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Sexism in the My Little Pony Fandom: An Essay by Cuddlepug Sexism in the My Little Pony Fandom: An Essay by Cuddlepug

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Artist credit: :iconlatecustomer:

'Sexism in the My Little Pony Fandom': An Essay on Inequality' is a study into sexism within the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" fandom and beyond. The information has been gathered together from nearly 100 female participants who have, since 2011, felt alienated and discriminated against in one way or another as part of the 'brony' fandom.

While this essay was originally written back in early 2013, there were reasons for why I didn't upload it at the time. However, given the recent debate around the controversial 'Princess Molestia' blog by johnjoseco and an increase in people this past month asking me to upload it, I've finally decided to do so during this reasonably topical time.

While this essay has flaws and limitations - most of which have been engaged with in the 'Preamble' - and many of the issues discussed within have since gone quiet, I feel as if it is important to release this essay all the same. Even if it doesn't resonate with people now as much as it might have a year or so ago - and, even if I would write it differently if I'd started this today - it is important that we consider some of the issues that people were experiencing in the fandom back then. It is likely that they still permeate the fandom to an extent.

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to this deeply serious issue.

DISCLAIMER: This is a year-old article that I fully realize is outdated and flawed in a variety of ways. I decided to upload it as I had it lying about on my hard drive and I didn't want to waste a good chunk of text that many people contributed to and care passionately about.

If you care about gender equality, fighting sexism and shedding light on issues within the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" fandom, please share this essay with your friends, make journals about it and so on - the larger audience it meets, the more people will hopefully be influenced by it.

Some users have reported difficulties accessing this on their web browser. If you experience this, try a different web browser or download the .pdf.
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:iconsomethingguy912:
Somethingguy912 Featured By Owner Edited Dec 1, 2014  Professional Writer
After reading through every single chapter of inscrutable generalizations, quotes often misleading or need citation, and false equivalances and freelance approaches to calling anything, "sexism", I conclude that You failed on your part to address any kind of sexism going on. Your '100 testimonials', as many have so pointed out, can or could be males pretending to be females, because the best thing about the internet is anonymity, especially when it concerns this supposed 'harrassment' that these 'testimonials' that you TOTALLY didn't just make up to fit your bias have been appended. Not to mention how you seemed to fail to grasp your little test with rp'ing as a female to try to see the potential harassment going on in chat rooms, as you noticed that the person who was chatting with you gave up trying to sex rp with you as you told him no. Just because someone propositions you for something DOES NOT MEAN IT IS HARASSMENT. Nor is it harassment when men or any fan of the 4th generation of My Little Pony make their criticisms towards fans of the older Generations who ALL HAPPEN to be Female because THEY think the show is BAD, not because the fans are FEMALE. And even if your supposed testimonials are true and can be confirmed does not mean that there is some sort of 'epidemic' of sexism going on with My Little Pony. I happen to be more concerned with what all fandoms go through and that is largely of how Fandoms usually take a blind eye to aspects of the fandom which are negative, such as the responses to the Alicorn Sparkle or Derpy being 'removed' from the canon, especially of both Equestria Girls. Not to mention how you went on your spat of how Males supposedly use the Show to empower their 'masculinity' (for a show that has a female-dominant cast of characters that are all actually empowering women because they don't feel the need to stand on a soap box and say that they accurately represent women, they just DO) yet the entire reason that this show got so much media attention was of how these Males had to explain why they liked the show and their masculinities challenged because of the social norms that "men who watch things designed for women is not atypical". I guarantee you that if Call of Duty's next release got a LARGE following of Females, more so than the males, that the media would pay MORE attention to the Females who happen to enjoy it than the males. But of course when Men get the attention they're being empowered, and when it's women they're being oppressed. Double Standards, right? Because supposedly when women have less representation than males within certain areas of the fandom that either they have NO representation or that they don't have AS MUCH representation because they are females?

