Researchers strive to
understand bony culture
u. ED 2 DAYS AEC:
Last summer, Dr. Patrick Edwards had never heard of bronies, the teenage and adult fans of My
Little Pony: F is Magic.
That is, until his son Will "came out" to him as one.
Now bronies have attracted the attention of the scientific
lib" Little Pony‘ fans stoic in . Sparked by Will' s big reveal, psychiatrist Edwards
DI Sire and Dr. Marsha Redden, are in the midst of
Mi Ii In l E Hi Em . the brenn ' s first professional survey, called simply
Edwards, who teaches undergraduate psychology at Wilford
College, went to tell his colleague, Redden, about Will' s big
reveal. Though Redden is not teaching this semester, the two
share an office wall and frequently discuss the intersection of
culture and psychology. Redden was equally
monies build _ magical . .
place of their own intrigued.
The two did some Googling and decided to dive deeper.
Neither researcher could have anticipated what happened next. In the months that followed,
each began to sympathize with the kind, brenn community. In turn, the
community has rewarded them with a frontarmy seat to brenn culture as it is created. Said
Rarely have scientists had the opportunity to study a fan phenomenon from its inception.
One of the most common questions I get from students is, Ihre you a bony,’ and I say no
because I have to keep my objectivity, but I am a brenn booster."
We' re using this survey to study [the brony community] from the beginning and see how
it' s evolving."
Redden, who does not watch the show, said she thinks both researchers’ clinical backgrounds,
which include adolescent therapy, have prepared them to be open minded. After several months
of studying bronies, she doesn' t think, based on scientific evidence, that the group is as weird as
they' re made out to be by some.
We really do regard ourselves as scientists first and foremost, and we have a duty to report
what this is without a lot of bias," she told the Daily Dot. "But what we' re seeing isn' t as bizarre
or strange as people think."
Instead, Redden believes that the tandem is a normal response to the anxiety of life in a conflict-
driven time, she said.
I think bronies are a reaction to the LLB. having been engrossed in terrorism for past ten
years, living on the edge the same way my generation lived through the Cold War. They' re
tired of being afraid, tired of angst and animosity. They want to go somewhere a lot more
At first, Edwards said, bronies were leery of the survey. When he first posted it on Ponyville,
Reddit, and Faceebook, some worried it was a ploy to make them look bad.
Edwards and Redden blame the mediating reporters like this bronies' vari. ness. The
two said that reporters are looking among bronies to find outlandish characters, while they as
scientists are looking for a fair representation of "the herd."
In general the media has not been kind to bronies, especially Fox News," Redden said. "One of
the Fox people even mentioned drug use, which has absolutely nothing to do with any part of
the culture. We know the media wants a character, but we get frustrated because that' s not an
Edwards hopes the media will learn from the study' s objective example, he said.
I think if and when media makes a more positive presentation, bronies will come out
speak openly about their experiences."
Even though the brenn community had made him "jump through a lot of hoops" to gain their
trust, at Bronycon, Edwards felt he' d finally achieved it. Edwards, his wife, and their son Will,
made the drive up from Spartanburg, South Carolina to Manhattan so he could attend as a
panelist and report the survey' s findings.
When I got up and made the presentation, the reception was overwhelming. I got a standing
ovation. I think the bronies realized we weren' t going to put them down," he said.
In the next few months, Edwards and Redden plan to release a followup survey. Now that
they' become a part of the community, they feel comfortable including less innocuous
questions and even exploring what Edwards called "the dark side" of brenn fandom. The two
also plan to publish their findings in scientific journals and eventually write a book about the
A few months ago, we had no idea what a brenn was or that it existed," said Edwards. "Now, I
was just telling a colleague that Marsha and I are the nation' s premiere embryologists"