This is a message to all brony/pony haters.
I'm noticing a lot of brony hate around, which is predictable. Every fandom that gets mega-popular will have the self-proclaimed 'rebels' who decide to hate the fandom AND the fan base based on a just few unsavory fans.
This narrative is a means of explaining a few things that many brony haters may have not realized, or overlooked. It is NOT a device to 'convert' those who don't like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It is NOT to put down pony haters, or people who dislike bronies. Not every person can like every fandom. We are all entitled to our own likes and dislikes, it's what makes us human. This is merely an explanation of why and how I became a brony, and why it's terribly ignorant to hate a fandom because of a portion of fans. But first of all...
I saw someone the other day proclaiming that bronies are going to 'ruin the show' for children in the future, when those children grow up and 'realize that their favorite childhood show was an internet religion', and 'see all of the porn the fan base creates'. I see a couple of problems with this outlook.
First of all, it doesn't matter how big or small a fandom is, there will always be porn. A little over ten years ago I saw 'drawn porn' for the first time on accident, a picture of Sailor Moon and Goku, and it pretty much traumatized me. I loved both Dragonball Z AND Sailor Moon when I was a kid, and seeing porn of them just wrecked my brain. BUT, I grew up, I grew immune to such shocks, and I still enjoy both shows today, with no problem.
There is porn of Transformers, Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers, EVERY Disney movie, Inspector Gadget, etc. Rule 34: If it exists, there is porn of it. There was My Little Pony porn BEFORE there was a 'Friendship is Magic'. There is no show, movie, character or book that doesn't have it's own naughty counterpart on the internet.
Secondly, all 'clop art' does NOT come from the fan base. If memory serves me right, FiM porn was first created to troll the bronies, not cater to them. Just because there are a few people claiming to be bronies out there, getting off to pony art does NOT mean that the rest of the fans feel the same way. 'Furry porn' aka 'yiff' has been around a lot longer than FiM; most of the 'fans' that draw clop art were drawing yiff before they ever stumbled upon MLP. You don't just magically become attracted to animated ponies because of a single show, after all.
I'm glad to report that I have never fapped to an animal, either real nor animated, and I'm pretty sure it's gonna stay that way. To real bronies, those who love the show for what it is, porn of these beloved characters is just distasteful and annoying. But, it's the internet. The best you can do is look the other way.
MY DISCOVERY OF FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC
First of all, let it be known that I, like almost everyone else I know, never cared for the My Little Pony franchise when I was young. It was too girly for me, and the show was mind-numbing. So when I was on a certain image board when pictures of ponies first started cropping up, you can bet I was a little confused.
I assumed it was the same few people, spamming images of ponies just for a joke. But after a few weeks, the pony images were still coming, and I realized that these adult men were actually enjoying a My Little Pony show.
Needless to say, I scoffed at this. It seemed strange to me, and although I was curious about how something like that could have possibly happened, I figured that as with most things, this was a fad that would quickly disappear in a week or two.
Not so. A few weeks later, it seems this fanbase was flourishing, but I noticed they weren't trolling anyone, they were keeping to themselves, and they seemed to be a kind, tolerant group of people. I couldn't take it anymore. I looked up the first episode of the show, to once and for all see what all the fuss was about, and be able to tell these 'bronies' exactly what I thought of their fandom.
The first episode blew me away. I'm not at all saying that it was 'the best thing I ever watched', or anything like that... But it was not what I expected. Here, instead of a Dora the Explorer type of kiddy show, I was being shown a show that spoke to me with the same charm that Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack and the Powerpuff Girls used to. There were good characters, a good plot, an interesting setting and grade-A voice acting. Although I was slightly embarrassed, I watched the second episode. Then the third. And fourth. The rest is history.
My fiancé caught me watching it around episode three, and although at first he jokingly mocked me for watching it, he found himself also dragged into the appeal of the show, and in no time we were both hooked. I quickly got my friends and family into it as well... Of course it wasn't EVERYONES cup of tea, but my closest friends and I are definitely bronies now. After meeting so many other accepting, great fans of the show, we felt comfortable enough to throw our own 'brony parties', and that's also around the time I began posting MLP art on the internet. Through this outlet I was able to meet a lot of great fans, and unfortunately, some not-so-great ones, as well.
