June 11, 2015

Bronies and Children Flocked on PonyCon

Teens, young adults, and children attended this year's Philippine Pony Convention (Ponycon) held at the Megatrade Conference Center at SM Megamall last June 7.

The convention showcased Hasbro's popular franchise My Little Pony. While it is aimed for the young female demographic, it has also attracted a sizeable number of male teens and young adults who were commonly referred to as 'Bronies'.

According to Benedict Bartolome, one of the organizers of the event, this is the 7th Ponycon and only 3rd Ponycon open to the public.

"Ponycon and the PhBrony group was secret because they don't want other people to know about it," Bartolome said. "But now at least we're open na."

Bartolome said organizing events like Ponycon is a challenge because they are organized by young fans hailing from different places.

"Ito lang yung mga times that they can get to work together at the same time," he said.

Attendees can buy prints or commissions from fan artists in PonyCon
Ponycon featured musical performances, collectible card games, roleplaying, and other activities which the attendees can participate. Fan artists were also present to take commissions and sell their works.

One of them was Brandon Chan, a physics student from De La Salle University. He goes by the name 'BoyInDaHaus' on DeviantArt and 'Ask-Dr-Radical' on Tumblr.

As a male fan of the show, he said some people might find it awkward because males are not the target audience  but there is nothing wrong "as long as the [male] audience doesn't warp the media into something unintended." While majority of My Little Pony fans are in North America, Chan noted that the fanbase in the Philippines is "consistent".

"I wouldn't say malaki pero they're pretty loyal," he said.

Among the many events of PonyCon was a lecture titled "My Little Brony: Fandom is Magic". It tackled gender issues on the fandom while relating them to other popular franchises like Disney's Frozen.
Merchandise such as hats, keychains, shirts, and figures
are available at PonyCon

Carlo Rivera, a junior faculty from the Department of English in Ateneo
de Manila, hosted the lecture. It was his first time attending PonyCon, He was introduced to My Little Pony by another English teacher.

"Society has a very narrow set of things that people are allowed to like and not like," he said in an interview. "Young people are allowed to like this but after a certain age they are not allowed to like this. Old people are supposed to like this but not this."

Despite being a franchise targeted to female children, the teenage male fans of the show proved that even them can enjoy the show and its characters. PonyCon offers card game sessions, merchandises, and comic books for the fans and enthusiasts while children can play with dollhouses, modelling clay, and dolls.

"So what if you're a guy who likes ponies? What if you're a girl who likes soccer? We make it so hard for each other unnecessarily," Rivera said.

"The great thing about fandoms is that they teach us that it's OK to love whatever it is that you love."

Article by: Christian | Edited by: Yves