Yesterday, an essay known as Sexism in the My Little Pony Fandom reached the front page of DeviantART, netting over 19,000 views and 944 comments. I've been meaning to write on the topic of femenism and sexism someday, but this is a rare opportunity to not only cover the bases, but also to write a rebuttal to one of the most misinformed things I've ever seen on DeviantART.
So this is my no-sugar coating, no bullshit, Fox only, final destination look at this topic and an overall rebuttal. I hope you enjoy, or don't. Whatever.
“It's a well known fact that it was the guys who started everything that our fandom is and who
maintain it” - Brony, Male, 23.
One quote in and I'm already groaning. Well great, you got the opinion of one brony. Is there any polls backing this up that more than one brony thinks this? If you're going to tackles situations this heavy, you need more than just some idiot you interviewed at a convention to back up your claims.
They have formed a niche, where they, the males, are decidedly the ones in
control simply by ordinance of their superior sex
Hyperbole central coming through. Yes, there are plenty of male bronies, and many people who run brony websites are male. Is this because they think they're 'the superior sex'? Maybe a small amount of them, but not the majority.
they have been told that they cannot be
bronies by a vocal male sector
Certainly, there are a good amount of males who don't draw a line between male and female within
the “Friendship is Magic” fandom.
it is important to acknowledge that having a loud voice doesn't necessarily mean that you represent
See, the irony here is that it seems he is proving his own point. He has earlier said it's "a vocal male sector." Yet as he just pointed out, having a loud voice doesn't mean you represent the masses.
females who actively want to be called 'bronies' is to alienate a valuable, equal part of what the
So where are the stats to back it up? Where are the accounts that when a female fan asks to be called a brony, the majority of male bronies will decline this. I need some concrete facts to back this up.
But, suppose for a second that I'm going to acknowledge the
'bronies' as being unique and special, as many of them consider themselves to be, puffed up with
vacuous morals of 'love and tolerance'.
This has always been a failed Le Epic Maymay. The majority of bronies are more rabid than most fandoms, saying they don't comply with the message should be common fact by now.
As the quote suggests, males often act unusually around females online upon discovering that they
actually have a vagina.
Now I hate to be the guy who pushes the stereotype, but the average age of a brony is 21, meaning they are still most likely hormone-addled. On top of that, looking back at those results, you will see 96% of bronies are also single. On top of that, as another more personal poll revealed, the majority of bronies (At least those who responded to the poll) are virgins.
While it is ridiculous that people will lose their minds around girls on the internet, it's not surprising in the slightest considering the facts. This is also common on the entire internet, not just with bronies.
I fully assumed that this would be the case, and so ran a test on a website called
'Ponysquare', which was seen as being one of the biggest offenders in this department at the time. I
signed up with two accounts, one male and one female, and allowed for individuals to chat with me.
After accepting/initiating 500 or so friend requests on both accounts, I can report that in the space of
four hours I was approached to casually sex-roleplay seven times on the female account, and not
once on the male account.
Finally, a concrete fact. There isn't really any points to argue with this, and he did a good job actually researching. To say I'm pleasantly surprised is a bit of an understatement. However, it does make another counter-point in its own argument. With 4 hours of RP, he only got 7 sexual RP experiences? For an internet RP site, that's surprisingly tame. If you go on a site like, say, Omegle, you will get an ERP (Erotic Role Play) roughly 1/3rd of the time.
Not all of this sexual voyeurism is consensual. “Tits or GTFO”, a long-standing, and, when said in
earnest, disgusting phrase, occurs at times within the fandom (as well as around the internet in
Le Ebic /b/ Maymay is used less and less on the internet, and more often it's used by memespouting teens than anyone else. I won't pretend people DON'T use this phrase, but the idea that it's a common occurrence is a bit hard to swallow. In 2006/7? Yeah. In 2012 (When the article was written)? No.
Many female members of the fandom have described this attitude as extending to the pony
characters themselves, who are frequently sexualised within the community
This is commonly known on the internet as "Waifufaggatory". It is usually linked with the size of the fandom mixed in with the reliance on female characters in the core media, with a large dose of the size of the male population in the community. Going back to that earlier brony study, we will find that 86% of Bronies as of 2012 are Male. As such, it is not crazy to believe that there is a large supply of sexualized MLP art. Rule 34 may be a silly Le Ebic Maymay, but it still holds ground today.
