Scootareader Looks Into: Other Fandoms

Scootaloo is No Longer Rainbow Dash

No, I haven’t posted a new article for the last two weeks; I was on vacation. I apologize for not being as diligent as EMF Scootaloo. –Scootareader

We’ve heard comparisons of the brony fandom to other fandoms in existence. Whether for better or for worse, the bronies are profiled and categorized based on what kind of fandom we are in an effort by the world to better understand us.

There’s nothing bad about this, per se. Outreach due to confusion is natural, and the general populace would like to draw parallels of the things they already know with the things they’ve yet to know. So, let’s see if some of these parallels can be drawn from the perspective of a brony.

When people say “the bronies are like <insert other fandom here>,” it tends to make me cringe. From the outsider perspective, a lot of fandoms are not what they seem. If it was all deviance and perversion, like so much of the world seems to think of so many fandoms, there would be a fraction of the followers, barely enough to hold a single convention. I often question what parallel the non-bronies draw between us and other groups similar to us in some respects.

Take the Sonic fandom. Oh yeah, we’re going there first. I first learned about them when I heard bronies denouncing pony OCs as “shitty Sonic OC recolors.”

I haven’t done too much delving into the inner workings of the Sonic fandom, but I have been curious enough about their OCs to see what they’re about. I stumbled upon this tumblr page that rated Sonic OCs.

I won’t lie; some of the OC creation that goes on in the brony fandom is pretty bad. Compare it to the Sonic fandom, though… and it’s difficult to see the comparison in most cases.

Some of the Sonic OCs are actually quite well-drawn, though backstory is almost always unappealing to older crowds. Courtesy

Some of the Sonic OCs are actually quite well-drawn, though backstory is almost always unappealing to older crowds. Courtesy

All of the symptoms of a bad OC, both spoken and unspoken, are often found in a Sonic OC. Why is this the general rule in their fandom? I would hazard a guess at the younger age group. The younger mind tends to be fascinated by special powers and personality quirks more so than the mind of the average brony, so in the Sonic fandom, what we consider “bad OCs” are, to them, the perfect OCs.

So, the parallel? Based on what I’ve observed of the Sonic fandom, they have the drive for creativity as we do, but are a younger crowd, and thus receive a bad wrap because they write about and create things that interest their age range. The age average of the Sonic fandom versus the brony fandom is the biggest dissimilarity, it seems, leading to the other, larger differences between the two.

All right, next up: Trekkies, i.e. the Star Trek fandom. What do bronies have in common with a science-fiction show? There is so much difference between the two shows, you’d think it would be difficult to find common ground.

Not so much. I just needed to think of the conventions. Who are special guests at Star Trek conventions? The actors! Who are special guests at brony conventions? The voice actors!

Bronies and Trekkies both hold the talent behind making a show great in high esteem. I’m not entirely certain if there’s other fandoms that have actors/VAs as pivotal features of their conventions, but I do know that the Star Trek fandom greatly admires the actors for what they bring to the show, looking beyond the more basic facets of what they’re watching.

The brony fandom, while slightly different in that they have voice actors rather than actors, still have profound admiration for the professionals voicing their characters. The average brony knows the names of all the voice actors for the six main characters, plus a whole lot of the secondary and even background characters.

Trekkies, like bronies, like autographs. Say, that guy at the end of the table looks familiar...

Trekkies, like bronies, like autographs. Say, that guy at the end of the table looks familiar…

Try to find a good Star Trek convention that doesn’t have at least a couple of the actors. The sentiments concerning brony conventions are the same—though, we do have fandom talent that also serve as special guests, so I believe that would be where we diverge. Regardless, a strong appreciation for talent is something that both fandoms have.

The furry fandom is our next target. This is a really quick and obvious parallel, and even the outsider looking in knows this one. Costume appreciation!

Many of the articles about bronies, no matter who they’re written by or what message they’re meant to give, will almost invariably have a picture of a brony in a full-body pony suit. This is one of those iconic things that the general public seems to have an interest in, and an article is apparently missing something when it forgoes a picture of a pony suit.

Furries also seem to like costumes. A lot. Like, that’s probably the most widely known and publicized aspect of the furry fandom. Easy parallel there: In general, both furries and bronies like costumes. I’m one of those that doesn’t like costumes personally, but I still have an appreciation for well-made suits, such as the Vinyl Scratch I saw at Everfree Northwest.

Literally the second picture on the front page was this at the time of writing this article. Courtesy

Literally the second picture on the front page was this at the time of writing this article. Courtesy

Anything else? Yes! Just go to deviantArt and browse around a bit. Furries really like drawing characters, and have a very large pool of artistic talent to draw from. Bronies likewise have a lot of artistic talent, sometimes even leading to the point of crossovers with the two artistic styles. Both fandoms have phenomenal artists within them.

There may be more here, but as far as the more easy to understand parallels, I would say that these two are it. The furry fandom, to me, seems to most closely emulate our own, and if I was to do more research, perhaps I’d find more. I think furries are good people; they’re just not the fandom for me.

Next! The Harry Potter fandom. Really? Yes.

There’s only one real parallel I can draw here: The fanfiction. Sweet Celestia, am I really going here? You bet I am!

I’ve had the privilege of reading some small amount of Harry x Draco explicit at the behest of a friend who was in the Harry Potter fandom a few years back, and I still remember it to this day. No, it wasn’t because of what happened in the fanfic; it’s because, despite how much I disliked the topic, it was actually quite well-written. Very little in the way of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. It was, as far as proper structure goes, a very good story.

