The Bronies Documentary is Borderline Propaganda


Professor Pony educates the audience about “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”



Written by Myrna Waldron.

I watched My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for two seasons. It’s a genuinely good show, with influences from Powerpuff Girls, Sailor Moon, and other television intended for young girls. It occupies an important cultural spot, since we all know just how hard it is to find well made, well written and non-condescending entertainment for young girls. Having been born in the mid-80s, I did watch at least one of the earlier generations of My Little Pony, but all I can really remember of it was that I found it pretty saccharine, (and I couldn’t have been older than 5 at the time, so that’s saying something). Lauren Faust, the original creator for MLP: Friendship is Magic, is a self-proclaimed feminist, who explicitly intended to create a series depicting female friendship. So thumbs up to the show just based on that.

Unfortunately, on the internet, the show isn’t really known for its quality. Nope, it’s known for its vocal teen/adult male fanbase. I commend these adult male fans (known as “Bronies” – bro + pony) for being willing to ignore traditional gender roles, and appreciate a show aimed at young girls, for what it is. “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Male Fans of My Little Pony” is a feature-length documentary exploring these fans (and was financed by them via Kickstarter), and was executive produced by Lauren Faust (the series creator), Tara Strong (VA for Twilight Sparkle, the main protagonist) and John de Lancie (VA for Discord, a Q-like villain in the first two episodes in the 2nd season). de Lancie’s intent with this documentary was to provide a contrast to the strongly negative media depiction of Bronies and depict them positively. This documentary was also intended to serve as an introduction to the fandom for those unfamiliar with Bronies.

Unfortunately for them, I’m already familiar.

I honestly tried to come at this documentary with an open mind, knowing that much of the negative media attention is directed at Bronies simply because they are men who like a thing intended for little girls. I know a few Bronies and consider them friends, so I’m well aware that many Bronies are perfectly decent people. It’s also not really THAT rare for adult men to like cute things for little girls. Hell, go into any anime convention and you’ll stumble over guys like this everywhere you go.

But it’s very hard to shake my generally negative opinion of Bronies – at least, my negative opinion of the bad ones. And there are a lot of bad ones. The fandom started on notorious forum 4chan, when the first fans decided to watch the show as a joke and ended up loving it. 4chan is a hive full of racism, sexism, ableism and just about every other “ism” you can think of (mainly because posts are automatically anonymous – anonymity turns people into assholes so easily), so it’s not surprising that there are some shitty people amongst Bronydom. A few months back on Tumblr, someone asked me to explain why I have a generally negative opinion of Bronies. I am yet to see any sort of improvement on that front, and every time I speak out against shitty Bronies on Twitter, someone always inevitably replies to my tweet and complains that “We’re not ALL like that!” as if I wasn’t aware. Not one of them has ever said to me, “Yes, there are a lot of terrible people. And if I see someone acting like that, I’m going to call them out on it.” It’s always defensiveness rather than proactive behaviour to genuinely try to improve Bronies’ reputation.

This film sets out to present Bronies as decent people who are inspired by the show’s messages of friendship to be kinder, friendlier, and more accepting of people. Okay, great. I’m all for that. But this film is unfortunately borderline propaganda, because there are some editorial decisions that blatantly come off as disingenuous to anyone who actually pays attention to the media they consume. As I said after finishing my livetweet of the film earlier this week, this film would have been so much better if it were honest. It tries so hard to solely present Bronies as great people that it’s just insulting. It’s been a long time since documentaries had any sort of obligation towards objectivity, but there’s a limit.

THE GOOD:

  • I genuinely liked the Bronies they decided to interview for the film. I sympathized with how each one felt like a social outcast before discovering the series, and how much they appreciated how the fandom introduced them to friendships they never would have had otherwise. I was expecting to want to loathe these guys, (especially since within a minute of the film’s beginning there was already a stereotypical fedora) but, I didn’t.
  • A main objective of the film was to demonstrate how the series inspired creativity from its fans. “The Living Tombstone”’s music didn’t do a thing for me, but I could see why people liked it. There was one Brony who created custom laser shows, which were really cool. The lone female Brony (or Pegasister – more on her later) they interviewed also creates custom figurines for the characters. There’s an enormous amount of talent shown here, and it’s great that they found something that inspired them.
  • Two teenage Bronies who were extensively interviewed (one from Bar Harbour, another from England) have wonderfully supportive parents. The parents admit they don’t completely understand their children’s hobby, but they did what they could to make their sons happy. The Bar Harbour Brony’s parents actually came with him to BronyCon, and his father had an extensive conversation with another father of a Brony, and ended up enjoying the show when he finally sat down to watch it.
  • The English Brony also happens to have Asperger’s, which is depicted fairly here. Much of his “storyline” is concerned with his solo trip to the UK Brony convention in Manchester, and how he was trying to avoid as much social contact with others as possible until he got to the con. I wondered how this was going to work, since if he was too petrified to even ask for directions, how was he going to handle interacting with hundreds of strangers in an enclosed space? The happy ending to this was that he realized that asking strangers for directions was no big deal, and having met tons of other like-minded people, it gave him confidence he’d never had before. The latter event didn’t surprise me, as I’ve seen lots of introverted people blossom into confident and exuberant people while at geek cons. The drawback to this, though, was that they regressed back to their “usual” selves once they were back in the real world.

