As with every other television show, My Little Pony has a dedicated fan base. Those outside this particular show’s intended demographic are often referred to by the terms ‘brony’ and ‘pegasister’. Computer science student Peter Deltchev is an integral member of Canadian brony fandom, and attributes many of the successes in his life to his involvement with the community.
The brony community has provided Deltchev with numerous opportunities to deploy his talents.
“I like to think of myself as one of the people who work in the background to actually facilitate the brony community at large. I’ve founded a number of fan sites, and I help run BronyCAN, which is Canada’s biggest My Little Pony convention. I’m not a huge famous figure that everyone would recognize, but without me, the community wouldn’t have a huge forum that has almost 30,000 members, for example," Deltchev said.
Furthermore, for Deltchev, the impact that My Little Pony has had on his life extends far beyond his involvement with the brony community.
“[Many] misconceive the brony community at large as “man-children’, people who don’t know what to do with their lives, who find solace and escape from a miserable reality in ponies. I certainly won’t deny that there are people like that, but to apply that stereotype to all fans of this show is really overblown.”
Deltchev himself serves as a counterexample to this stereotype. “For me, ponies were the gateway to a really rewarding career. And the people I work with, other facilitators, these are some of the most driven and passionate people I know. Ponies is, to them, a way to express themselves and do things that matter to them.” Deltchev is currently on a co-op term, and his position at Hootsuite and his success with organizing BronyCAN support his claim.
As the founder of Poniverse, an ‘integrated super-community’ of My Little Pony fan sites, Deltchev has had the opportunity to attend BronyCON, the largest My Little Pony conference in the world, held in the city of Baltimore.
“Finding a career through ponies was certainly amazing; this is hardly a secret now, ponies got me a career.”
Like most other community organizers, however, Deltchev has to work around the wishes of thousands of individuals, and faces no easy task.
“We just do it because we love seeing people come together and enjoy the community, and we love being a part of it too.”
Through the years, Deltchev has come up with a fresh way of viewing the brony fandom. “The community is so huge, there are so many different types of people in it, that it’s pretty much become a microcosm of humanity. You can find just about any kind of person in this community," Deltchev said. "About the only thing that all bronies have in common is that we all enjoy this TV show.”
Still, many are put off by the idea of grown men idolizing fictional ponies, and Deltchev is aware of this.
“It is a misconception to say that the brony community is all about sexualizing ponies, but there is a certain subset of the brony community that’s into that. There’s a name for that certain subset that’s been widely adopted, and that’s ‘cloppers’.” It is fair to say that the brony community is no different from any other online community in that a certain portion of members fetishize whatever it is the community is built around.
Deltchev also understands that some may just find it disturbing that grown men enjoy a show made for young girls. “I’d think carefully about what it is that you don’t like about bronies, and think ‘Is that really something that’s unique to bronies or could anyone have that "problem" that you find with bronies'?”
Also, Deltchev believes that bronies have only produced positive outcomes for society as a whole. “We’ve put together conventions that bring together thousands of people, we’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity, and we’ve provided springboards for people to kickstart their professional careers,” he said.
“The show and community might not be for everyone, but I think it’s really important to at least accept and tolerate the fact that people are different and will be into different things."