Well… I’ve talked about so many of the smaller things that diversify the fandom, how about we tackle the big guy now? There’s an arsenal of different things that the community brings in—multimedia to the highest extent—which impacts some of our lives very highly, others very little. It’s just a huge conglomerate of stuff, and no one can manage all of it. There’s just too much, and it’s everywhere now.
It’s very difficult to describe in one opinion who bronies are. There’s no way you can get anything all-encompassing from one guy standing up and saying, “This is my opinion.” I could give it my best effort, but it would still fall far too short of the mark.
So, I enlisted some help.
Wherever you go, there will be some mixed opinions on what’s going on around you. So, let’s establish some basics: What exactly are the most fundamental parts of the fandom? White Starr has this to say:
Analyzers are like the inspectors of the fandom. They show, in their opinion, what’s good, what’s bad, and what’s okay in MLP. Artists show the series in their point of view, heroes and villains alike. Writers make stories, based on canon, about the series—it depends on their favorite protagonists, antagonists, and so forth. And us, the mods, help organize and bring the fandom together as a whole; without us, the group would be a mess and FIM wouldn’t be successful.
So, we have several different categories of brony. We all have different aspirations, different drives, and different opinions, but we are all united in… something. What is that something?
What holds bronies together, like glue on a failed science project? Do we really have anything to keep us going, apart from the show? Mondo offers his bittersweet opinion on the matter.
The brony fandom is a mess, split so many directions that it’s hard to pin down any one thing that keeps it together. Everyone seems to hate each other… most of its time is spent complaining. Some people refuse to associate with the fandom at large, due to the number of extremely bizarre individuals housed in its shell. Other people don’t even watch the show anymore, but lurk around the fandoms various hideouts anyway, either to spend time with the people they met there, or to complain further despite having lost any stake in the thing. Never in my life have I seen so much drama, hatred, and anger spring up from something so simple and meaningless.
That said, it has its impressive moments, too. The art the fandom puts out tops the charts in both quantity -and- quality. The fandom has inspired a variety of charity projects that give people small bits of hope. We have enough fanfiction to fill multiple libraries (some of which has actually been good enough to spawn its own fandom). And while you’ll undoubtedly find a large collection of angry or outright ridiculous people if leave your toes in the pool long enough, the fandom is also large enough that you’ll probably eventually find some normal people to hang out with. Maybe even outright -good- people. So despite how much less stressful it would be to avoid the fandom and mock how ridiculous it is from afar (despite how much you may enjoy the show or comics), it might still be worth it to dive in and dig for treasure.
What could cause these mixed feelings? A fandom where selfish, jealous, harsh people that are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with creative geniuses and samaritans.
Despite feeling both good and bad sentiments on bronies, Mondo is still a regular poster on Ponychan, and contributes help whenever he can. It seems insane that he would willingly subject himself to the tortures of typical everyday discussion among bronies just for these tiny nuggets of gold that crop up from time to time.
Is there anything worth the time to be a regular part of the fandom? Manley T. McDragonpuncher seems bothered by the same overused lines and boring discussion that so many fall into.
It seems divided to me. Each side likes to call the other stupid for their beliefs on where things are going and where they should go. I don’t like the fandom’s obsession with tired memes and jokes either. I’ve never run into that with other fandoms. Like, people still calling Fluttershy a tree and Scootaloo a chicken. It was never funny, and I think a fandom as creative and talented as this one can come up with funnier material.
This greatness that Mondo says exists seems to be far outweighed by the overused memes that Manley mentions. Is this even a general rule, though? Do the same people posting iwtcird pictures also donate money to charity? Samuel Kim seems to hold bronies in somewhat high regard, giving the benefit of the doubt rather than finding negative aspects to focus down, and perhaps seeing a correlation with other fandoms.
I’d love to call it the sunshine and rainbows and… bloody murder that other fandoms perceive us to be. I’d love it more if I could call it depraved, twisted, and devoid of humanity. (Note: That was sarcasm. You’re free to laugh. Or choke me, whichever comes to mind.) As much as I can wonder, this fandom… well, realistically, it’s like all the other fandoms you see out there.