This does not change the
fact that many females have told me that they find the male fascination with sex within the
community to be concerning, however. Here is one example that a concerned female sent to me
taken from a website called FiMFiction. I have blanked out the user's name, but I felt it appropriate
to keep the entire message to show how disgusting it is:
Now, I won't link the image because of no more NSFW blog posts, but lets just say that this is a rather disgusting comment receiving 21 up-votes and 19 downvotes. The sad part about the boiling pot of disgust that is FiMFiction is that deprived acts in fics are usually supported with likes and comments. For example, the most utterly deprived fic I've ever seen was Mistress Mare Do Well (Which I will NOT link), which received 268 upvotes and 78 downvotes. Normally, I would just cry doom and gloom, but there's an odd little gem known as Mistress Mare Do Well: Fractured Elements, a complete rebuttal and debunking of this story as well as everything it stands for. This fic? It has 216 upvotes and 22 downvotes. What has occurred to me is that most people who disliked Mistress Mare Do Well did NOT bother with rating it, and instead supported this version. Votes on fimfiction have always been shoddy, so I wouldn't ever rely on them to get concrete info in the long run.
However, if we use the above example (and there are plenty more like
it), you can see that some male bronies have a real addiction to sexual domination and the
victimisation of females, fictional or not.
Unrelated. As I have said earlier, people who aren't in to that thing will more than likely just not view or rate it outright. The only people who would upvote that are people sharing the fetish, not your average FimFiction viewer.
Clicking profiles more often than
not shows the sex of the user, and in almost all cases on websites I viewed males far outweigh
females on pony pornography sites.
I hate to keep going back to that brony study, but it does say that 86% of Bronies are male and 84% of bronies are heterosexual. As such, on a website focusing on pornography of female characters, saying that most users are male should be obvious.
There is a
casual attitude towards rape within the community from many people, with one user who contacted
me finding blogs such as 'Princess Molestia' (which has now been taken down) to be offensive,
while other blogs go to much more sordid depths.
It's a dark humor blog, I'm sure that most of the people who go to Princess Molestia (RIP) don't instantly pull down their pants and start jacking off to the cartoons, most of which usually portray Molestia as a devious and unlikeable character.
There is little that represents sexual domination to a
greater extent than a male raping a female, and the “Friendship is Magic” fandom has been
observed by many people who contacted me (both male and female) as having an enormous amount
of pornographic content linked to rape, or, at the very least, the graphic depiction of sexual
This is another thing that needs facts, where are the facts to back this up. What evidence supports the idea that 'an enormous amount of pornographic content is linked to rape'. I'm not debating this, I'm honestly just curious where this fact comes from.
Now, the next few paragraphs go on to talk about rape and convention safety. Since I have never attended a MLP convention (And I never plan to), I cannot accurately chime in on this matter.
Despite the male side of the “Friendship is Magic” fandom often having an interest in
lesbians insofar as most 'shippings' (the often implausible romantic pairing of characters in a work
of fiction) are between female characters, I have received messages from several concerned lesbians
who have been anything but revered within the fandom.
Now it's time to break out the most quote of the night
"Do you have a single fact to back that up"-JC Denton, Deus Ex
No, really. I hate to sound like a broken record but claims this heavy NEED facts to back them up. You can't just go around claiming thisngs willy-nilly.
Another told me that they have been approached by
overly zealous male bronies who attempted to draw them away from homosexuality.
There are homophobic people? Oh gee wizz who coulda thunk it? Also, homophobia is far from limited to the MLP fandom, this seems like an irrelevant point. Yes, there are assholes on earth, this shouldn't be surprising.
The rest of this section goes on to talk about how females are sexualized by the MLP fandom, but I've already pointed out the problems with this claim about four times already, so time to move on to the next section, superiority.
“Kill it with fire!!!!!!” - Brony, male, 19
Oh no, looks like some people are going to be mean on the internet in this chapter. Prepare yourselves.
The opening paragraph touches on the idea that bronies paint the new MLP series as superior to the first 3 generations, before somehow finding a way to tie it in to feminism.
This is not in any way to suggest that females do not enjoy Generation 4, of course, but
it does suggest that males who have latched on to Generation 4 can use females as a scapegoat for
why the older generations are as they are.
I really don't think that the 'girly' remarks were ever aimed at females. In fact, it was always aimed at the marketing plan. See, this is one of the weirdest things about bronies. They latch on to the fact that the earlier generations of MLP were aimed at little girls, but the simple fact is that the show's marketing hasn't changed. While MLP can tell great stories, it's not there to tell you a story. It's there to sell toys to little girls. That girly remark has never held any water, not then and not now either. So yeah, I'm actually agreeing with one of the author's points. Crazy, I know.
logic appears to be that because females watched these older My Little Pony generations and
bought the toys they were 'supporting Hasbro in making a bad show' and should therefore feel
guilty about the quality of the old generations, which these people believe to be unforgivable.
