Home » Bronies » Bronies: An Outsider’s Opinion Part 5

Bronies: An Outsider’s Opinion Part 5

These are my last interviews for this series. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of my thoughts and feelings on bronies and the MLP fandom. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

Tell me about how you got into this fandom? What is the draw?
The way I became a brony was somewhat strange. I actually used to fall into the “hater” category for bronies. I thought they were just a bunch of creepy old pedophiles who had an almost religious fascination with cartoons.

After a few years of me being very outspoken against bronies, one of them had the guts to engage in a logical debate with me. He pointed out (quite fairly, I was forced to admit) that I had never actually seen the show, so I was not entitled to go about mocking it as if I knew what I was talking about. After some further debate, I agreed to at least try a few episodes. I thought at the time that watching a few episodes would have made it even easier to make fun of the bronies. Heck, I was pretty excited to have more knowledge on how to better laugh at the stupid bronies. I pulled up My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Netflix and grabbed some popcorn, ready to start firing away with criticism.
It was to my great surprise that when the credits rolled at the end of the season one premier, I had very few bad things to say about it. In fact, some part of me really wanted to know how the next episode would solve the problem that arose in the first one. I didn’t have anything better to do, so I went to the next episode still convinced that I would find something worth criticizing. A few hours and many episodes later, I realized that I had stopped caring about finding things wrong with the show. The show was intelligently written, the dialogue was cheesy but heartwarming, the characters were full of life and personality, and the episodes had an air of child-like joy to them. The next day, I told a friend about what I had been doing. She looked me in the eye and said, “Who is best pony?” to which I promptly denied having one. I was firmly against admitting to being a brony. “Well,” she said, “my favorite pony is Rainbow Dash.” I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “No way! Twilight Sparkle is much better than that arrogant fool!” At that moment, I realized that I had been tricked into becoming a brony. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t bring myself to be frustrated about it.
Since then, I’ve fallen further and further in love with the show. It appeals to me in the sense that the show is a reminder of how valuable friendship can be. Really, the title of the show sums it up perfectly: friendship is magic. It’s magic in the sense that nothing else is like it, nothing can replace it, and nothing is more valuable than it.
What are the best and worst things about this fandom?
If I really had to choose one thing about the brony community I think is the best, I’d say it is the morality of the majority of bronies. While not all of us abide by the mantra of “love and tolerate”, most bronies take it to heart. We pride ourselves on representing the morals from the show that take form in the Elements of Harmony, which are Kindness, Loyalty, Honesty, Generosity, Laughter, and Magic. They are mostly self-explanatory except for Magic. I like to think of Magic as friendship itself. We’d all be nothing without our friends, and that is worthy of recognition.
The thing I like the least about the fandom is the bandwagon bronies. These people only joined up with the fandom because it became something that they thought would make them seem unique. Sadly, the majority of the bandwagon bronies care little for the show or the morals represented by it. While bandwagon bronies usually have appreciation for the things bronies create, like music, art, and stories, they hardly ever contribute anything to those areas. Bandwagon bronies are a dead weight dragging down the rest of the community and making us all look bad.
Are you open about liking MLP or is it something you keep to yourself, why?
I consider myself open about being a brony. I don’t parade around with my Sonic Rainboom shirt under my Spike the dragon hoodie with my Rainbow Dash necklace around my neck while blaring brony music from my phone that has a Princess Celestia cover. I’m not THAT kind of brony. Those people are just obnoxious. I’m an open brony in the sense that, if the subject comes up, I will not be afraid to admit that I love the show and am a contributing member of the brony community.
I’m physically and mentally strong, so people know not to mess with me in a physical or verbal confrontation about being a brony. I’m not rude about it, but I make it very clear to people that I will not tolerate anyone making fun of anybody else about anything while I am around. When people realize that I’m extremely serious about what I say, the bullies tend to leave rather quickly. They also don’t bother my other friends since they know I will get involved if they do, and I’m happy to be a shield against bullying for my fellow bronies (or anybody, for that matter). That way, they can be open bronies, too.
 Obviously, being a Brony comes with its fair share of stigmas and issues. What is something that you’d like to tell who prematurely judge you for being a Brony?  
I’ve encountered many people before who judge bronies without knowing very much about us. I tell them that I, of course, respect their opinions on the show, but I also kindly ask them to not make fun of something that they know nothing about. I tell them my story of how I used to hate the show, too, until I decided to take a step towards being fair to the people I was insulting. I ask them to set their predispositions aside and give bronies just one truly fair chance. I show them all the incredible charities that have been started by bronies. I also show them the incredible arts that have flourished in bronies. If they still haven’t budged on their opinions, then I do what I always do: love and tolerate them.
Being a brony has changed my life for the better. The show turned me from a loud-mouthed judgmental idiot into a calm and caring leader. Through the show, I’ve come to realize for the first time in my life that I do care about others. I’ve formed friendships and grown personally in ways I never would have been able to without having discovered My Little Pony. It sounds stupid, I know. Often times, it’s the stupidest little things that mean the most.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about Bronies and/or MLP?
http://www.herdcensus.com/ has lots of cool stuff about bronies. If you want to know more about us, this is a good place to be looking. Also check out http://www.fimfiction.net/ for the fanfiction written by bronies. Lastly, http://www.equestriadaily.com/ has regular news updates for bronies. That’s where most of the popular brony content comes from.