I mean, what can I really /say/? I can say this: It’s certainly devoted and dense, but when it comes down to it, it’s just more populated; you’ve got artists, writers, musicians…they just happen to be in this fandom. The whole ‘love and tolerance’ thing…well, I’d hate to call it a shell of what it used to be, and I know I can’t, because it’s not necessarily true—there are some that still preach kindness and tolerance, and that’s admirable. But really, there’s nothing that distinguishes us other than numbers, I’d say.
However… devotion and numbers… really, those are two large things. I’d love to see Avatar/Korra gain a fanbase like ours, having meetups and entire conventions dedicated to work and stuff. I’d love to see something…really surpass us, and I don’t mean that in the sense of competition; I more mean in the sense of “Dammit, I respect the passion they have. Good going.” We’ve got two small things… that aren’t really small at all, are they?
Are bronies really just a few guys who care deeply and a lot of other people? Could things really be that simple? This split that Mondo and Manley both see belies something more at work under the hood, surely; or perhaps we’re just looking too deeply into matters?
Perhaps all three of them are right. When looking at things on this large of a scale, how can you really categorize a brony? DeepShadowSky thinks that bronies are more diverse than a single term can possibly justify them with.
This fandom is, in my opinon, actually not a single enity. To say that all “bronies” have certain qualities, likes or dislikes is just as correct as saying all “American” or “white” or “Christian” or “European” or “black” or “atheist” people all share certain things—not to say that they can’t, of course. “Brony” is a term used to describe individuals who for whatever reason have stumbled upon Lauren Faust’s work and have found themselves enjoying it for any of a variety of reasons.
That being said, some individuals involved in the pony scene, whatever that may look like (be it EqD drowning in fanfics, Ponychan hovering between lulz and hugboxery, or 4chan’s /mlp/ wanting to cum inside Rainbow Dash), refuse to to be labeled as “bronies” because it would >imply qualities of other pony fans that they do not represent. Generally, “horsefuckers” don’t want to be associated with “bronies,” for example, and vice versa, for they dislike qualities of each other. Basically: >opinions. The Brony “fandom” is the human race in a nutshell: a group of beings with a few similarites and a lot of differences.
So, what is there? What draws us to it? It can’t be all negative, obviously; someone has to be an advocate for bronies. Malicious Leaf likes seeing and working with bronies in everyday life.
In my opinion, the My Little Pony fandom, the collection of an unimaginably wonderful people, is truly amazing. I find it amazing that so many different people can band together, even for a cartoon show. As I think about the people that I have met because of everyone’s shared liking to the show, I am at disbelief at whom I have had the pleasure to work with. The fandom tries to create a good impression upon all, and I truly believe that it was this that got me into the fandom. Despite its criticism by multiple groups, the pony fandom has been known to be able to stand strong.
As I look around my school I am able to see other members of the fandom. From the girl that has the Rainbow Dash backpack to the guy who watched the entire first season in one night. It surprises me to think that we all are connected through this show that, had we not known about it, may not have known each other the way we do.
There’s obviously something more to this than the black and white some think it to be. Every single person being quoted here is involved somewhere in the fan community, which is where I came across them.
I’ve talked about neighsayers in the past, but there are bronies who are willing to even defend their fandom at personal risk. Aoshi doesn’t make music for popularity’s sake, nor does he expect any recognition from others; he’s content making things that others will appreciate. As such, he’s not afraid to state his opinions about those who hate bronies.
I look down on people who are intolerant of it. I’ve created a world around me where people are either tolerant of it or I make examples of them. There are people I walk by on an everyday basis that keep their heads down. People are afraid to say anything, and they rightfully should be, as my business is my business. If the fandom meant that to you, I think you’d stay… but my world is a little colder outside of the fandom than it should be sometimes for it.
Inside of the fandom, I like seeing people smile, be happy, be loving, and be creative. Creativity, I guess, is one of the biggest reasons I still believe in this fandom.