THE BAD:

  • Another teenage Brony, this time from North Carolina, had ordered some pony decals which he’d put in his car’s rear windshield. Unfortunately, a gang of rednecks accosted him while he was driving, and started bashing up his car with baseball bats and tire irons, and smashed in the rear windshield. This was a borderline hate crime, since the rednecks demanded that he give up his “gay Pony shit” (if I’m quoting them correctly). This was awful enough to hear about, but how the Brony decided to deal with this incident made me feel a further combination of sadness and anger. Instead of telling his father the truth, he told him that he’d gotten into an accident. He also did not report this crime to the police. I can certainly sympathize with how ashamed and mortified he must have been feeling, but his lying probably cost his parents extra in insurance costs, and allowed those rednecks to go on to attack someone else. He lives in a small town – he wasn’t obligated to report the crime, but he would have had an easier time than others identifying the perpetrators. I fear for those rednecks’ next victim, because I know there will be one.
  • More than a few of the Bronies were willing to lie to their parents about their hobby. And I see this as a failure on the parents’ part, because they should be willing to accept any of their children’s interests and not immediately jump to the “He’s gay/He’s a pedophile” conclusions. If there’s that little trust over merely liking a children’s television show, something’s broken there.
  • Near the beginning of the film, a “Professor Pony” (who is implied to be de Lancie’s character Discord in disguise) gives a quick run-down of the previous generations of My Little Pony. And bashes every single one. There were fans of the earlier generations of the show before Bronies came along. And he just insulted them. Film, meet finger. It was played off as comedy, but he actually refused to discuss the third generation of MLP entirely. The Professor Pony is supposed to be giving facts, not opinions. That whole “LOL the previous generations sucked” thing just put a bad taste in my mouth.
  • At no point did any of the fans discuss how they felt about the characters, their interactions, go in-depth about the messages of the show, etc. It was all “This show is good and it makes me want to be a good person.” None of them talked about how they gained a new appreciation or respect for girls/women. It was only a writer on the show who expressed that she liked that Bronies were learning that girls/women are capable of doing awesome things just as much as boys/men are. I would have liked to hear that from a BRONY.

THE UGLY:

  • I get that the film was about the unexpected male fans. But to ignore the female fans for a show intended for GIRLS was just insulting. There were two “Pegasisters” interviewed: “Purple Tinker,” the founder of BronyCon (so, not an average fan) and Nadine, a fan from Germany. Wanna know why Nadine was interviewed? Because she met her future fiance at a Brony meetup. (facepalm) And she was the fan designated to bring cupcakes to this meeting. (double facepalm)
  • And it got worse. Midway through the film, a quartet of female ponies interrupted the Professor Pony and angrily pointed out that Pegasisters contribute to the fandom too. Professor Pony stutters that “Girls liking ponies is expected.” And…then no examples of the Pegasisters’ creative efforts are explored, beyond Nadine’s figure sculpting. SERIOUSLY? A few female fans are interviewed at BronyCon, but NONE of them are named. Not one. Not even the one who discussed how the show helped her cope with cancer treatment. If I were a Pegasister I would have been insulted.
  • The subtitles used for some of the dialogue were inconsistent and even condescending/insulting. “The Living Tombstone,” a musician Brony from Tel Aviv, had every one of his lines subtitled, even though he was speaking ENGLISH. And his accent wasn’t that strong. I understood what he was saying just fine. Nadine’s stepfather was expressing a negative reaction to MLP and his stepdaughter’s hobby, but his words were not subtitled. For god’s sake, do they think the audience is stupid? His body language was angry/exasperated, and I understand enough German to know he wasn’t saying good things. Crap like that is why I consider this film borderline propaganda.
  • The Professor Pony briefly references fanfiction shipping and “clopping.” Clopping is masturbating to Rule 34 porn of the characters, sort of like “yiffing” for furry porn. But although the class halts and looks horrified, the Prof just skates right past the reference and ploughs on. Yeah, no. If they’re going to comedically reference the darker side of the fandom, it’s disingenuous to deliberately ignore it.
  • And that is my biggest issue with this film. It’s dishonest. It doesn’t acknowledge the racist, misogynistic, pedophile, homophobic, transphobic etc ponies. Purple Tinker is a transwoman, but they never discuss the hatred some Bronies have thrown at her. They don’t discuss the torrents of Brony abuse that was thrown at fanartist yamino because of the mistaken belief that she had something to do with Hasbro changing the in-show depiction of fan character “Derpy Hooves.” (I JUST checked her deviantART page and someone had actually posted a comment within the last few days saying “You killed Derpy. I hate you.” Oh my god.) Speaking of Derpy, they show her in the front row of the university scenes, but they don’t discuss her at all. Probably because she’s a creation that is ableist as hell and the producers know that if they bring that shit up it’ll make Bronies look bad.