The brony fandom has its fair share of bad writers; it also has its fair share of shipfic both straight and gay, and it has its fair share of clopfic. Who are we to judge them on their fanfics?

This is probably the most awkward parallel I’ve ever drawn, and I feel like I should probably go into witness protection now, but the Harry Potter fandom and the brony fandom both place a high value on and have a lot of appreciation for good fanfic. That’s about as far as I’m willing to delve into this, but good writing can be found in other fandoms, too!

All right… the final fandom I’m covering: Star Wars fans.

Now, this is going to be a pretty difficult concept to explain, I expect. The Star Wars fandom literally has its own religion of Jediism. What parallel can we possibly draw from that?

The Jedi Creed that Jediism is founded upon.

The Jedi Creed that Jediism is founded upon.

Well, that’s exactly it. Jediism didn’t start out as a full-fledged religion; it was the Jedi set of beliefs that eventually led to some believing it answered many important questions they had about the world.

Bronyism is a term. It doesn’t yet hold a large amount of religious connotation, but it will commonly denote the core feelings of the brony fandom as a whole; the non-judgmentalist concept as well as love and tolerance are among these morals. Aren’t morals like these what the foundation of Jediism lies upon?

I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, saying that Bronyism is a thing as of yet, though it has some comedic potential, as proven here. I’m simply saying that Star Wars fans and bronies both place a high value on morals. This is, in my opinion, a great common ground to have.

Star Wars is acclaimed as one of the greatest movies of all time. The religion of Jediism is based upon the Jedi code and morals they adhere to. If a show about ponies can hold enough moral teachings to produce something akin to the Jedi code, that really says something about the creative mind(s) behind it.

That's a... sonic screwdriver, right? I watched the doctor open a crack in a wall with it.

That’s a… sonic screwdriver, right? I watched the doctor open a crack in a wall with it.

No, I didn’t forget Whovians; I just know very little about them, save that they have a lot of fan-made videos. I know plenty of fans of the show, but I’m not entirely certain what exactly makes a Doctor Who fan a Whovian. I apologize for my lack of understanding, and will make it up to our Whovian readers somehow. Maybe I’ll watch all of the episodes I can get my hands on. It seems like a pretty awesome show.

So, the only aspects of the brony fandom that I don’t think I’ve observed in another fandom are our appreciation for music and games. That’s not to say they don’t exist for other fandoms; there’s just nowhere near the amount of fan-made music in another fandom that I’ve heard about, nor the ambition and effort put into making great games to the extent that the brony fandom does.

So, we’ve got the creativity of the Sonic fandom, the talent appreciation of the Star Trek fandom, the art and costume appreciation of the furry fandom, the fanfic talent of the Harry Potter fandom, and the moral code of the Star Wars fandom, all rolled into one blanket label of “brony.” I’m certain there’s many other fandoms out there that we can draw parallels to, but… as far as all-inclusive goes, I think the brony fandom is unique.

The way I see it, more media and creativity means more outreach to more people. There’s a lot that can be said about our fandom concerning its uniqueness, but we’re definitely not the only fandom out there. It’s good to learn about other cultures than our own, even if only for a more complete picture of what our fandom is.

All in all, there’s a lot to learn from other fandoms, too… but not the Twilight saga fandom. Sorry, Edward and Jacob waifus.

  1. I remembered that Yahoo! Answers question. (I’m also glad I didn’t field it myself.) But I suspect that bronyism, for some of the fandom, may actually substitute for more established religions, and I’m thinking I’m okay with that. (There was a question in Y!A last week, asking how the evidence for the existence of God compared, quantitatively, to the evidence for the existence of Celestia and Luna. I did tackle that one. I’m not expecting any votes.)

    If I remember correctly, the first fanfic to make any impression on the outside world was the Kirk/Spock stuff from Trek, though there’s always been a tradition of “The Further Adventures Of…”

  2. I am happy a few Bronies are now getting what I really don’t like about the Bronies… I’ve always hated OCs, I never really liked them. That was compared in that article. I was very surprised that even happened.

  3. Very interesting article. You’ve raised some interesting parallels. There is one point that I was wondering about, though.

    You make the assertion that the Sonic fans trend younger than the Bronies. I’m curious what you based that on. I’m not saying you’re wrong, but it strikes me as very odd.

    The median age of Bronies is 19 (according to the latest State of the Herd report), meaning Sonic himself is three years older than the average Brony. I would have thought the average Sonic fan would be at least a decade older especially given the poor maintenance of the franchise in the past decade.

    • Participatory fans–that is, those who are still creating content–are what my focus was on, as that is what we see now.

      The Sonic fans that liked only the Genesis games are not exactly members of the fandom, by my assertions; there is no entire fandom surrounding exclusively those who liked a few out of the many, as far as the Sonic games are concerned.

      The majority of legitimate fans of the Sonic fanbase are majority younger than the Genesis days, simply because the franchise’s more modern iterations took a dive and alienated much of the older fanbase. The more recent games have positive critical acclaim, but loyalty to a brand that abandoned its fans for several years can’t be regained instantly.

      There’s also the matter of the content. As far as maturity of the average participant is in the Sonic fandom, the content speaks for itself. As stated in the article, the OCs created by members of the Sonic fandom are similar to OCs created by bronies; they just seem to be shaped by a younger mind that tends to be more fascinated with… for lack of a better term, “mary sue” properties. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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