I'm still finding this extremely hard to believe. After 2 years with this fandom, constantly browsing comments, I have yet to see ONE example of this. This includes: DeviantART, Derpybooru, Equestria Daily, /mlp/, YouTube, and FiMFiction. Sure, there may be people who believe this, but they're most definitely the minority.
And they don't even appear to be of the vocal type either.
There have been people who have claimed that
“Friendship is Magic” is 'nothing like' the older generations. While following this train of thought,
these people are alienating the fans of these older generations.
How is this sexism. No, really? How is this sexist. They're not alienating fans because of their gender, it's because they don't like the show.
It is the males, almost exclusively, who use the 'too girly' phrase as an insult to demean
something that a lot of females feel passionately about.
Because the older generations were even more overtly marketed at girls than the newer ones. Less Le Totes Ebic Maymays, less pandering, and a lot less references to pop culture. Boo fucking hoo, it sucks that somebody is mocking something somebody feels passionate about. Isn't that how the internet works in general?
Apart from the fact that undermining previous generations of the franchise is largely pointless, it
also seems unusual to make outrageous claims, as one observed person has, that '[the older
generations] should never have been made'.
Screenshot, please. Or other people supporting it. Or when I look on google I should actually get results involving statements of that kind.
Many of the people
complaining about the earlier generations appear to be quick to sing Lauren Faust's praises, which
strikes me as odd: playing with earlier generations of My Little Pony inspired her to make
“Friendship is Magic” in the first place.
As said earlier, bronies are idiots when it comes to this sort of thing. Once again another valid point.
Similarly, the earlier generations raise an interesting point about how influential some male fans of
“Friendship is Magic” think they are.
Dead on again, but now I really am finding myself what this has to do with sexism.
This hatred of earlier generations of My Little Pony is alarming. One female who loved My Little
Pony from Generation 1 was told by an enraged male that they would 'undo the shit' that her
generation caused, as if people who liked My Little Pony prior to “Friendship is Magic”
systematically chose to like something in order to spite a fandom that had not yet come into
All of these points are making sense, but they have NOTHING to do with sexism. Just assholes being assholes, regardless of gender.
The false assumption is made that females who
enjoyed the older forms of the brand cannot enjoy them as much as males can enjoy the newer
version, because, at least in their mind, the older versions had no redeemable features.
W-What? Where did this concept come from? Do you really think people who alienate older fans do it because "NO GIRLZ ALOWED". While some may do that, like everything else involving sexism so far I find this extremely hard to believe.
Attacking earlier generations on any pretence of being 'bad' as a direct result of being 'girly' is
This is, once again, extremely hard to believe. Sure, some male bronies may hate it because girls liked it, but the majority is because it didn't appeal to their gender. Is a girl not liking, say, GI Joe inherently sexist because all the marketing was aimed at boys? Sure, the gender barriers are broken with a lot of this nowdays, but you will always have a negative or indifferent view on things that don't appeal to your interests.
While there are some fans of the
older generations who dislike “Friendship is Magic”, most of the females I have spoken to who
liked My Little Pony growing up very much enjoy Generation 4. However, they feel alienated from
the fandom surrounding it because, as a general rule, the fandom is hostile towards the previous
generations and antagonistic towards their fans.
Still has nothing to do with sexism in any way shape or form.
Assuredly, this level of
resentment towards the previous generations of My Little Pony pushes fans who have grown up
with all iterations of the popular franchise away, making the “Friendship is Magic” community
seem more like an insular, misogynistic cult than ever before.
No. Cult-like? Yes. Insular? Yes. Misogynistic? Hardly.
The next paragraphs starts talking about how male bronies are antagonistic to the toys, and links that in with sexism yet again.
Another claimed that the Shining
Armor and Princess Cadance Royal Wedding Castle Playset had 'too much pink on it'.
Maybe that's because Canterlot Castle is white, not pink.
Similarly, the individual complaining about the audio phrases of
the Cadance doll being 'too girly' should step back and take a look at who these toys are being
The infuriating this is that whenever the author makes a good point, it also has nothing to do with misogyny and more ego.
You would scarcely
hear people complaining that Transformers or G.I Joe figures are too masculine.
That's because there wasn't a large and vocal GI Joe or Transformers fanbase mostly comprised of females with the internet in the 80s. Also, there are plenty of women who get upset because video games marketed towards men are "Too much of a male power fantasy" (See: Dragons Crown, Halo, Games involving any sort of damsel in distress)
Again, we see this
trajectory of 'male = better' within the “Friendship is Magic” fandom, with a dense layer of
ingrained misogyny underpinning it.