There is merit in pointing out that there’s nothing wrong with adult males liking a well-made show for young girls, and there’s definite merit in trying to break down the gender barriers of entertainment. But I don’t like many of this documentary’s editorial decisions. If I were a Brony, I would have felt uncomfortable that each one who was interviewed was a social outcast, which perpetuates a nasty stereotype. If I were a Pegasister, I would have been insulted at how little the producers valued my contributions to the fandom. As an outsider with a large amount of familiarity with the series and its fandom, I’m insulted at how stupid the producers appear to think their audience is. If this is supposed to change public perception of Bronies, it’s doing a terrible job.

—-

This will be my final column for Bitch Flicks, at least for now. As I mentioned earlier this summer, my chronic illness is making it more and more difficult for me to write, and to keep to a regular schedule. I do not intend to stop blogging, but any future posts from me will be on my personal blog and will not be subject to any kind of deadline. (I may cross-post some of them however) The last few months have been much too stressful for me, and my condition is so unpredictable. I had to make a tough call, and reluctantly decided to walk away. But this is an “indefinite hiatus” as opposed to a “goodbye forever.”

I am tremendously grateful for the opportunity to share my thoughts with like-minded feminist film fans, and I’m grateful to every person who reads my work. I am hoping that someday my fibromyalgia will go into remission and I can go back to regular blogging, but for now, I have to put my health first.

Thank you.




Myrna Waldron is a feminist writer/blogger with a particular emphasis on all things nerdy. She lives in Toronto and has studied English and Film at York University. Myrna has a particular interest in the animation medium, having written extensively on American, Canadian and Japanese animation. She also has a passion for Sci-Fi & Fantasy literature, pop culture literature such as cartoons/comics, and the gaming subculture. She maintains a personal collection of blog posts, rants, essays and musings at The Soapboxing Geek, and can be reached on Twitter under @SoapboxingGeek.


34 Comments

  • Posted September 6, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Good luck with your health, fibro absolutely sucks.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Let me get this straight. A documentary to show how awesome a fandom is is “propaganda” but a blog designed to promote women’s rights and equality isn’t?

    Okay then.

    so…a documentary designed to show how awesome bronies are is borderline “propaganda” ? well so is every feminist blog, very African american blog, every Asian blog, every blog that discusses current events or helps promote an authors work.

    You admit to having a negative personal bias against a fandom..but decide to write an article about them anyway, thus diverting all attention to what you write, to about you and your (lack of an) educated unbiased opinion.

    Good job.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The problem I have is two fold:

    1. No quotes from bronies that do actively fight the stereotypes were sought. This shows selective reporting to me.

    2. “But this film is unfortunately borderline propaganda” Well, yes, of course it is. All documentaries are. So are all sites such as btchflcks. The documentary, and this site, each have an agenda. John DeLancie even admitted he had an agenda of showing what Fox News refused to.

    3. ” It doesn’t acknowledge the racist, misogynistic, pedophile, homophobic, transphobic etc ponies” why should it? Why should it give any air time to the negativity of the fandom. if you wanted that, go to Fox News where they’ll paint a picture of negativity in anything in the world. Furthermore, wasn’t it you that mentioned TERFs? Should we give them publicity in everything too? You know, to remain fair.

    4. “Probably because she’s a creation that is ableist as hell and the producers know that if they bring that shit up it’ll make Bronies look bad.” Actually, they don’t bring her up out of respect to Amy Keating Rogers, whos son Soren is so disabled that he can’t walk or talk. Bronies know that she ultimately made the decision to cut Derpy out because of the connotations Derpy brought due to an accidental portrayal by Tabitha St. Germain.

