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My Little Pony Friendship is MAGIC by DramaticalKITTEN

MLP FiM by shadowangelx6


Submitted on
November 30, 2012
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2,428 (1 today)
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#100) What prompted you to start your Brony Advice column? Also, you seem to get a wide range of questions concerning everything from personal relationship and social group issues, to commentaries on art and music, all surrounding the MLP fandom; do you ever find yourself surprised or caught off guard by the questions you receive, and do you ever have difficulty answering them?

Answer: I started this column with a simple dream: a dream of understanding brony thought-processes. I like to do my best to observe the fandom and draw from it what I can. A good way of doing this is via samples and case studies. Some excellent case studies are in the form of these questions; as the questions are being asked by bronies, generally, they are representative of what certain parts of the fandom are thinking. Even the most ridiculous questions are worth documenting: in twenty years time I can look back on this column and see exactly the kind of things that bronies were thinking at the time.

It is, in that sense, something of a psychological study, although I'm just generally quite interested in how the brony fandom exists in its current form. Every defensive reaction to a criticism; every elated response to a positive write-up in the media; every division within the fandom over polarising issues all of it is integral to our understanding of how this fandom functions. I'm fascinated by how people behave, and by how bronies respond to other bronies: whether it's in the form of casual sex-based roleplays with strangers on pony-based social media sites, to raiding toy shops together looking for their favourite ponies, it all paints an image that goes beyond a simple overview and gets to the root of what makes bronies tick. I learn more about the bronies with each passing question, and in turn my observations and informed comments on the fandom become increasingly more credible with every question I answer.

I can criticise certain aspects of the fandom, because the issues I raise about the fandom and the opinions I've constructed are always based on the questions I receive questions inspired by genuine issues people are having. Whereas a lot of 'haters' will just arbitrarily criticise the fandom in a fairly ignorant way, through Brony Advice I gain the direct feedback from bronies that makes it possible to work out where praise should be given, and where criticism should be directed.

While I can't say I'm surprised by the questions I receive, the amount of questions about pony-based pornography always gives me reason to despair. I get a lot of questions about "Friendship is Magic" porn, and, at the time of writing, I have several more backed up to be answered at a later date. The greatest difficulty I have when answering those sorts of questions is that I inevitably have to pass judgement in a way that I would usually avoid. However, the prevalence of the porn-based questions really suggests to me that a lot of people in this fandom are into it (as does a lot of other information I've gathered), which I find to be quite concerning. That said, I never really struggle to answer any questions, and some of the more personal cases that I receive are quite moving.

From all of this, I've identified a few common traits in the brony fandom. Firstly, quite a few bronies are relatively insecure about their involvement in the fandom. This usually stems from discontented fans; some people are embarrassed out of the fandom, or to the side-lines, by other, more excessive fans. I receive a fair amount of questions from people who don't believe that they have a stable place in the fandom. Quite a few threaten to leave at regular intervals (very few of them actually going through with it) because of their dissent towards the fandom at large.

Secondly, a lot of bronies tend to be unsure about how the fandom should be construed: should it be focused on supporting a good TV show, or should it be something more? For every person who thinks the fandom is essentially part of a 'good show with benefits' transaction, there are people who believe that the show is secondary to the brony 'ideology'. Even then, there's disagreement towards what that ideology should be are bronies just regular people prone to liking unorthodox things, or are they supposed to be crusading for a new world order with a hatchet made of love and a holy book made of tolerance?

Thirdly, bronies seem to be unsure of their future: a lot are insecure about if and how the fandom will sustain itself, growing incredibly nervous whenever a season ends, perpetually fearing for the inevitable cancellation of the show. Some are content to let the show run its natural course; others are unwaveringly pious in their loyalty to the show, and it remains to be seen how they will respond when the show eventually does come to an end.

Fourthly, from what I've seen by answering questions , the two greatest issues within the fandom appear to be issues of gender and issues of adult content. The gender issue seems to be a genuine concern for many; a lot of female fans that I've come into contact with feel separated from the brony tag, especially as the media continuously refers to bronies as 'X to X year old males'. Many have even been rejected by male bronies, while others find the male side of the brony phenomenon passively creepy. On the adult content issue, I get more questions about porn (comparatively not many at all about gore) than any other topic, with people demonstrating a range of emotions: disgust towards it; guilt for being into it; passion and pride towards making it; and relative indifference. It's definitely an issue that I have a great interest in, mainly because it splits the fandom down the middle, and because it's easy to take a stance on either side.

And so, in answer to your first question: I started the column as a way of better understanding bronies. In any form of debate, it's integral that you understand the topic of debate and have information to back up your points. Reasoning and rhetoric go a long way, but citations and sources are what keep things credible. Outside of other things, I quite often enter discussions with engaging and intelligent individuals about the brony fandom, who often ask for my opinion on various issues. Rather than working on speculation, Brony Advice as well as other research conducted allows me to demonstrate particular points and issues from the perspective of people who live and breathe this fandom. Brony Advice in particular allows me to survey testimonials from individuals, many of whom are concerned by this radical fandom in one way or another.