This entire essay is almost as sickening as that Women's Magazine author who said that the show was racist because Celestia HAPPENED to be White, being the good guy, and that Nightmare Moon HAPPENED to be colored Black, being the bad guy. That supposedly their color has any distinction on their moral ambiguity, except, everywhere else, where the mane 6 is Blue, Orange, Yellow, Pink, White, and Purple, and the townsfolk of ponyville itself has a large variety of diverse colored manes. Or their spat of how Rainbow Dash was represented as a gay tom boy, even though her sexual orientation has never been shown in the show and she only really represents her desires with things with authenticity. It's these things like this and your essay that I wonder where you keep finding these invisible monsters that only you can see but since you 'feel' as if the My Little Pony Fandom is somehow sexist, that it makes it AUTOMATICALLY TRUE. Added with the typical attitudes directed towards your detractors like Fenwolf2003, saying shit like "you are obviously the problem that the essay points out" like as if that somehow invalidates any points he makes. Not to say that only YOU are the one who says it, but with your fans that have also been convinced into the narrative. And, the narrative. Nothing better detracts from having reasoned discussion than confirmation bias and the narrative. If you have one person who says that they've experienced sexism, it confirms that the ENTIRE FANDOM IS SEXIST. Give yourself a pulitzer prize for your analysis of nothing. 

Another note about the Princess Molestia blogs. Those blogs were meant to be satirical in fashion, such as with Cupcakes and Rainbow Factory. But since the Princess Molestia blogs have directly invaded your preconceptions of how 'sexism', 'oppression' and 'harassment' work in your mind, you decide it convenient to be absolutely butt hurt from something as someone making lewd drawings of cartoon characters. AS IF THAT HADN'T BEEN DONE IN THE PAST, of all of the Courage the Cowardly Dog, Dexter's Laboratory or any other children's show that I could pull thousands of lewd, sexually explicit images of your favorite childhood gone adult. But you are probably going to say that we must still concern ourselves with how massively sexist the post was, right? Despite missing the joke entirely, the aspect of it, as such? Even after it getting pulled you still feel like you need to twist the knife just a little deeper towards the people who wanted to express their own appreciation of the show as they see fit, even if it may make a few people a little butthurt such as yourself? If anyone within the fandom is trying to stop people from expressing theirselves, its the social justice warriors and white knights like you who feel the need to express their worrying concerns about this percieved danger that no one else can see because you've dug yourself a whole so deep into your own narrative that you can't see anything else but a small pinprick of light from the top. More importantly seeing the bullshit of a fandom designed on sexism if it were true.

As well as your citations. Apart from conveniently not including your testimonials, you carefully made sure to include the ages of the 'brony' 'males' but not of the 'brony' 'females'. I wonder if it would have anything to do with the fact that since the media gets at these bronies for both their gender and their age that you, finding that to be so OBVIOUSLY misogynistic, felt that age would somehow make any of your anonymous comments more inscrutable towards the community as a whole? or the fact that your 'partial bibliography' actually goes into very little detail about any perceived sexism, and more tackles of how the phenomena came about and small criticisms about the Documentary itself (you also conveniently took out the criticism of how BOTH male and female bronies criticized the lack of females being represented within the Documentary, and how males also complained how the documentary still made the fandom itself taboo to which males still felt challenged to enjoy it), yet you specify that the citations carved the structure of your piece. I guess when you read the lines of "the online fan culture of bronies grew out of 4chan, so they have a computer nerd vestigial tail of Mountain Dew, anime appreciation, chronic virginity, and cyberbullying." and "the bronies' own behavior en masse in the fandom reinforces the same old male-centre/female-margin dynamic, as does much of the media coverage"  Those were the only things that catered to your narrative to feel so compelled as to write this essay that pretty much treads the same issues within 27 pages of obligatory self-justification of your own contempt for the fandom just solely based on one testimonial alone.

So will you and all of your 'like-minded' fans come at me with the same rhetoric of 'I am part of the problem' and that 'we should still do something about it even if one person 'feels' oppressed' just like you did with Fenwolf2003? Or would I have somehow managed through sheer dumb luck alone to possibly consider the arguments you are making? Because I for one don't support sexism in any form at all, but when you have enough people cry wolf when there are no wolves to cry about, who will be there to listen when the wolves actually come howling?