    5. Really? You consider it borderline propaganda because of…subtitles. Really? Wow. That’s stretching it a bit.

    6. “None of them talked about how they gained a new appreciation or respect for girls/women.” that works two ways you know. They could have brought it up, but they didn’t. That’s on the person being interviewed.

    7. “More than a few of the Bronies were willing to lie to their parents about their hobby.” so this makes the film propaganda, one that shows a realistic portrayal of how a family treats a brony? Still stretching it.

    8. “Near the beginning of the film, a “Professor Pony” (who is implied to be de Lancie’s character Discord in disguise) gives a quick run-down of the previous generations of My Little Pony. And bashes every single one. There were fans of the earlier generations of the show before Bronies came along.” Yeah, hi. Nearing 30 here. A fan of Generation 1 and the animation was horrible. Generation 2, which you would know if you researched by the way, didn’t have a cartoon. Generation 3/3.5 So horrible I wanted to shoot myself after watching one episode. It’s so bad that Hasbro has actually gone back, taken one of the characters (Minty) and G4/FiM-ified her. So yeah, the bashing was justified.

    9. ” am yet to see any sort of improvement on that front, and every time I speak out against shitty Bronies on Twitter, someone always inevitably replies to my tweet and complains that “We’re not ALL like that!” as if I wasn’t aware. Not one of them has ever said to me, “Yes, there are a lot of terrible people. And if I see someone acting like that, I’m going to call them out on it.” It’s always defensiveness rather than proactive behaviour to genuinely try to improve Bronies’ reputation.”

    …did you ever stop to ask any of them if they called them out? did you do ANY research for this “opinion piece” ? Yes, you can have an opinion, but it should be an INFORMED opinion. To be fair, you don’t lump all Bronies together but you still could have done a little bit more research before writing this.

    You also come across as just plain hating on John DeLancie and others. I can understand if something was incorrect factually (for example, My Little Pony Tales is claimed to be a G2 cartoon–it’s not, it’s still a generation 1 cartoon.) but everything you said as to why it’s “borderline propaganda” is stretching it.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    It is interesting that you and your fans can’t handle dissent and criticism. I reblog this with a simple comment and I’m on the “warpath”. Interesting way to silence dissent.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Uh huh. Shall I copy what I said to you on Tumblr?

    “You have made MULTIPLE blog posts about me, posted multiple comments, sent multiple tweets, made personal attacks and ridiculous unfounded accusations, backed down with an apology and a promise not to cover the review on your podcast only to completely go back on your word, you have blatantly lied, you have an extremely poor definition of feminism, you have claimed I’m not willing to discuss things when I gave you a polite and well-reasoned reply to your criticisms, and you have proven that you’re mentally unstable and immature.

    Let me make something VERY clear to you. This is not debate, this is not dissent, this is harassment. And if you contact me again, talk about me again or slander me on your podcast, you will sincerely regret it. I WILL report you on every possible outlet that you continue to harass me on, and I will contact the police. DO NOT CONTACT ME AGAIN. AND DON’T TRY ME ON THIS.”

    This is your last warning. You had your chance to have friendly debate and you blew it several times over. You don’t get to try to pretend that I’m silencing you when you’ve been nothing but a crazed bully.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    @ldg3 I’m one of the editors at Bitch Flicks. I can assure you that we do not silence dissent. We do however delete comments that personally attack our writers.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I’m the ‘crazed bully’. There you go with the person attacks, but this won’t be deleted will it? Your editor will stand 100% behind it. Meanwhile YOU have sent your followers after me for no reason while you hide.

    watch my podcasting page, I think you’ll be surprised.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    If you can show me a personal attack, I would gladly agree with you. last i checked–and I do have my comment saved–there was not one in there.

  • Posted September 7, 2013 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Calling our writer “uneducated” and “a joke,” comprises a personal attack.

    I’ll be closing this thread to further comments.

  • Kingofturves .
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Yes I would agree, as someone is a male fan of My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic and accepts the label, to a certain extent of Brony.
    The Brony Documentary was something of a disappointment.