Oh, and just to clarify, I have never tried to recruit. These people I make examples of attack me because they don’t like it. They deserve it. I think it’s fair to realign perspectives.
Is Aoshi wrong for disliking non-bronies? What even constitutes a brony? As DeepShadowSky said, bronies are essentially the entire human race, with the only similarity being that they appreciate the work of Lauren Faust. So, perhaps disliking a member of the brony fandom is like disliking anyone for liking something that you don’t like?
Dr.Bees, however, seems to think that there’s something more to this fandom than just the all-encompassing statement of DSS. He feels that there is a fandom which has completely transcended the show to take on a life of its own, wholly independent of what the show may be doing. He is an active participant in the brony community despite his avid dislike of the show’s current direction.
Nowadays I’m more a fan of the fandom than the show. I like how it’s kind of created a focal point for people’s inherent and typically latent friendships. Like I said, it’s not like the show causes people to like friendship, but it brings it out and makes it noticeable. These feelings already existed in bronies, but the show makes it all cohesive.
The show is becoming another corporate pandering vat of bubbling ass butter, but what it’s done for the community is something to be in awe of. So, even if I don’t care for the quality of the show and even when the show finally hits rock bottom (which isn’t too far off, given the way they’re trending), I’ll always love the brony community that’s evolved from it.
So, the fandom is both positive and negative, both generality and specific, both black and white. Is there anything not encompassed by it? Perhaps Mikie Pie is providing us with the most accurate answer… one of the greatest drives humanity has being the glue that’s holding all bronies together.
Okay… I think this fandom has been all porn. I know people may like the show, but I feel like they only care about the porn. Nobody seems to give a fuck about ponies, and newfags have drawn this idea to stone. I swear it was not this bad back then… I SWEAR. But nobody believes me.
Perhaps you’re scoffing at this notion, but Mikie Pie has been around longer than just about all of us. He was right around at ground zero of the brony fandom on 4chan, and as such, he’s seen many of the rises and falls of the fandom that seem to be the stuff of legend. This statement could be more true than any one of us thinks.
So, in simple terms, what is the brony fandom for everyone? Apparently, it’s everything yet nothing, yin and also yang, simultaneously beneficent and destructive. Some of us feel that the fandom is full of terrible people, whereas others have great appreciation for nearly all iterations of what constitutes a brony… and who’s right? That’s for none of us to say.
TGSB hasn’t been around as long as Mikie Pie, but he’s still considered an older fan of the show. He respects others, is quite involved with what he can contribute to, and seems to be generally well-liked. What does he think? Well… he’s thought a lot about this, it seems.
The first pole is the tenacious brony—the superfan. They contribute art, talk about the show, and just try to get involved in the fandom. They are what keep the fandom alive in the content-oriented departments by sheer demand. They aren’t necessarily the most creative people, but they often try, filling the boorus with sometimes bad, sometimes good art, but I wholly like their creativity and passion. That being said, they sometimes create an environment that is just not fun to be around whenever they don’t like things (See Mare Do Well, Twilicorn, Equestria Girls… etc.) in the show and often assert themselves as superior critically when they really aren’t.
Then there are the casuals. This number is constantly growing. The fandom may not be growing at the rate it was, but the show’s actual watcher base is here. Personally, I feel the growing number of casuals, combined with the mixed reaction to the season 3 finale, have given a bit of a dullness to the edge of the fandom, as we are seeing more “Dude, its just a cartoon” reactions. I know it is, but I’m just trying to have fun with it, sometimes. I do hope we get a bit more “into” it come season 4.
Now onto the actual fans, its a mixed bag. I’ve made a lot of friends in the fandom, but I’ve also met a lot of people who aren’t so nice. Either way, I am thankful for the group of friends I have made. Some things the fandom does really annoy me, but I do realise that, when you have a fandom with literally tens of millions of people, you are gonna have some people who don’t know how to act, and me caring about those is both wrong and giving them a soapbox, so I just focus on the tons of good people, instead of the lesser mass of bad.