Tell me about how you got into this fandom? What is the draw?
Getting ‘into” the fandom was a bit of a tricky mess. My girlfriend and I both “got into” the show in early 2011, before there even really *was* much of a fandom. We were both very much aware of the existence of things like fanfiction and fanart. She discovered a lot of the former (as she was an avid fanfiction reader at the time, mostly falling into Doctor Who and X-files fics) so it wasn’t out of the norm for her to tell me about some silly pony related story she’d just finished reading. Personally, I’d vowed to steer clear of all of that and just enjoy the show, as I felt at the time that “fandoms ruin things.”

That was until I stumbled into “fan music,” … something I’d never really encountered nor heard of before. I saw quite a few remixes and original pieces, citing ponies as their influence or muse. I thought this was a pretty intriguing concept, and as I eventually dug deeper I found  a community called “My Little Remix,” which was where many of these people whose work I’d been admiring online all congregated. I made it a point to join immediately so that I could beseech them for knowledge, exchange information, and grow as a producer. I never had much intention to contribute to this community they’d built — I was just hungry to learn.

Eventually, by participating in some of their IRC based music creation challenges, I was convinced to create pony-themed music of my own, and while I’ll do my best to feign humility, it’s not an understatement to say that I started gaining recognition pretty swiftly. I eventually published a few songs to youtube, got featured on Equestria Daily a few times, hit over 1000 subscribers within a couple of months, and the rest is pretty much history. While I’m not as involved with “the fandom” as I used to be, I still sit pretty at over 15,000 subscribers on youtube, most of it coming from the MLP stuff.

What are the best and worst things about this fandom?

 Best and worst? You’re going to get a different answers from everyone. I personally think the solidarity that defined brony culture in the early days is one of the best things that came out of it. So many people were so insecure about liking it, and finding other people that were into it secured instant camaraderie among peers. That’s probably one of the reasons why it infected so many corners of internet culture in its infancy — so many people were reaching out, almost like beacons, advertising their constituency for brotherhood.  That same camaraderie is also one of the worst parts about the fandom — there are no shortage of people who behave poorly and have sullied the name over the years, and that camaraderie blinded a lot of people to thinking critically about this behavior, poisoning the well, so to speak. In the early days we were so grateful to find someone, anyone, who understood this weird thing we were into, it was really difficult for most people to turn around criticize those same people they were grateful to have, even when they recognized behavior worthy of criticism. We felt like we were all in this together, and when “one of our own” got out of line, there was no rush to admonish or scorn that behavior. As a result a lot of this negativity stewed for a long, long time as people of differing ideologies quietly tolerated each other, feeling they were prohibited from levying legitimate criticism. Finally a few “outsiders” penetrated some sections of the fandom, co-opting it with their personal brands of politics, and began to fragment that camaraderie.

While I do mourn the loss of that collective “brotherhood,” it’s also hard to ignore the newfound self-awareness that has come with that splintering of interests. People are a lot more cautious about what they say and what they do, and perhaps that’s a good thing.

Are you open about liking MLP or is it something you keep to yourself, why?
I’m completely open about liking MLP, but then again I’ve got it pretty easy. I’m a college graduate, I own a house, I have a full time career doing work that I love, and I’ve been in a long-term heterosexual relationship for over 5 years. By all of society’s heteronormative standards, I’ve done everything I’m supposed to, so in that respect I feel like I’m a bit exempt from a lot of the criticism my younger peers have to contend with. I’ve “made it” so to speak, and I don’t feel like my interests or hobbies are anyone else’s concern at that point.

 Obviously, being a Brony comes with its fair share of stigmas and issues. What is something that you’d like to tell who prematurely judge you for being a Brony?
 Honestly? Nothing, but then again I don’t tell people “I’m a brony,” either. I normally just preface my statement with a bit of a challenge, to the tune of, “Yeah, I like cute shit.” That, in and of itself tends to kill whatever criticism would have been levied at me. I’m fully aware of some of the problematic things the “fandom” as a whole has done, and I think it’s immediately evident, just by willing to entertain and engage that fact, that I’m not a principle contributor to the bad stuff.

If they still want to criticize or question it, I will gently remind them that I’m still a hard-working adult, and what I do with my downtime in no way affects anybody else.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about Bronies and/or MLP?

People tend to forget that you can only take away from something what you put into it. I still associate with the “brony fandom” because I’m willing to set aside (but not minimize) the negative impact, and focus only on the aspects that bring me joy. If you ask me that’s the whole point, and I only share “the fandom” with people that have a similar mindset. You don’t need to be ignorant of the negative stuff to take earnest delight in the positive stuff.

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