    First I would recommend this as another attempt, this time from Brony, Saberspark.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybXXSHDRE4

    As for the Brony Documentary..
    I was wondering at the time whether or not to see about getting involved in the project, but I didn’t seem to fall into any category they were looking for.
    I some ways, I’m kind of glad.
    I did expect that it would be ‘propaganda’ of a sort, because at it’s inception it was designed to counter the views put forward by other mainstream media outlets such as Fox news, etc.
    Whilst it was produced by people who were ‘outside’? the fandom but still had interests relating to it, being cast members of the show, etc. it makes for a fairly potent mixture and conflict of interests.
    I still have trouble trying to work out who the intended target audience for this was. Was it a documentary for intended the fans as fan service or it intended for people outside the fandom to portray the positive parts of the Brony fandom.
    It is a shame that it concentrates on males, because that helps reinforce the notion of Bronies just being male, whereas it could be a term used to describe anyone who is a fan of the show.
    In part I think this is down to the short time frame in which the documentary was planned produced and film, but also as it was a kickstarter type project and as such derived it’s funds from Bronies.
    As a consequence this could explain some of the problems with the editorial decisions that you highlighting with the project.
    At the time I did feel many of the points you raised, but sometimes it can be hard to admit.
    With the Derpy incident, I think that happened too near to the start of the project and as such was not considered when putting the project together.
    Derpy Hooves/Ditzy Doo/Bright Eyes, is a decisive character.
    In many ways, it has been pointed out that other Shows have done a much more respectful job of representing people with disabilities, even South Park for it’s often vulgar and sensationalist take on many topical subjects has done a better job than MLP Fim, which is disappointing for a children’s show.
    I can see how to some that they would take offense to her character, and I do acknowledge that there are some cringe worthy portrayals of her by fans. I was also saddened by the McCarthy like overreaction when anons started looking for scapegoats.
    The trouble is I also know the ‘other’ Derpy, the one which whilst disabled is also presented with respect and love by other fans.
    There are those that laugh at her and those that laugh with her, who see her as part of themselves.
    Her portrayal in the show whilst limited was also disappointing compared to how other shows have done a better at introducing disabled characters in a better light. But there was always potential there to develop her character, at least until her first speaking role and itunes reaction, which will make it much harder to do a positive portrayal. In some ways Itunes decision and Hasbro’s to censor Derpy has had a much more damaging result, by sending out a message that there is something wrong with her.

    I think within the fandom it’s quite a bit more complex in terms of social structures and backgrounds. Different ‘cliches’ that may not necessarily interact all that strongly.
    I acknowledge the darker parts of the fandom, which whilst you do get admittedly probably as much in other fandoms and social groupings, I don’t know whether there is anything particularly special about the Brony fandom in that regard. It certainly has part to do with sections of the fandom originating within 4chan which takes liberty to its very extremes.
    The Brony fandom has it’s roots in the internet and like the internet has taken many of it’s rules and customs from the spread of memes to fulfilling rule 34, etc.
    I do find it disappointing, that when given anonymity, people often become complete jerks. But then the internet is like a mirror, it reflects the truth of our nature, warts and all. From our greatest hopes, to our deepest fears.

    Bit of an incomplete reply, but that’s as much as I can muster for now.

    • Anjelika Cornelius
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree with Kingofturves. Saberspark’s documentaries are much more concise and informative in regards to the history of the franchise and the fandom. “Bronies” was just an advertisement for Purple Tinker’s precious Bronycon. I was very disappointed in the documentary and even more disappointed that I spent money on it with the intention of using it as source material for my final Humanities project, which I did not. They could have done so much more. I ended up using Saber’s work and credited him in my presentation.

  • Jackie Rose
    Posted December 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been conflicted about my involvement with Bronies as a Pegasister. I also refused to watch the documentary as it’s essentially male tears and blubbering over how hard it is to be a man into a girl’s show. Sorry but as a woman excluded from many boy’s club communities, I’m more likely to act like Nelson from The Simpsons and give them a good “HA-HA!”

    I heard the Pegasisters were ignored, but as I heard the doc was about how men were oppressed by a society that says they can’t like feminine things, I figured I’d save myself the misandric baww fest.

    Now there are good Bronies and Pegasisters who like the show, the problem is the trolls of the community are louder and more obnoxious, so they get heard over the quieter nice fans. I love the show, I also do believe it should be okay for guys to like feminine things. I just wish they’d realize in an age where female gamers can’t join a community without tons of misogyny thrown their way, that what they suffer for liking ponies is a drop in the bucket compared to the bucket overflowing with misogyny women deal daily.

    • OppositeOfBatman
      Posted May 23, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I would agree with you if the abuse thrown at male bronies was coming from female bronies, but it isn’t. It comes from people outside the fandom. What male bronies experience is still misogyny because even though it is being directed at males, it is based on the assumption that what is feminine is less-than, and that when men like something feminine they make themselves less masculine, and therefore less-than.