No, we see the trajectory of 'male = better because it appeals to me'. Not 'male = better because da gurlz can't touch it now'.
It is as if the males are 'liberating' the females, because My Little Pony was 'bad' and 'suffering' in
its old state, but because the show is moving in a new, universal direction, so too must the toy range
appeal to adult males.
Back to Hyperbole central again? Oh ok, that's fine. I'll just come back in when assumptions are replaced by facts.
My Little Pony is arguably more accessible now than ever
before to both males and females, but it is important to understand that this does not render the
older products and TV shows, which were, perhaps, more consciously aimed at females, as being
It's without worth for the people it doesn't appeal to, this is extremely simple.
A common criticism of the brony documentary, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of
My Little Pony, was that it failed to represent females.
Did the author seriously just make a point that was not only valid...
But also ties in to sexism?
I really hope this lasts for awh-
The absence of females in the documentary has come under scrutiny already, and seems to be
emblematic of the way in which males dominate the focus of the fandom, while females are
resigned to mere footnotes and comments of 'Oh, and then there are some adult girls who like it
Listen, the brony documentary was made to point out that male bronies aren't as crazy as you would expect (Though it ended up doing the opposite). See, in the media, a girl liking a show aimed for girls is portrayed as normal, while the reverse is portrayed as insanity. This documentary was made to debunk that myth, not show off how wonderful and diverse of a fandom it is.
The essay goes on, making points that all can be responded with the same point I just made, until we get to this interesting tidbit.
Keeping with the theme
of conventions, one female fan explained to me in detail that they have been instrumental in the
creation of two conventions within the fandom. They explained:
“I have been involved in the planning of two pony conventions, only to see
female planners relegated to 'girl jobs' like running art and cosplay booths, while the
convention chairs, marketing people, people dealing with finances etc. all are guys. All
of this, even when I was the one who brainstormed the initial convention idea in the
“Check the con lists of any pony convention and ask yourself where the girls are. I
have over 15 years con experience, whereas the people I was passed over for had
[considerably less experience].”
You know what? That actually is sexist and unfair. A girl can market and set up a convention just as well as a guy can. Once again, I hope this trend continues.
And to my pleasant surprise, it actually does, at least for a while. However, it still has the problem it had since the very beginning of this essay. Focusing on a vocal minority, no matter how vocal they may be. For example, this section.
Four people contacted me
and said that when talking about upcoming fan-made games with males they have been undermined
as being unable to play with them because they would 'clearly suck at them' due to being female.
Once again, this is a very vocal minority. Only FOUR people contacted the author with this complaint? Compared to how common I see that insult in other communities, this seems to be supporting going to the Brony fandom.
Thankfully, the rest of this section reverts to the earlier trend of actual examples of actual sexism. Sadly, this only goes on for a few paragraphs before the conclusion. And oh boy what a conclusion it is. Prepare yourselves.
At the risk of making broad cultural and historical sweeps, it is reasonably fair to argue that females
have always been seen as second-class citizens.
In the 60s? Yeah. In 2013? Fat chance. I don't think I need to explain this to anyone.
He then goes on to talk about a user who left a comment 'Of course women are marginalized, but why write about it?'
'Of course women are marginalized'. Let that sink in for a moment. The person who wrote this
comment has at least a latent acceptance that equality doesn't exist between males and females,
either within this community or at a greater cultural and social level. He has stated that he knows
this to be the case, and yet he is skeptical, almost critical, of anyone actually attempting to do
anything about it.
Because that guy? He's an idiot. In the MLP fandom, it's true some women are marginalized. It's also true that they hold the voice actors on a silver godamn pedestal and would eat up anything Lauren Faust put out, regardless of quality. Women are mistreated on the internet everywhere, and guess who else is? Every. Single. Person. If you post on the internet, there will be people who attack you do to race (/pol/, White Privilege, YouTube comments) gender (50% of the internet, Femenist/Cis Scum blogs), and Sexual Orientation (90% of the internet, Die Cis Scum). Nobody will make it out of the internet unscathed.
If anyone wishes to refute any of what I have written here then you are welcome to write a rebuttal,
although I'll remind you that everything stated here has been factually observed as being the case
and is based on real life testimonies.
All of these 'facts' are more akin to opinions. The last segment had some facts, the other 3 were mostly opinions and generalizations.
The essay finishes it all off by wrapping up the opinions facts by urging Bronies to do some soul searching to make the fandom a better place.
What do I think of this overall? Well, I could make a strongly worded response, or I could just get to the point.