WHAT MAKES THE SHOW GREAT
Once again, I'm not here to try and convert non-fans of the show by telling them 'how awesome' My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is. I'm perfectly aware that there are going to be many people who dislike the show, and that's okay. There are many popular shows I don't like, either. (Most, actually. Okay, pretty much all of them.) Disliking something because it doesn't quite strike your fancy is one thing, but hating something simply because it's popular, or because you group the entire fan base into one being just because there are a few bad apples out there, is stupid. And since I'm seeing a lot of 'The show is stupid.' 'You guys act like it's the best show ever!' 'It's a show geared towards 5-year old girls!' out there, I'm going to list some of the main reasons real bronies love this show, to hopefully clear up some misconceptions.
It has a consistent, evolving story-line.
Most shows geared towards children don't. Now, I'm not saying this show wasn't originally intended for little girls. It was. But despite that, the creators gave the main characters complex personalities, and a plot that is constantly moving forward and referencing past episodes and characters. I think I can name the American animated shows that have that quality on one hand. Of course, this only intensified after Hasbro discovered the overwhelming amount of adult viewers.
One of my favorites when I was younger (and still today) was Fairly Oddparents. While the show has good characters, hilarious plot and script, and charm, there was no continuity, and once an episode ended, it was most likely never referenced again, and in some cases, even forgotten and then later contradicted. This is the norm for most shows geared towards children, so I was surprised when of all things, My Little Pony avoided this pitfall.
It has an alarming amount of character development.
Season Two has shown more character development than I would have thought possible. My favorite example is the Season Two episode, 'Read it and Weep'. Rainbow Dash is hospitalized after injuring herself doing some aerial moves, and is stuck in a boring hospital bed. Bored and with nothing to do, Twilight gives Dash a book to read. Rainbow expresses her disgust with books, and refuses to read it; but after becoming so bored she can't stand it, she picks it up. She finds herself immersed in the world of the book, and realizes that she loves reading.
Afraid of being dubbed an 'egghead', Rainbow hides her loves of this new book series, and even goes to such lengths as to trying to steal the book back from the hospital once she's released. Of course she gets found out, admits her love of reading, her friends help her realize that there's nothing wrong with that, yadda yadda. But what impressed me was a later episode in the season, where Rainbow is seen reading the 'Daring Doo' series, with a big stack of books next to her. Such a little nod towards a past episode is something I rarely see in American cartoons, and it seems almost every episode has a similar example.
It goes against conventional stereotypes.
This is a big one for me. There's a formula to every show; The pretty girl who is obsessed with her appearance = the bitch, antagonist. The sweet, demure girl = the wallflower. The studious character, obsessed with books and knows a lot of stuff = the nerd, usually a secondary character... I could go on. I know that there are some shows out there that are bold enough to step outside the boundaries of kid-oriented cartoons, but few of them do it like MLP: FiM. When Rarity was introduced in the first episode, I said to myself, "There she is. There's always got to be some pretty, fashion-obsessed character. She's gonna cause trouble." I was impressed to find out later that not only was Rarity as good a friend as any, but she embodied the Element of Generosity.
The 'nerd' is the main character, the shy, sweet character has a hidden rage and complex insecurities underneath... The stereotypes were just getting trampled this way and that. To say I was impressed by that would be an understatement.
The show actually listens to it's fans, and even incorporates the fans into itself.
Hasbro continues to blow my mind with the things they are willing to do for the fans. Anyone who knows anything about the fan base of MLP knows who Derpy Hooves is; the official mascot for the bronies. A simple animation error in the first episode led to a fully named, fully complete character that even had her own speaking lines in Season Two.
Since the discovery of the fans back when Season One was still being worked on, Hasbro has shown their love in countless ways. Several 'background' ponies have been named and altered by the fans, and I've lost count of the amount of easter eggs Hasbro sticks in nearly every episode, just for the fans. ('Nyan Cat' style Rainbow Dash, 'Rape face' Lyra, etc) Being a part of something that has that sort of influence, that sort of passion, is very special. Even John de Lancie, who had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed to spend a measly two hours voicing Season Two villain Discord found himself completely taken with the fan base, enough to ask the fans to help him make a documentary about bronies, which is currently in production.
If you don't think that all of these are legitimate enough reasons to enjoy a show, then I'm not sure what else can be said. For those of you who still think that all bronies are 'immature man-children who fap to animated ponies', then you are just as immature and ignorant as the people you supposedly hate. I think Lauren Faust said it best: "Every single fandom has an unsavory faction within it. There are creepy sci-fi fans, scary sports fans and people who think it's fun to defile anything that is important to someone else. As far as I can tell, in the brony community these people are in the minority."
Thank you for listening.