      • justthefactsmaam
        Posted January 15, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know that I would call it misogyny. Misogyny is specifically hatred/dislike of women, whereas misandry is hatred/dislike of men… (Miso referring to hate, gyny referring to women…you get the idea.) I think you raise a good point and I’m trying to think of what it would be called beyond gender-based discrimination?

    • xiromisho
      Posted June 27, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      I think the troll will always be louder. I think that’s actually a qualification of trolls. “Be Loud and Agitating!”

      That said, yes there are plenty of creepy folks in Bronydom. Loads of Creepy folks.

      Trust me as a man I have no shyness in saying I search the internet for porn. I think everyone knows this is a thing that folks do from time to time. I can say I am honestly bothered by the Rule 34 stuff I come across. Now clearly there are people who like it… and I (as a brony) find it disturbing.

      The Shipping I find just simple fan fiction but it can get a bit more graphic than it should… I feel a Fan Fic should stay within the confines of the original medium. ie: Keep it PG. You want to write about a Big Mac/Cheerilie meet up where they become “Very Special Some Ponies” then great, cool! I love writing… but if you get graphic I feel it’s extremely important to point out that these are animals… cartoon animals at that. I know there are fetishes out there but this one seems… weirder then most. (I’d call it bestiality but it doesn’t really count towards that because both characters are animals).

      The above is actually why I don’t read the fan fics. =/

      • Nathan Gamble
        Posted January 10, 2015 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        “if you get graphic I feel it’s extremely important to point out that these are animals… cartoon animals at that.”

        You get the same stuff with every cartoon fandom, not just MLP. Pokemon has ridiculous amounts of porn.

        ” I know there are fetishes out there but this one seems… weirder then most.”

        I wouldn’t say so. BDSM is a pretty common fetish, as is coprophilia. They’re both WAY weirder than cartoon ponies (by most standards of “weird”, anyway – at least masturbating with a pony toy isn’t harmful for your health).

        “The above is actually why I don’t read the fan fics.”

        On most sites there’s an age rating and tagging system – you can just search for ones that aren’t rated “mature” or “explicit” or aren’t tagged with “sex”.

    • Ocelotl Chimalpahin
      Posted December 25, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

      There’s a need for a more inclusive documentary that gets away from this toxic brand

  • Anon2847
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    All your references to “Professor Pony” are completely misguided. Those small parts were created by “JanAnimations”, a youtuber who makes pony animations. It wasn’t made by the film directors, so don’t blame them.

    • dementeddamacy
      Posted January 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      But they chose to include those scenes in the film, which is a deliberate editorial decision. I believe that de Lancie voiced the Professor as well, correct? So, sorry, those scenes are fair game to discuss.

      • Ocelotl Chimalpahin
        Posted December 26, 2014 at 2:10 am | Permalink

        On the part of the film-makers and not the animators. Man this doc really poisons everything, no?

  • Ladifuckinda
    Posted May 27, 2014 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    This is a really great take-down of that awful documentary.

    Another thing I felt deeply uncomfortable with in the film, but wasn’t addressed in your article, was the constant fear the bronies had of being seen as gay. Now, for the North Carolina brony who had his car attacked by homophobic rednecks, that’s a very understandable fear for sure. After all, he’s getting anti-gay violence in spite of not actually being gay himself, as you said. But with the other ones it wasn’t the same, and overall, it was so often spoken in the same sentence as fear they would be seen as manchildren or, for fuck’s sake, pedophiles. It was equating being gay with those things, intentional or not.

    It kept making me wonder: why didn’t they bother to interview any actual gay bronies? I used to be a fan of the show; I know they’re around. But it’s probably for the same reason they didn’t interview very many “pegasisters”; anyone who deviated from the straight, white, male default would probably have a VERY different story of this deeply racist, sexist and homophobic fandom, and that wasn’t the one they wanted to tell.

    With gay bronies in particular, I have a close friend who is a gay man who used to be very very active in the brony fandom. He’s not in it at all anymore (and neither am I as a bi woman, for many of the same reasons). And one of the big reasons is because he was sick of that constant fear of his sexuality and equating it to be seen as a pedo. And how that was reflected in fanfiction sites restricting even the tamest male/male stuff while posting lots of X-rated “clop” stuff featuring lesbian or hetero pairings, because that’s what made the majority-straight bronies hot.

    For all they preach “love and tolerance”, they do a lot to alienate the people who need that love and tolerance the most. And I couldn’t help but be unnerved at that subtext in the film, remembering how it played into my friend’s and my own experiences with that fandom.

