but certainly not least of the main ponies is the pegasus Rainbow Dash. She's really sporty and athletic, always really competitive and eager to prove herself, and also always willing to stand up for what she believes in. She's bold and opinionated no matter what the situation is. She's my other friend's favorite. I was like her in a lot of ways when I was a kid. I was always running around outside, making up games and trying to get my family members as interested in baseball as I inexplicably was. I think she sort of represents the bold, daring sides we all wish we put forward more, as well as the need to be 20% cooler than everyone else and being really damn proud of it. 


  1. The reason I like Rainbow Dash and Applejack so much is that they represent two values, or elements of harmony, that I value quite a bit. Sure, it's good to have a friend get you to laugh or help you out with their generosity and kidness, but the foundation of them wanting to do that is honesty and loyalty between you and them.

    They both have that overt confidence that isn't really cocky or anything, but they just display their faith in their abilities well. I've never really done that and always had a sort of wish that I /could/ do that.

  2. I don't really hate Twilight Sparkle, but it's fun to joke about it. Unless she totally loses it like at the end of Swarm of the Century, though, I just don't think she's as interesting as the other five.

    I'm not entirely sure why I like Pinkie Pie as much as I do. I know people who kind of act like her, and I really don't like them so much. I guess there's just this sense of, like, Pinkie's genuinely like that while the people I know just seem to be like that because it's cool to be hyper and "random." I've kind of always wanted to meet someone who seems genuinely hyped up and wacky to that extent.

    Otherwise, I guess it's partly because I was kind of like her around friends when I was a kid. I guess I was more like Fluttershy around strangers, though. Then I guess I got sort of Twilight Sparkly during middle and high school. But watching the show kind of made me reflect on all that (lame as that sounds) and realize that I was probably most comfortable in that state of mind, and that being afraid or antisocial or whatever isn't really a good fit for me, and I was only ever like that in the first place due to the situations I found myself in.

    Ponies, man.