'
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:iconbrightglow:
BrightGlow Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2014
Well I'm in the MLP fandom since the 1st Jan 2008 and I can say there were adult male fans just like me (I was 19 back than) back in 2008 too soo nothing special. The only thing that surprised me was the big bang in the fandom and how many male fan arrived into the fandom and how openly they showed it.
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:iconpink-mist10:
Pink-Mist10 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014
Wow this is a pretty in depth essay and while I was aware that alot of this was happening, there were some things that I wasn't aware of. It's good for us bronies to open our eyes and observe what's REALLY going on around the fandom. I myself haven't gone to any conventions yet but when I do I'll definitely be precautious since from what I read here for some females, it's not as happy go lucky as it might seem. Even if this doesn't represent the fandom as a whole, it's good to explore those parts of it that are concerning so the people who haven't been exposed to it don't see the fandom as perfect. Thanks alot for making this, and cheers to you :D
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:iconartsysketches:
artsysketches Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Student General Artist
Usually, "BROny" isn't really a thing to refer to when talking about a female fan, and yes, female fans need more attention in the fanbase itself too...

But society has taught males that liking traditionally female things is bad, and those males who like it are heavily frowned upon, and because of the bad people in the fanbase who make bronies look bad, that stereotype still stands.

In the fanbase itself, yes we do need more female representation, but the societal standards for males still remain and need to be abolished as well as the horrible gatekeeping that the bad parts of the brony fandom do to the female fans.
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:iconkfcnyancat:
Kfcnyancat Featured By Owner Edited Nov 4, 2014
All of these issues I've seen in other fandoms (in the case of female-dominated fandoms, it happens to men!) Really, the only reason to focus in on bronies is because they are the "in" fandom right now.

The only two that are brony-specific are the Pegasister issue (the only reason the word ever existed is because you don't call your female sibling your brother) and the issue with hating on previous gens because they are girly (this is bad, but it's something feminism implanted in our brains: girly = weak, weak = bad.)
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:iconhealer-and-protecter:
Healer-and-protecter Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Cuddle Pug has got me thinking about the serious issues that I've not seen, for the most part, on the internet. I don't visit too many social media websites and other social areas of the internet, too often. I pick and choose who I hang out with so I don't hang out with people that are mean but I don't tolerate the abuse of the female half of our fandom. I have ZERO tolerance for the abuse of another living being.

This piece, showing Twilight in the background as one of our Brony friends, puts a famous character in the shoes of one of our girls. It provides a strong message that I hadn't previously thought about. If it were her that was being picked on and I could be by her side, I would declare Twilight one of us Bronies and I would have the upper hand (no pun intended) because, I'm human and we're the ones who created the fandom in the first place.
For the love of candy, people... We created this fandom because we love the ideals that MLP:FiM brang about: Honesty, loyalty, KINDNESS (I hope that makes it stand out), laughter, generosity and magic (love, basically). Spread good will, for crying out loud!

I'm gonna cool down now. I get hot under the collar when people act like hypocrites and are mean to others. \:<
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:iconcooper31:
Cooper31 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Nice pic!
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:iconshadowflashdabearded:
Shadowflashdabearded Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014
Agree, there are flaws and loop holes. What is it that is being created if it can easy be abused. All I know is that a common interest of the show has been able to connect a wider variety, that goes beyond bounds (perhaps bounds is needed) of gender and age.
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:iconshnarfbird:
ShnarfBird Featured By Owner Edited Oct 1, 2014
And what of those of us who do not feel such a way?
Are we simply to suffer persecution because of our uncouth fellows?
It is disappointing that nowadays I cannot safely express my love for this wonderful show without reminding others of those who have done them wrong.
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:iconbeeooow:
Beeooow Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014
Uninstall life. It can't run properly on your corrupted system.
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