    • dementeddamacy
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      I agree completely. Representation of the LGBTQ fandom (besides Purple Tinker) was almost completely overlooked, and that’s total bull.

    • Ocelotl Chimalpahin
      Posted December 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      The lack of “pegasisters” and anyone not a white hetero male goes against the narrative of this “unexpected” audience. It’s a branding issue for this doc, a toxic one

  • The Best
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    You are one dumb fat bitch.Go eat more hamburgers fatass.MLP is perfect and the Bronies are great mind your own business and fuck off.

    • dementeddamacy
      Posted September 16, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for proving my point, genius. *eats a burger fried in Brony tears*

    • Blade Lindsey
      Posted May 26, 2015 at 2:32 am | Permalink

      I am from the south so you can say I myself am a Redneack, as well as a Brony. As well as seeing your interest in our fandom. However because I am both I lack soliciting. And tend to keep to my self. And don’t see why your so angry at someone for writing about our fandom. And your behavior sets us BRONYS And PEGASISTERS to be seen as bad people. However as you know am a Redneack and don’t believe, that someone liking something for girls as Gay Or Homo. The bad thing is that PEGASISTERS are treated the same as BRONYS for example. I saw a girl walk in my middle school wearing an asome Rainbow Dash Hoodie. She was told by the same sex to burn the Hoodie and then was left out of any social groups in our schools I wish people wouldn’t consider us, both PEGASISTERS and BRONYS as sexiest or raisest. And I find it rude when you walk in to a store and buy a MLP Collector or toy they get to do what they enjoy and spend there hard earned money on enything they please but when we buy what we love it’s a crime against nature.

  • Posted September 24, 2014 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Would like to point out that I; aswell don’t like Purple Tinker. Why? Not because she’s trans. Hell, it’s because she can’t seem to get her heavily stubborn ass out of the idea that everyone hates her because she’s trans, and god forgive that someone doesn’t agree with her. “ZOMG IM TRANS YOU MUST BE ATTACKING ME OMG”

    I found alot of this “take-down” to nitpicking crap that doesn’t matter. I don’t speak german. At all, I could tell he was saying bad things. Second of all, The Living Tombstone can be quite hard to understand at somepoints. Lastly, don’t downrate a movie because of a real-person, being interviewed, actions in the past non-related to the movie. That’s just pathetic.

    • Posted December 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think that people hate me because I’m trans. I never did. (For that matter, I also was never fond of the phrase “check your privilege”.) I’ve complained of endless trolls mocking me for being trans; that hardly means that I think that anyone who dislikes me dislikes me for being trans.

      If you have an issue with me, I’m more than willing to discuss it. Tweet at me and I’ll give you my Skype username.

      • Ocelotl Chimalpahin
        Posted December 25, 2014 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        check your privilege – check out Overthinking it dot com they have a podcast where they deal with that phrase, admitedly it’s mostly cis white males but hey

  • Ocelotl Chimalpahin
    Posted December 25, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Joder, such a same but this documentary seemed bad from the get go, at least we had a Pony John Delancie …

    Well there’s why I like the show but don’t want to be called a Brony, they’re not the worst…. relative to the internet and I would rather hang with a Brony than an MRA … so there’s your praise Brony majority. Which is a shame because they’re are good fellows and ladies in there.

    As for the fear of being seen as gay, isn’t necessarily unique to Brony-dom but it’s greater magnified since they are liking something that is usually sold only to girls, it’s all toxic and turtles all the way down :(

  • Nathan Gamble
    Posted January 10, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    “The Professor Pony briefly references fanfiction shipping
    and “clopping.” Clopping is masturbating to Rule 34 porn of the
    characters, sort of like “yiffing” for furry porn. But although the
    class halts and looks horrified, the Prof just skates right past the
    reference and ploughs on.”

    Yeah. Because it’s PG rated.

    “Purple Tinker is a transwoman, but they never discuss the
    hatred some Bronies have thrown at her. They don’t discuss the torrents
    of Brony abuse that was thrown at fanartist yamino because of the
    mistaken belief that she had something to do with Hasbro changing the
    in-show depiction of fan character “Derpy Hooves.””

    Some bronies are dicks, like some members of every fandom are.

    ” Speaking of Derpy, they show her in the front row of the
    university scenes, but they don’t discuss her at all. Probably because
    she’s a creation that is ableist as hell and the producers know that if they bring that shit up it’ll make Bronies look bad.”