As the 100th question answered, several things are clear to me in relation to the future of this column: the sizable back-log of questions that I have received suggests that Brony Advice is popular, and thus I am providing a service with this series. For as long as both bronies and those not within the fandom continue to ask me questions, the column will remain active - it will continue for as long as people remain in a position where they can question this fandom. Clearly, some people seem to think that what I have to say is worth reading, and I enjoy providing some sort of voice within the fandom to illustrate particular thoughts and feelings that the fandom at large might be experiencing. It's always best to listen to all sides of the argument, and I'm always happy to engage with any opinion towards "Friendship is Magic".

"In Cudpug We Trust"
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Special 100th Question Edition - do the monkey with me!

Brony Advice is both an active collaboration with artists and an advice column, in the simplest of terms: I want you to send me notes if you have any problems, secrets or comments on the pony fandom of any nature. It doesn't matter how embarrassing, offensive or vicious they might be - if you want someone to comment on them in an unbiased way, send them over. Maybe there's something within the fandom that you particularly despise, or perhaps you're feeling sad and need to hear some friendly advice? Whatever the motive, send me a note with your comment or question.

I'll then respond with advice and commentary and post the answers up in future installments. Users will remain anonymous, so you don't need to worry about your feelings and thoughts getting out onto DeviantArt. You may find that some of the things that you've personally been feeling will be addressed.

Feel free to note me if you would like your questions and observations to be answered in an upcoming edition. Every edition will be engaging with three issues. The above three featured today were submitted by anonymous deviants.

Artwork by the ultra-talented *Catnipfairy. Go check out her stuff!

Other Work By the Artist:

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Toodleticklespony Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is ther an issue for recovering from the fanfic cupcakes?
MillenniumFalsehood Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
It's great to see such a milestone reached. :D

I've been commenting on these since they started, and I've always been a bit nervous because, out of a desire for completeness in my comments, I have a tendency to be wordy, and because I get the feeling that a lot of other columnists would tell me to stop posting such long comments, either because they think it clutters up their comment section or else because it appears that I'm trying to do their job (maybe I'm just talking to too many American columnists :roll: ).

I'm grateful you don't mind my rather long-winded posts and that I'm posting my own take on the issues being addressed. I get pleasure from helping people, and I've always found that having two or more people putting their own unique but similar spin on an issue gives that spin more credence. So thanks for putting up with my walls of text and for not seeing my posts as some misguided attempt at doing your job here in this column. :)

Something I love about this column is that I often point to it as a way of showing that there are fans of the show who are not rabid by any means and who are capable of seeing the weaknesses of the fandom as well as the strengths. You're not hesitant to point out when something is dreadfully wrong with what a person is doing, just as you're not above praising the good parts of the fandom. This equal treatment keeps me coming back and is a wonderful break from opinionated journalists who see a column as a 2-dimensional soap box upon which they can voice whatever opinion they happen to hold. Your advice column on the other hand is objective and honest, and that's something anyone can appreciate.

I look forward to another hundred questions being answered. :D
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
I'm supportive of long comments - getting people talking is one of the primary reasons for this column. I remember in one of the issues I was scrolling through the comment section and found that a bunch of people had started up a debate with each other - I would love to see that happening more often. You've been here from the very beginning and I appreciate your involvement.

You offer sage advice, and so you're welcome to continue lending your opinion to matters discussed. I'm just one voice; people are free to disagree with me to their heart's content, and, in a similar fashion they may find themselves agreeing with you over me if you raise different points. That's the beauty of having an opinion. Thank you for crediting my journalistic skills, and that I've become something of a rational reference point is encouraging - I'm glad you can direct people here for that very purpose.

Take care, friend.
TheWrongestTrousers Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Student Digital Artist
It's amazing what you can do, man. You articulate into words, flawlessly, what I always want to say, or am thinking, but am uncertain as to how to approach without getting a humongous backlash. Keep on answering these weird, tricky questions with some fantastic reason, as always!
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Thanks for that, friend. Glad to be of service.
BB-K Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I knew this Kiriban question will appear. Anyway...

Wow, when mentioning the porn part, there is nothing we can do as Rule 34 exists. Newton's 3rd law of every action has a reaction, new toons come out surely have a porn dark side to be made as well. But all in all, to me I find it disturbing to read and also tend to become uncomfortable to answer. Well, it's the modern world after all, what are we going to do about it? Unless we are God then we can erase those problems.

The rest of it are interesting, especially I love those counseling parts, like I remember on that someone's dad is an asshole for thinking his son loves Phineas & Ferb that means MLP is bad too if he caught busted. Or the time someone wants to get a tattoo and you really write a very good story on how it'll happen into the far future.

Anyway, congratulations on the 100th milestone. ;)
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012
Thanks for the enduring support, friend: you have been a fan from the beginning and I'm glad of it.
BB-K Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, it really gives me time to talk things out.
WanderingQueijo Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
That make 100 points of you're awesome :D
Cuddlepug Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2012
Thanks, wanderer.
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