While studying the Brony subculture I have found the main artifact the subculture revolves around is the TV Series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Part of studying the subculture is analyzing the artifact’s rhetorical situation, how it applies rhetorical appeals and the artifact’s visual elements. By doing so I hope to learn how the subculture relates to the artifact, how the artifacts original purpose relates to the subcultures purpose of the artifact, and how the artifact effects the subculture.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was created to teach young girls that being positive, intelligent, friendly, loving, kind, accepting, onest and determined is more important than being beautiful or rich. It teaches complicated lessons and morals in an interesting, yet simple way that they can understand While being popular with its intended audience, the show unintentionally gathered a predominantly male fan base. Because of the unexpected viewers the show’s creators intertwined My Little Pony’s (MLP) core values and themes to appeal to the new audience, yet still be interesting to the target demographic.
MLP is a complex series with extensively detailed plot structure, story line and character development. It has xpanded to more than one targeted audience and utilizes many methods to convey its message. Consequently, the show doesn’t conform to just one genre. It has attributes from several genre classes including Animation, Family, Comedy, Fantasy and Musical. Lauren Faust is a producer, animation developer, and show creator. Hasbro owns the rights to MLP and hired her to reinvent the MLP franchise to reach a more modern audience.
Faust had formerly worked for Cartoon Network on the design and animation team for Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and The Powerpuff Girls. She felt the majority of shows eveloped for young girls were shallow and portrayed them as weak, dainty, and in need of saving. Faust wanted to design a show that would contradict misogynistic and sexist views society projects onto them. She wanted to create a show that would empower young girls and to teach them values and morals that our culture would not. The MLP show was created into computer animated cartoons.
Lauren Faust followed prescribed methodologies by choosing a set morals and values and uniquely integrating them into the show and subsequently into the subculture. She deviated from the norm byt creating a show hat would defy gender roles and expectations both intentionally by targeting the young female demographic and also unintentionally by the Brony subculture accepting it and it becoming a focal point within it. The show was intended to be an example that girls do not have to fit the cookie-cutter mold in which society places them. There is no right or wrong way to be yourself and our differences complement each other.
Each pony embodies different traits, characteristics and mannerisms to show distinctiveness and being proud of who you are, is an integral part of growing up. Despite the fact that the show was esigned to teach young girls to be strong, brave and independent, many adults, mainly men, fell in love with the message and animation. MLP was designed to reach a particular age group of younger girls aged toddler to preteen. With the unexpected fan following including the adult men and women, the show transformed to reach every fan of every age and gender.
After becoming a modern novelty and focal point in the Brony subculture, MLP’s producers challenged the original nature of the show’s existing pony characters. They took the ponies and gave them more unique characteristics and invented ore pony characters adding to the varying personalities. They referenced pop culture and world events and created more in depth situations in the plot scenarios. The tone of MLP is very happy and positive. It emulates love and friendship and focuses on always finding the silver linings.
Joy and silliness are a common theme throughout the show assisting the tone and environment of the show. The show’s environment revolves around being family friendly and teaching life lessons in a fun and colorful way. MLP uses many methods and strategies to convey its core message to the viewers. Music and songs are sed to engage the audience and help them internalize the lessons. Humor is used to create a funny atmosphere and to lighten the tone when the plot line is darker. The idea of friendship is integrated to help its viewers learn how to overcome trials with others and how to relate better to those around.
Quips and play on words are in the script to help the audience become part of the fantasy world. They use color, fun design, and cute characters to appeal to the audience. MLP is an animated television series, thus revolving around visual design. It is a fun cute cartoon that utilizes colors, eccentric color chemes, adorable ponies, and relatable stories to reach the audience with the intended message. Features of the artifact that stand out to me are the bright colors and the use of fun sounds and sound effects that help describe what is going on in each scene.
The pony characters are so bright and colorful, I do not notice anything except the pony in the scene, causing the scenery and background setting seem to fade away. The use of color is one of the most prominent aspects of the show. Bright and eccentric colors that are used throughout the show is a trademark to the show. MLP’s creators use high definition nimation, bright colors, happy color schemes, and cute drawing designs to achieve its purpose and present the media to its viewers. The creators use these devices to appeal to the show’s audience and be more fun and engaging to the viewers.
MLP production team incorporates all the elements of ethos, pathos and logos, linked together to invent its story and deliver its message. MLP gathers its credibility by creating characters that the viewers can relate to. Whether they see themselves or other people around them in the ponies; in some way the audience associates the characters with what is around them. It creates a rust between the viewer and the pony, as if they really know one another. After these relationships are formed between ponies and viewers, the relationships form emotional bonds.
The show utilizes this connection to make the audience feel what the characters feel, thus the viewers become emotionally invested in the show. Using logical and relatable story lines that aim to teach and influence, connects facts and logical information to state their point. The plots all have a main point or lesson and each character has to develop throughout the episode to learn said lesson alongside the viewer. They use facts nd morals to teach a specific idea that makes sense and is understood by every audience.
After analyzing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the main artifact to the Brony subculture, I found that it is a very complex yet understandable form of media that connects very easily with the intended audience and the audience within the subculture. I analyzed the rhetorical situation and the use of rhetorical appeals and how they applied to the artifact within the subculture. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic continues to be the revolving axis within the subculture and the guide to rules and morals followed.