    That’s Hasbro’s fault, not bronies’. The way she is characterised could be interpreted as being offensive to disabled people (she’s clumsy, her speech is slurred and she has crooked eyes), but the intention was for her to be endearing rather than offensive. Aside from what Hasbro does, usually when Derpy’s portrayed in fan material she’s got an important role rather than just being a comic relief character, and isn’t usually clumsy or stupid.

    I get that the film was about the unexpected male fans.
    But to ignore the female fans for a show intended for GIRLS was just
    insulting.”

    A significant majority of bronies are male. Obviously there are female ones too, but the documentary wasn’t about them, and there are fewer of them, so its understandable they don’t get as much mention.
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
    “anyone who deviated from the straight, white, male default would
    probably have a VERY different story of this deeply racist, sexist and
    homophobic fandom, and that wasn’t the one they wanted to tell.”

    Yeah, sure. Because people who watch stories about colourful female ponies being friendly and accepting are all prejudiced male-chauvinists. (sarcasm).

    Obviously some bronies are prejudiced, but the majority of the fandom doesn’t tolerate those who are, and if you knew what you were talking about you’d know that – try looking around a few forums and see how many bronies really are racist, sexist or homophobic.

    Bronyism is one of the least prejudiced fandoms there is – “love and tolerance”, etc. To call it “deeply racist, sexist and homophobic” is completely nonsensical.

  • Kayla
    Posted January 28, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I am technically a “pegasister” (although I think the name sounds kind of stupid lol). My impression of the documentary at first was that it made me feel very connected and happy in this fandom. But after reading this I realize there were some shit things about it… I’m actually just now discovering the darker side of some Bronies…

    • Joyce
      Posted September 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      I went to a brony meetup recently, and most of the guys were the kind that dislike women. I don’t think I feel comfortable going to meetups anymore, but I’ll try ’cause not all the bronies were like that either.

  • Simon Briggs
    Posted April 8, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    “I get that the film was about the unexpected male fans. But to ignore the female fans for a show intended for GIRLS was just insulting. There were two “Pegasisters” interviewed: ”

    So…They weren’t ignored, unless we have different definitions of “interview”. I think it’s okay to have most of the spotlight on male bronies, seeing as how they outnumber their female counterparts; and male bronies are what make the movement avant guard. Male bronies challenge the perceptions of society significantly more than their female partners.

    “..a quartet of female ponies interrupted the Professor Pony and angrily pointed out that Pegasisters contribute to the fandom too. Professor Pony stutters that “Girls liking ponies is expected. And…then no examples of the Pegasisters’ creative efforts are explored, beyond Nadine’s figure sculpting. SERIOUSLY?”

    Oh? So you expect a separate gallery for female bronies artwork? This is the 21st century, not 19th century France with the contemporaries of the mysogynist Degas and Gauguin compared with their oppressed female counterparts such as Morisot and Cassatt. Female Bronies today aren’t suspected of being prostitutes if spotted out of their home late at night. Why should female brony artists of today be treated differently from their male partners? One of my favourite brony artists is “Holivi” who is female, and I’m sure that she wouldn’t need to use her gender to set her work apart from the competition.

    If the Brony community has talent, and there happens to be females in that community, wouldn’t it follow that there are brony works made by females too? Does it seem so unbelievable that female bronies make works alongside their male partners; that you demand to see examples of female only works? That is stupid.

    “But although the class halts and looks horrified, the Prof just skates right past the reference and ploughs on. Yeah, no. If they’re going to comedically reference the darker side of the fandom, it’s disingenuous to deliberately ignore it.”

    They didn’t ignore it! They addressed clopping without going into details. The curious would do research on clopping and more sensitive viewers can avoid it if need be. Clopping is not a dark side of the fandom. I dare not inquire about all the mothers in the world and their rituals which entail Sam and Dean Winchester or perhaps captain Jack Sparrow or even Edward Cullen and Christian Grey; but they are entitled to it. Sexual fantasy is not a dark side.

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  • By Fandom, Feminism, and One Direction | Bitch Flicks on January 26, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    […] Caveat: when I say “for girls” or “for boys,” I am not being prescriptive. I’m a 24-year-old man writing publicly about my love of One Direction. I do not believe that any book, movie, music, TV show, article of clothing, color, website, philosophy, job, hobby, interest, or anything else is inherently “for girls” or “for boys.” I use the terms advisedly, to refer to the demographic towards which a product is primarily marketed and the demographic that comprises the majority of its consumers (which are not always the same demographic). […]

  • […] criticism by some feminist nerd communities, and for an interesting perspective, I implore you to read a fellow reviewer’s take on the brony documentary, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Male Fans of My Little Pony. I […]