#110) What would you say are the biggest misconceptions society at large has about the MLP fan community? Also, what would you say are the worst assumptions society has made about MLP fans that, unfortunately, are generally true?
Answer: I'm not sure how aware of the MLP fandom society at large is, and so I'd first point out that the majority of people do not, and will not ever, have any knowledge of the bronies. Those who do know of them, though, seem to have different perceptions, most of which appear to be negative. Having spoken to a few members of the public about "Friendship is Magic", a common misconception seems to be that the people who make up the brony fandom are either paedophiles or homosexuals (sadly, being gay is still treated as a bad thing by many).
Liking something designed for kids obviously raises assumptions, but it's doubtful that many bronies are paedophiles, and neither would I argue that bronies are more likely to be paedophiles simply because of their interest in "Friendship is Magic". There are myriad reasons why fans like the show, just as there are countless variables that lead someone to become a paedophile, and I think it would be difficult to make a credible case arguing that liking a cartoon makes you a paedophile. Similarly, while there are homosexuals in the fandom, people don't become gay because of "Friendship is Magic". These people would be gay regardless, even if "Friendship is Magic" may have, in some minor way, helped them come to terms with their sexuality. Liking MLP doesn't, though, make you gay in any way, shape or form.
Another misconception would be that bronies are autistic, which is one that I see thrown around a lot. There are, of course, autistic people in the fandom. I've come into contact with quite a large amount of bronies with Asperger's Syndrome as well, which doesn't do the stereotype any favours in a world that still treats people with unfortunate handicaps as inferior. However, I wouldn't argue that having either of the above would make you any more likely to enjoy the show, nor that people who like the show must inherently have some form of latent autism.
That said, some things that are somewhat true about bronies include the argument that many of them are social recluses. From what I've seen on websites such as Ponysquare, there are a lot of bronies out there who struggle to make friends and have incredibly low self-esteem. This is hardly a new case for fandoms; a lot of the time people gravitate towards fandoms because they are lonely and wish to meet like-minded people, and so it makes sense that bronies would be in that boat as well.
Another attack made against bronies is the way in which they sensationalise and over-exaggerate things, and this is also true. On Equestria Daily especially, whenever something negative happens in the fandom there are plenty of bronies who hyperventilate and enter a state of complete panic. The idea that bronies take the fandom and the show too seriously is a legitimate complaint, as quite a few of them do. However, again, this is one of those complaints that can be directed to most fandoms; it just becomes more extreme in the brony fandom because there's the show and the toy range behind it.
The biggest complaint I see (having spoken to some concerned parents about the bronies), though, is one that is unfortunately quite prominent in the fandom, and that is the porn side of things. A lot of people external to the fandom seem to think it's weird that a lot of older fans are into a cartoon designed primarily for young girls. They assume that with older fans being into it, there has to be some sort of mature, sexually motivated side to it; that bronies are incapable of appreciating the show for what it is, and have to toy with it in a perverted fashion. Sadly, there is a heck of a lot of porn in the fandom - all fandoms suffer from the same issue, although with bronies it's arguably worse than some other fandoms due to the tie-in with the children's toy product/show.
The thing about stereotypes is that a lot of the time they are based on truth, even if the truth is exaggerated. In the case of bronies, you will find examples of what society thinks of the bronies, and they will reinforce those opinions. A lot of what people think of the brony fandom is exaggerated, but you'll find that some complaints, such as the tendency of the fandom to take things too seriously and the fandom's interest and overall leniency towards pornography, can all be confirmed without much argument. The brony fandom is one of the few fandoms who have actually 'named' their porn community (cloppers), which is a disturbing reminder of how prominent that sort of content is.
#111) The most recent episodes of "Friendship is Magic" have drawn a great deal from the fandom at large, from Trixie's return to Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash's developing sisterly relationship. While this is awesome, I can't help but wonder, could the writers end up borrowing too much from the fandom, eschewing their own ideas for what brony writers and artists have created on their own?
Answer: I would potentially argue that the examples you listed have nothing to do with the fandom whatsoever. Scootaloo looked up to Rainbow Dash in Season 1 episodes such as 'The Cutie Mark Chronicles', as well as during the meteor shower in 'Owl's Well that Ends Well'. As a result, it was only a matter of time before they would have an episode that further explored that relationship. Similarly, the writers of the show confirmed that the return of Trixie was scheduled for Season 2, but was then delayed until the third season. The fandom has a tendency to think that they're responsible for certain directions that the show takes, and I don't think that in many examples that is the case. Wanting to see something and then seeing it happen doesn't make you in control, and neither does it mean that the writers are appealing to the fandom. A lot of the time the things the fandom want to see are quite obvious and inferred by existing episodes; it's hardly surprising when these things end up happening.
