Dudes ruin everything.
Consider "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," a revival of the '80s cartoon with a target demographic in the 2-12 age range. What could go wrong? Older male fans got into the show, which is fine. Awesome, actually. Ditching hypermasculine ideals and a misogynistic aversion to all things considered "girly" to enjoy a TV show is commendable, because gender-specific marketing is dumb anyway. But then they dubbed themselves "bronies," because male-dominated nerd culture is a plague on society that insists on getting its greasy handprints all over anything. And sure, before the Brony Defense Task Force gets all #NotAllBronies on me, I should say they're not all bad. In fact, it's great and almost moving that people can come together and feel united through a common interest—see last year's "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love, and BronyCon" by Kate Drabinski, which did a great job of capturing the positive results of these guys finding each other.
But the problem with bronies has nothing to grown men liking a children's cartoon and everything to do with their usurping of a safe space for young girls and distorting it into a hypersexual and toxic environment for these younger fans.
I know the internet is a festering cesspool of questionable cartoon-based erotica, but pony porn has become such an unstoppable force of sexual deviancy that not even a simple Google search is safe. I'm serious—Google Image search "Pinkie Pie" with SafeSearch off and see what you get. Well, actually I'll tell you. Within the first few pages you Pinkie Pie covered in blood with chunks of her skin ripped out. Then you see her morbidly obese/inflated (yes, that's a real fetish) eating a cookie. Then there's Pinkie Pie in knee-high socks on the stripper pole. Hot.
The fourth annual Bronycon, the largest "My Little Pony" gathering and a celebration of all things brony, is coming to the Convention Center from Aug. 1-3, and with it comes some of the darker sides of the fandom. Mostly, it's a typical "-Con" where fans can get together and sell items related to the show and meet the people behind its creation. There will be your typical cosplayers and fan-artists and voice actors from the show. But there will also be artists who add sexualized equine pictures and other graphic images to the internet. Braeburned, Welcome Princess Celest (a link on their vendor profile on the BronyCon website leads to this personal Tumblr, which then leads to this NSFW site), Lil Miss Rarity, and Siden are just some examples of artists drawing not-kid-appropriate work who will also be vendors.
The porn and subsequent clopping, which is a fandom term for masturbating, is just the beginning. Bronies appropriate the oppression of real-life actual people to burden themselves with a victim complex that they believe makes them immune to criticism. An example is a panel at Bronycon this year called "Coming Out of the Stable." This is the idea of a "My Little Pony" fan admitting to family and friends that he likes the show after hiding it in fear of judgment and scorn. This is an insulting trivialization of the struggles that queer people go through in the coming-out process and should not have even been considered as a panel in the first place. You’re not oppressed for being a brony, you baby. On the other hand, there's a panel about "Coping with Disabilities Through Pony," which is nice. Good job, bronies. A+. More of this please.
Perhaps the biggest example of obnoxious grossness is a fan-created tumblr blog entitled "Ask Princess Molestia." This webcomic follows a parody of one the show's character, Princess Celestia, as she rapes people. Yeah.
When Tumblr took down the blog after a campaign called "Down With Molestia," spearheaded by a Tumblr user called Pinkiepony, bronies rose together in some sort of nerd-rage-revolution to protest this horrible violation of free speech. They ended up sending Pinkiepony, who was underage at the time, hundreds of death threats and started drawing her "ponysona" being raped. They even found where she lived through geolocation tracking on her personal twitter and posted her address all over the internet. Additionally, bronies rose together in some sort of nerd-rage-driven revolution to protest this horrid violation of free speech.
If bronies were to actually embrace the ideas of the show, they would vilify these outliers of the fandom. The creator of the show and noted feminist Lauren Faust has said that she created "My Little Pony" in order to demonstrate to young viewers that "there's no wrong way to be a girl." And the show does that well. There's a Smart Pony, and a Shy Pony, and a "Traditionally-Girly" Pony, and a "Not-Traditionally Girly" Pony, and whole bunch of characters that are great tools for teaching children the values of strong female-female friendships and the merits of just being kind to each other. It's mind-blowing that bronies could corrupt these pre-K-level ideals of being a good person and instead turn a blind to the corruption of a kid's show and cry about imaginary oppression.
This is why you can't pull that #NotAllBronies shit on me. You're perpetuating the worst parts of the community by defending them, rather then condemning them, making "bronies" nothing but bigoted rape-apologists. Even if you are a "good brony" then you're still a part of the problem if you keep your mouth shut. "Those who are silent when others are oppressed are guilty of oppression . . ." and all that, you know?
In short, the label "brony" is ruined. It's garbage. Throw it out. Never use it again. The name is so closely linked to the awfulness of certain members that calling yourself one is aligning yourself with these jerks.Copyright © 2015, Baltimore City Paper