Now if there was a part of the fandom I FULLY support, it’s anyone in content creation. I don’t even care if you are bad at it, sometimes we have a laugh at the bad stuff and it gives people a springboard to improve off of. Doesn’t matter what you are making: Music, animations, comics, fics, art (yes, including clop), or any other thing… even if the fandom is filled with poorly done content because of this, it’s filled with a lot of good content from all the ones listed above as well, and you can see people improving. Creativity and TRYING to produce content have always been things I’ve been fully supportive of.
If I was to pick a part of the fandom I don’t support/like at all, its probably a combination of the casuals who jump in and tell us we are wrong for trying to have a little fun going overboard on the internet, and the, for lack of better word, Nostalgiafags, who insist that the fandom is dead/dying/we are wrong to still enjoy it/or just like to give their hot opinions on how much everything sucks nowadays.
So… like everything in life, there’s positives and negatives. You have the creative artists who contribute to the community, then the Vietnam veterans of the brony fandom who constantly say things are shitty now. Is he right? You ought to know the answer by now.
It’s shocking to say, but even the brony fandom’s existence is a matter of opinion. Whether you’re Mikie Pie, who believes the foundations of the fandom exist in porn, or DSS, who feels that bronies are simply the human race with one basic similarity, there is no wrong opinion here.
Mondo and Manley talk to each other often; perhaps they don’t even realize they are brothers in arms. Maybe the fandom is nothing but facts, like the overarching diagnosis that White Starr feels is the only concrete part of the fandom… or maybe it’s just another fandom, one of the many that exist throughout the world, and the only fact which makes it unique is numbers, as Samuel Kim describes.
There is one correlation that can be gleaned from all of this: However you may feel about individuals in the fandom, generally speaking, there are good and there are bad. As I mentioned before, every single person quoted here is an active member of the brony community; none of them think that all bronies are amazing, but neither do they think that every brony is scum. Then again, with such a large group of people, how could you possibly make such a blanket statement? It would be ridiculous to even say that all of them are fans of the show anymore; Dr.Bees sure feels that he no longer needs to appreciate the show to still enjoy the company of his fellow bronies.
The glue that sticks bronies together… really, there’s no way of knowing, and even if we knew, there would be no way of describing it. Every single brony is an individual, a person who has their own thoughts and opinions on this. These remarks are from a completely random group of people who simply felt like giving their thoughts on a broadly asked question of “What do you think of the fandom?” Such varied and sentimental statements… there’s no head nor tails that can make an all-encompassing “this is what the brony fandom is” statement.
When someone asks me who a brony is, I tell them, “A fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The G4 stuff, though—the earlier generations are crap.” Even this is untrue; I may not like pre-G4 ponies, but there’s websites and even bronies which disprove this every single time. Really, to even try to simplify it is so overwhelmingly difficult that it takes an outright lie for me to be able to distinguish a brony from an MLP fan.
So, perhaps the next time someone asks me, “What is a brony?” I will give them a simpler answer: “Hell if I know.” There’s just too many of us, and we are all independent thinkers. To try to simplify what it means to be a part of the brony fandom is to try to tell the entirety of humanity what makes every one of them the same. I’m no god of men, nor is anyone else I’ve met.
Perhaps this is a bit sentimental on my part, but I like to think that all bronies are people who have learned something about themselves by exposure to a show which wasn’t what they thought. I remember the warping of reality that I experienced when I watched the show, and I see the judgmental stares of those who have never thought, “What if this really is good?”
So, we will end things with another quote from Mikie Pie: The rallying call of /b/ronies, and what I hope will someday be a uniting force of all bronies everywhere.
Everypony equal, everypony loved, you don’t have to be a namefag to be a Brony, it’s just for fun!
Love, tolerance, friendship, and kindness are the most important things a Brony can have, let’s spread some joy and post some ponies.
Perhaps, one day, all bronies will be united in something worthwhile—a future worth striving for.