I don't see the writers ever looking to the bronies for help. That would be assuming that the writers can't think of good ideas by themselves, which is unlikely, seeing as they've been hand-picked purely for that purpose. I think it would be quite awful if the writers did start incorporating vast chunks of fan-inspired lore in the show, although, as I say, it is highly unlikely that such a thing would ever happen. Bronies would bastardise the product – "Friendship is Magic" is good enough without some outsiders coming along and toying with it. Even if bronies thought they were doing a good deed, different fans would have different ideas, and it would be impossible to find one brony idea that represented the entire fandom. It's best, of course, to just leave bronies out of it.
Certain nods to the fandom probably exist – it's doubtful that Pinkie Pie would have pulled the previous generation face in 'Too Many Pinkie Pies' if the artists weren't aware that older viewers were watching the show, and stuff such as the inclusion of Derpy Hooves are clearly there because of the bronies. But other than the occasional inclusion of a turn of phrase or a slight visual gag, the show isn't making any direct concessions to bronies, and neither should it ever attempt to do so. The writers could theoretically take too much from the fandom (I'd argue that taking any episode suggestions from the fandom would be pretty embarrassing), but, thankfully, the chance of them doing so is highly unlikely.
#112) [Question answered by pap64] What is the deal with "My Little Dashie"? I've been avoiding in fear of it turning into another "Cupcakes" ordeal, yet fans seem to talk about it everyone once in a while, and even created pieces of art based on it, and it just makes me curious as to why Bronies praise the story so much.
Answer: Let's get one thing out of the way first: "My Little Dashie" is no "Cupcakes". There is no gore, no torture nor a very twisted representation of the "Friendship is Magic" universe. It is just a story about a Brony and his rainbow pony. However, the story does have a "Cupcakes"-esque effect in that it manipulates the emotions of the reader by describing detailed scenes that spark an immediate reaction in the reader. Now, ALL forms of fiction are going to be manipulative in that regard because they want you to invest emotionally in an universe that doesn't exist in the real world, yet in some cases behaves quite like our own. But in both FiM stories, the writers wanted to create an extreme reaction in the fans. "Cupcakes" did it with lots of violence and gore. "Dashie" does it with melodrama.
One of the reasons why "Dashie" gets so much praise from Bronies is because it is both a wish fulfillment story and an elaborate realization that the FiM universe is not an easily obtainable thing in our world. The way the author describes the character's uneventful life until this rainbow pony shows up and changes his life "for the better" describe the kind of life most Bronies wish they could lead. The relationship between Dashie and the main character is also indicative of the kind of relationship they wish would exist but deep down know it doesn't and never will, hence why the intentionally sad ending. It speaks to Bronies and JUST Bronies, the kind that have long since disconnected from reality and put themselves in a pedestal in hopes of finding recognition among their peers.
I realize that I what am saying is indeed quite harsh and a very broad generalization of the fanbase, but it doesn't take a creative writing master to see that the story is merely grand escapism served with tons of melodrama and a "real world" aspect to make it "heavier" and leave a deep impact on its reader in the most unnatural way possible. It's no different from those romance novels with the fantasy settings and the super model men on the cover some ladies love so much.
Now, I am not saying that you can't enjoy escapist media every once in a while. The real world CAN take a toll on our psyche and we do need to escape into other worlds to relax and feel vindicated for a while. We do want to see true love blossom, good defeat evil and be part of a world that is different from ours. The problem rises when people try and make the fantasy world the only world they know, and disconnect themselves from the real world. As I stated, the real world can be a mess, but we live in it and to survive we need to get out, make the most out of ourselves, create significant relationships and learn as much as possible about ourselves.
"Dashie" just further fuels the belief that most Bronies have reached that delusional state in life and need to imagine themselves as being owners of one of the ponies to make sense of it all. That is a dangerous mentality to follow. I know that people like it for what it is and some people love to shed a tear too (if the success of movies like "Titanic" are any indication). But on the whole, "My Little Dashie" is just wish fulfillment thinly disguised as a dramatic story with weight so that Bronies can praise it as one of the best "creative endeavors" the fanbase can produce, and thus prove to the world how amazing and revolutionary they are and blah blah blah...