If, as this video, which tries to encapsulate a Kickstarter-funded documentary, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” concludes, bronies “are the best fandoms of all fandoms ever”; if “in fact, they are cultural forces” that resist the mainstream culture’s intolerance of anything non-normative; if they resist bigotry and sexism, why is there still so much controversy in media about bronies? Before coming to some answers, a little more on the content of this video. This video has tried answer some important questions:
- 1. What is special about brony fandom?
- 2. What makes it the best fandom?
- 3. How is this fandom perceived?
- 4. Who is included?
- 5. How do the haters affect bronies?
What makes bronies unique is the demography: “We are neither little nor girls,” as one brony answers, adding that because some bronies are girls, they can be said to “effectively challenging sexual stereotypes” (2:11). Bronies have a strong presence of convention, and to be its member, one has simply to abide by its underlying philosophy of love and tolerance. That means that so many people could already have been bronies without realizing it. Onto the question about why so much hatred to bronies, the broines become rather serious. One goes onto commenting that bronies are persecuted worse than the Jews in Holocaust. The difference is only that with the Jews there was basically one hater, Hitler, whereas bronies are hated by all kinds of people in general.
With this rather tedious background I’d like to present two reviews on the Brony Documentary. Aja Romano from The Daily Dot mentions the news about the documentary being criticized by bronies themselves for sexism, for erasure and exclusion. Many of the unsatisfied brony population comprised females for the documentary’s ignorance of their presence. Romano writers, “part of an ongoing attempt by bronies to change their public perception, many bronies feel that its subjectivity is its downfall, and that it ultimately fails to respond to, or even approach, any of the major critiques about the fandom.” Romano cites another critique blog, Fuck—no—my—little—pony, to argue that perhaps because of fandom’s masculinistic presence, “There is . . . nothing new and fresh about this fandom.” Other critics include viewers commenting that the documentary makes some people feel that they lack adequate social skills and they have to rely on ponies for a moral code to follow.
Alex Alvarez from the abc news also documents viewers’, many of whom from the brony subculture, discontent with the documentary. While the women bronies feel that their experiences are excluded, males feel that the documentary fails to provide a complete picture of the male fans. (For an incisive comment see Global Comments.)
Summing up, based on this documentary, the brony fandom has not “effectively challenged the sexual stereotypes.” Instead, it has maintained it. (The male-centric term “brony” has tended to somehow universalize males.) Worse still, as the Global Comments editor says, “This is indicative of a broader claiming of the text as normatively the domain of men.”