The “Collect Her” episode of The Powerpuff Girls essentially predicted Brony culture which is funny because My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was created by Lauren Faust who was an artist/writer/director for The Powerpuff Girls
Note that the fan was the villain of the episode but that Faust has gone out of her way to defend bronies even by the time they drew highly misogynist porn of her self-insert OC.
There’s a lesson in there. Somewhere. That may or may not have to do with Faust.
Like the villain of the episode, who trapped and kidnapped the girls to keep them all to himself, Bronies have to a large degree stolen the current generation of MLP from its original target audience by spamming the internet with child-unsafe mlp fan content, swamping appearances by creators and cast members with sketchy adults such that parents feel unsafe with their children there, and noisily attracting so much attention to themselves that it has distorted the nature of the show itself and especially its marketing. ie, the MLP comic book, that is very much ‘by bronies for bronies’, an adult minded parody of the show’s characters rather than an adaptation that remains true to the style, spirit, or all ages nature of the source material.
And as it has grown in influence, we’ve seen insensate brony screeching change from ‘its not just for little girls’ to ‘its not for little girls at all’. We’ve also seen vicious, ugly, herd-mindset attacks on anyone within the fandom who dares to question the way the brony herd behaves at all, up to and including death and rape threats directed at said critics. Far from being a ‘few bad apples’ situation, we’ve seen brony musicians making death and rape threats within their music go on to be invited to perform at brony conventions specifically because of how well received their hatred and bile proved to be within the community.
Maybe Faust shouldn’t have been so supporting of the Brony community to begin with, and maybe show creators shouldn’t have gone out of their way to include explicit nods to them in the show and the marketing. After all, bronies already liked the show and purchased the merchandise, pandering to them and encouraging them didn’t widen the show’s appeal. Rather it just seems to have driven them to heightened levels of obnoxiousness and entitled possessiveness, and if anything they’ve in turn narrowed the show’s appeal. They’ve certainly badly subverted its message, bringing a heavy dose of misogyny to the fandom of a show that was directed with all love and earnestness at young girls, and in doing so have brought down a cloud of ugliness and cynicism on what was so refreshing and engaging to begin with specifically for its openness and sincerity.
Huh? Wait what, really???
Somebody retort this because I’m too sleepy to compose a coherent and comprehensive rebuttal.
But seriously, tumblr. Seriously.
I’ve already posted about “Collect Her” but to reiterate somewhat—
Faust is on record as saying that PPG had adult male fans thought not to the extent of MLP, so more likely that the episode drew its inspiration from that (i.e. the ep predicted bronies because bronies are not the first instance of adult men liking cartoons about/aimed at young girls, though really PPG is stylistically less of a show for little girls MLP). Also tbh, the entire city of Townsville are Powerpuff Girls fans, so uh, the villain’s status as an obsessed fan was never really about shaming him for being a collector, but for letting being a collector run his life. (And, in so doing, forgetting/destroying what was good about the thing he was a fan of—for that matter it’s sort of a critique of commodification of people and the desire to own them, celebrity culture and such)
I don’t find the comparison between what he does in the ep and the brony community “stealing” MLP from little girls especially apt, but we won’t waste time arguing the choice of segue.
I will say this: whatever you think of bronies, to imply that the problems of the fandom are in any way Faust’s fault because she’s a mature, diplomatic individual who doesn’t get personally upset by people drawing porn of her creations is highly insulting (also, define highly misogynistic porn? And why would Faust know the content of the porn of her OC? She clearly said she was fine with it existing but had no interest in actually seeing it). Furthermore, one of the things Ponies does very well is to blow up stereotypes of content for girls as being shallow, stupid, and to do so while not falling into the trap of denigrating “girly” things to set itself apart (i.e. being “ironic” about its girlyness/sentimentality). By defending bronies, Faust was working in favor of this particular goal, by saying that boys and men shouldn’t be judged for liking girly things—which implies a devaluing of content for girls and therefore girls in general.
Faust has been a class act through the whole thing. Don’t make her part of your problems with the brony community.
Now, on your issues with bronies—
I can’t refute or defend your specific claims of bronies “taking over” the perception of the show. That’s a whole range of issues any number of which may be true to varying degrees, and which aren’t necessarily proven true or false by any one example. The fact is, there a ludicrous amount of pony fan content and a lot of it is wildly inappropriate for children (though to my knowledge, it is generally tagged on any of the larger sites, and if kids are browsing the internet without any sort of mature filters on I’m almost sure they’ve already seen worse), but a lot of it IS, too. And I’m pretty sure if you just google My Little Pony, Hasbro has the clout to make sure they get top billing.
And yes, obviously a certain amount of misogyny and shittyness exists in the community, but I hardly think it’s the result of the show “catering” to bronies. It hasn’t changed itself in any meaningful way to appeal to them, merely included, as you say, “nods.” I think what people forget with comments like this is that the term brony originated on /b/. That kinda shitty, kinda misogynist, “do it for the lulz” stamp has been on the community from the beginning, but different subgroups of the fandom have pretty radically different cultures, and trying to find any real running thread through the community on the basis that “they all like this one show” is kind of crazy, don’t you think? You know what I can tell you about the Homestuck fandom? They like Homestuck, they spend a lot of time eagerly anticipating updates to Homestuck, and many of them are willing to wear full-body makeup for long periods of time.
Also, I don’t know anyone in the fandom who says “it’s not meant for little girls at all” who is taken seriously, but again, nobody can really speak for an entire fandom.
Now, as for the comics, they are clearly not a straight adaptation of the show tonally, but to say they’re not all-ages is crazy. Yeah they skew towards adventure stories and the character arcs and development are not as obviously kid-oriented (or, uh… good) as the morals of the show, but they’re clearly an all-ages property (and doing a lot to boost the perception of all-ages comics by dint of their success, btw, as evidenced by the addition of a PPG and Samurai Jack comic to the IDW lineup). Like, do you even know what goes on in mainstream comics? The MLP comic’s sense of humor and drama isn’t quite the same as the show’s but (references notwithstanding) I’d say it’s very much accessible to children—and making comics that children CAN read is borderline revolutionary in the present comics market. Also, I really don’t get where you see the characters as self-parodying. They’re not always as well written in the comics, but they’re not always as well written in the show either. The micro series in particular has had a number of issues that were very much on keel with the show’s quality.
So yeah. Not saying you’re wrong about bronies in general but I think your conclusion that it’s anyone’s fault but the people who are being dicks is pretty crappy.
I mean, you’re basically faulting Hasbro and Faust for profiting from and/or not shitting all over people who like a thing they made, because some of those people have gone on to be jerkwads. And maybe they would have been discouraged from being jerkwads if other people weren’t nice to them, didn’t acknowledge their existence or say “we’re glad you’re here?” As if Faust saying “bronies creep me out” woudln’t have resulted in those same people just directing their immature hate boners towards Faust.