I bring this up because I genuinely wonder what people thought of the Bronies
During my last con visit I got a chance to learn about the brony fandom. I knew basically the focus of the fandom. I thought it was a little odd but I was curious enough to attend a panel called 6 Stages of Bronydom. I came in the middle but what I saw proved rather enlightening and really held up a mirror to fandom in general.
I was really surprised how many people I interacted with were fans. people you wouldn't expect to. Like finding out the folks from Mayberry have a punk following
One of the things that was notable at this panel was the awareness level. The panelists fully acknowledge the extremeness of their fandom. The extremeness of a show that targets little girls who could watch it with their parents yet has an adult fan base of at least 7 million! The extremeness by which how quickly the show’s fandom evolved since My Little Pony was revamped 2 years ago. The extreme ridicule the adult male fans risk by admitting they watch the show. And the extreme passion that comes from such a fan base arising under the above mention circumstances.
I can understand the leeriness some folks have for this group. I think about how the general public felt about trekkies back in the 70s, anime folk back in the 90s and how some folks have come to regard the Browncoats in past years. The bronies are the undisputed air to that mantle. There is an inherent level of shame that comes with the territory
It was interesting that the panelists said people thought the Brony phenomenon would die out soon enough owing to the speed and intensity by which it developed. It hasn’t though. It is going just as strong as ever and the fact that the show’s producers embrace and respond to the fandom certainly has helped keep it going.
Anyway, the panel likened the fact that fans of the show undergo a process not unlike the stages of death when one discovers one has a terminal illness. Ergo: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I came into the panel as they were wrapping up depression and heading into Acceptance.
What was fascinating were the moments people said they came to terms with it and just accepted their love and fascination with the show. 1 guy (who was college age) said he finally accepted it when he had the nerve to tell his father about his love for the show. Naturally he was majorly embarrassed to admit it. But he said after his dad watched a couple of episodes to see what it was about, he told his son he understood why he got into it. It made it a lot easier on him
Another person there had said that while he likes the show, the reason he embraces being a brony has less to do with the show itself and more with the impact the show has had on fans. He found it amazing that this show with its message about life lessons and friendship manages to inspire people so passionately and affect them in deep ways that comes out via fandom.
It’s an interesting effect. I’ve glanced at the show and am rather indifferent about it but I can’t deny that at the core of any geek fandom is this inspirational impact. I know another costumer who has a grown son who is a Brony and my friend admits enjoying the show himself for what it is. In that respect, it’s no different than getting into trek, Star wars or Superheroes. It is just an unexpected source
Sadly there was a 6th stage that they referred to as “Falling”. It was basically the moment some fans have suffered when the stress and ridicule from being a fan of the show becomes too much for them and they cut themselves off for the sake of peace. An extreme example was given when 1 of the panelists mention her college friend was constantly ridiculed for liking the show by his buddies-even after he learned not to bring it up in their presence. The breaking point came when his “friends” bought a collectible figure from the show, burnt and disfigured it and then left it for him in his mailbox. Yes you can tell these buddies of his are not into the show or its messageA lot of what went on in this panel gave me plenty of food for thought