You don’t hear much about Bronies anymore but it seemed just a short, few years ago that was all everyone was talking about. How weird it was that these grown men were watching My Little Pony cartoons and dressing up like their favorite pony. They were going to My Little Pony conventions. Everyone made fun of them.
I had worked with two Bronies: Nick and Adam. They had pins. They had sweatshirts. They both loved the show. Adam brought me a DVD of a Bronie documentary to watch – he was damn proud because he had actually made the back cover in one of the pictures. I went home, watched it with an “open mind”, but just came to the conclusion that “they were just weird.”
After watching the documentary I did go and watch a few of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episodes as they were on Netflix at the time. I am an animation junkie. It doesn’t matter what age group it is for I will watch a cartoon or animated film and usually enjoy it. As a matter of fact I, to this day, still sing songs from Blues Clues and Wonder Pets that I watched 9 years ago with my son. As I watched MLP I tried to think in terms of what was appealing to little girls and what would be appealing to grown men. For little girls I thought it a cute cartoon. For grown men? I had no clue. Zero clue.
I didn’t go out and bash Bronies or anything. I wasn’t on the Internet saying, “WEIRDOS!” But I never lost my preconceptions…
I’m working on a couple things this week. One is a review of a documentary about a transgender woman (I’ll be posting that review tomorrow…check back!). The other is an article I’m writing about a comic book from the 80s. Interviewing writers and artists from those day of books that I loved reading drudged up some of my own bad memories.
I remember being mocked, made fun of, laughed at because I was a kid who collected comic books. People thought I was weird because I wore BATMAN T-SHIRTS. At some point I started skateboarding. Now skateboarding then isn’t like skateboarding now. Now they have X-games, they have skate parks, and tons of best-selling skateboard video games. Back then? Back then people looked at me like I had a hole in my head. More mocking, more making fun of, more getting laughed at.
Was I supposed to apologize to all these people because I liked Batman or Ex-Mutants? Because I liked Powell Peralta and Natas Kaupus? I was who I was. Eventually high school came where I got some great friends and played some football. Even then I drew my own stupid cartoons that some people would enjoy reading…while those would just make fun of me (at least, at that point, some had the dignity to do it behind my back and not to my face).
I didn’t grow up to be a prolific comic book writer but I did get a chance to write my own comics and that was quite cathartic. For many years I was an entertainment reporter and lived an amazing dream, meeting some amazing people. While I didn’t grow up to become a famous skateboarder my brother did, which led him to designing album covers, to shooting the cover of Vogue, which led to a clothing line and becoming a famous artist. How stupid is skateboarding now?
Let me compare the life I led or the life my brother led to those who made fun of me. I’m not saying, “Oh my life was better than yours!” – I’m saying that I was able to turn what I loved into something that truly made me happy.
I was thinking about this all last night and it just popped in my head.
I liked what I liked. I didn’t care if other people didn’t understand me. I was going to wear my damn Batman t-shirt because I liked Batman.
Bronies? They like what they like. They don’t care if other people don’t understand them. They are going to wear that damn My Little Pony t-shirt because they like My Little Pony.
I suddenly realized that I don’t “have to get it.” I don’t have to see the appeal in a TV show. So what if I watch it and I “don’t get it.” It doesn’t matter. It should never matter about what makes you happy. It can be Star Wars, My Little Pony , Sabado Gigante, Battlestar Galactica, Twin Peaks, Farscape, Star Trek, Wonder Pets, Amazing Aliens…it just doesn’t matter.
It just doesn’t matter.
I feel like an asshole because I forgot what it felt like to be treated like an asshole just for enjoying the things I enjoyed. And I really feel like an asshole that, some four years later, I finally realize what Bronies go through just because I am now watching a documentary and writing an article on an 80’s comic book. I forgot what it was like and I silently judged. Who the hell am I to judge someone?
So if you are a Brony…you have a friend in me. If I see you on the street I am probably going to walk up to you and talk to you. I may talk your ear off. You may think I’m a weirdo for coming up and talking geekdom with you. I’ll defend you if you ever need defending. I understand you.
I may even buy a MLP t-shirt.
No matter what the next big thing is I’ll defend them as well. Because Trekkies deserve respect. Comic book fans deserve respect. Cosplayers REALLY deserve respect (and no sexual harassment). And Bronies deserve respect.
Do what you love. Because no one should be mocked for just being themselves.