Dilemma of the Brony: Grayson Bruce and other victims

Casey H.

Staff WriterMLP 2

It is a blue backpack, fuzzy and soft, with a big-eyed face smiling at those who look upon it. This is the My Little Pony backpack that has caught the attention of the nation, as has its owner, Grayson Bruce.

Nine-year-old Grayson walked into his elementary school in Buncombe, North Carolina, like any other day. The only difference was that he had a different backpack that depicted Rainbow Dash, one of his favorite characters from the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. That, however, triggered events that were woefully predictable.

See, many other kids do not have the same view of My Little Pony as Grayson. He says that they would push him, punch him, and call him names. One of them, a nine-year-old, even told him to kill himself because he had a “girly” backpack. When her son said that he did not want to get out of the car and go to school because he was too afraid to face the bullies, Noreen Bruce decided that enough was enough and that she would try and take matters into her own hands by going to the school’s guidance counselor. It did not go as she expected. Mrs. Bruce says that the school counselor advised Grayson to either hide the backpack or leave it at home altogether. A My Little Pony backpack on a boy, she said, was practically a target on his back. To drive her point home, the principal later ordered Grayson to simply not bring the backpack to school.

Mrs. Bruce was stunned, to say the least. Instead of punishing the students who hit, taunted, and threatened her son, the school was punishing him. This is an increasingly common instance known as victim blaming in which, rather than bringing the perpetrators to justice, the powers that be tell the victim that it was his or her own doing and sweep the whole event under the rug. Not standing for such injustice, Mrs. Bruce withdrew her son from school and began teaching him herself, in an environment where Grayson can like My Little Pony as much as he wants.

This is a common occurrence among the group of My Little Pony fans known as Bronies. Bronies are fans of My Little Pony, and the name encompasses both girls and boys and extends to all ages. Conor Kelly is a Brony in tenth grade, and he spoke about why he enjoys the show so much, saying, “I didn’t like it as much at the beginning. The lessons were simple, and the writing was rudimentary. But as it went on, the lessons got more complex. And the character development’s great, and I really like things with good character design.” Contrary to popular belief, there are many people – from small children to teenagers – who share this opinion. Also contrary to popular belief, this feeling is completely justified.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a show following six ponies from the land of Equestria. Blogger Sean Williams, whose 7-year-old son, Barnaby, loves the show, describes it as such, “Do you know about My Little Pony? It’s great. The show has its own mythology, and the central tenet is the six Elements of Harmony. These are six characteristics that, when combined, can change the world for the better. Kindness, generosity, honesty, laughter, loyalty, and magic—these are the tools that the heroines of My Little Pony use to get out of every mess.” This does not even include the few plot-heavy episodes, which feature fairly menacing villains for a kid’s show. The show has earned an 8 out of 10 rating from IMDb, and an 8.7 out of 10 from tv.com.

With that being said, why is it that people like Grayson Bruce are getting so ruthlessly bullied? Kelly says of Grayson’s dilemma, “I am so mad. Who did the backpack hurt? Why ban it from school? It’s a BACKPACK. I can’t fathom a reason to do this. [The school] just [wants] to be hands-off about the situation.” Just how far is the persecution of Bronies going to go? Take Michael Morones, an 11-year-old North Carolinian who tried to commit suicide because of the intense bullying he was facing at school. This is the true dilemma of the Brony. Because they like a cartoon that is so much more than a “girly show,” boys across the country are relentlessly harassed to the point of suicide.

Perhaps it is time to take a page from My Little Pony and benefit from the lessons that are taught by these six colorful citizens of Ponyville. Honesty, generosity, laughter, loyalty, kindness, and magic are all aspects of life that anyone- boys of girls- should take to heart, and absolutely no one should be bullied for doing so.

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