Grown men who can't wait to play with My Little Ponies

Bronies at 2012 Columbus Ohio Ohayocon.

A brony at Otakon 2011 in Baltimore, Md.

Arriving April 1, PINKIE PIE and RAINBOW DASH ($24 each) will be available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores throughout North America and online at buildabear.com(R).

Starting Monday, fans of the My Little Pony series will be able to stuff their own customizable Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash at Build-A-Bear workshops across the country.

Seated next to the usual crowd of little girls might be some unexpected customers: middle-aged men. 

The adult male fans of the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" TV series call themselves "bronies" (and we can't forget their female counterparts, "Pegasisters") and they shell out big bucks to dress up like their favorite characters. 

"It's all about the values of the show,"said Dan Silver, a toy analyst who runs the website TimetoPlaymag.com. "They fell in love with the show and they know everything about My Little Pony. They know the voices, they know the artists. It's an unbelieveable club so to speak and it just keeps growing." 

The My Little Pony franchise is incredibly important for its parent company, Hasbro. Their most recent earnings report singled out the franchise's double digit sales for helping to boost profits in their little girls department. 

Silver said that having the brony fan base is a big boost to Hasbro's bottom line.  

"These fans are collectors. They go out and buy the toys, they buy the T-shirts and they buy all the other licensed merchandise. You're talking about a $100 million-plus brand to Hasbro. " 

But even Silver admitted the sight of a grown man making his own Pinkie Pie at Build-A-Bear will be a bit strange. 

"It will make for an awkward experience when they come in," he said. 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

A brony at Otakon 2011 in Baltimore, Md.

Arriving April 1, PINKIE PIE and RAINBOW DASH ($24 each) will be available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores throughout North America and online at buildabear.com(R).

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Wow! It's almost 2014. Women are in the military, men are nurses. Are we really still so threatened by gender-role boundaries. If grown women wanted to have a club and collectors group about a show that is dominantly about friendship and magic, no one would tell them to go have a beer! My 7 year old son loves the show and apparently has to feel shame for it because boys are taught so young that this is not "manly". On sharing day he wanted to show his favorite pony but told me, "I probably shouldn't tell the class I like My Little Pony, shield I? " It breaks my heart. Come on guys, have more security in your masculinity and let some guys enjoy some colorful magic. Why should we woman have all the color and joy?

Interesting, what happened to my comment where I explained away all the misconceptions generated by the article? Does the subject matter not seem to controversial once the myths are dispelled?

PLEASE tell me this is an April Fools joke......

I was hoping this was just an April Fool's joke. I'm not disgusted by this, but more embarrassed for men everywhere. There is no way anyone can convince me this is a good idea, or FUN! Gads! Go have a beer with some men for crying out loud!

That's a weird definition of "middle aged men." According to the 2013 Herd Census, 80% of bronies are between age 15 and 25, and 95% between age 10 and 30.


As far as "pegasisters", page 45 states "The term Brony is seen as gender neutral by more than 90% of the Herd, and detractors of the term ‘pegasister’ outnumber supporters almost 3 to 1 (this is even more strongly seen among female respondents.)"

Yes; numbers! That census was a gem, and fun to participate in too!

"It's all about the values of the show..." If that's true, why don't we grown-ups running around in Barney and Sesame Street costumes? Those shows promote good values. You and Dan Silver need to call this situation what it is: creepy fetishism. If I took my kids to a Build-a-Bear, I'd go back out if I sighted one of these costumed freaks, and I'd tell the franchisee that I'm never coming back as long as he caters to these weirdos.

Jake, I completely understand your reply if this article is the basis of your knowledge on Bronies. Please read my reply above for some more insight. The "values of the show" are a nice feature, but it is not *all* about that, there is much much more. If you sighted someone dressed as a pony in Build-A-Bear, well, that would be a bit strange. The people pictured above were at a special event. We Bronies do not walk around in public dressed as ponies for the same reason that football fans do not walk around in public with their shirtless torsos painted in their team colors. There's a time and a place for everything. Most likely, you see Bronies every day and don't realize it.


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