Okay, to be fair: We probably should have seen this coming. But we didn't. In this week's Mercury, Elinor Jones reviewed A Brony Tale, a documentary about bronies. I recommend reading the whole review, but it's the last part of it that's earning the ire of bronies:
Sure, most of the bronies we meet in the film are sincere nerds who love being a part of something that promotes kindness and friendship, and part of me feels like a little bit of an asshole (and maybe Ashleigh is one, too) for having dismissed bronydom the second I heard of it.
HOWEVER—big however—if the purpose of A Brony Tale is to show us that bronies are somehow not weird, it doesn't work. The inherent ick factor is unavoidable, even though A Brony Tale touches on it only briefly—as one guy recounts how judged he feels by mothers of daughters when he hangs out in the little-girl aisle of the toy store. Like it's the mom's problem that he looks out of place. Dude. No. Get that you are a visitor in a space that is not meant for you, and don't be surprised if a mom doesn't want to let you talk to her daughter about tiny sparkled horses.
That seems totally fair to me—but I'll also be the first to admit I'm not particularly well-versed in brony culture. But as someone who likes a lot of things that most people think are for kids—comic books, Harry Potter, videogames—I can imagine that if you're a grown man who's passionately in love with My Little Pony, it probably gets a little tiring to always get made fun of.
And while I'm normally inclined to say, "Just let people like what they like, and remember that pretty much every person is into something that everybody else thinks is incredibly stupid," I can totally see why a mom wouldn't be comfortable with a grown man wanting to talk to her little girl about My Little Pony. The comments on Elinor's offer a range of brony perspectives; they are also making me think way more about bronies than I thought I would today. Or ever.
We have the furious criticisms, from "otaku4242":
you know, I created an account JUST so I could call you out on the huge amount of STUPIDITY you have. Seriously, what the FUCK is wrong with you, how dare you say such horrible things about us bronies.
you know, normally I would love and tolerate the shit out of you, but considered you had to post an ENTIRE ARTICLE, no, I give no forgiveness to sexist haters like you.
have you even SEEN brony statistics? do you know ANYTHING about us? HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THE SHOW?
no, of course not, because you don't do your research, because you judge entire fanbase based on a few bad apples. guess what, EVERY FANDOM HAS BAD APPLES!
and if you are truly, TRULY man enough to reply to this upon reading it, I expect an apology, because NOONE likes people like you, NOPONY wants to go to equestriadaily and be reminded that there are IGNORANT SNOBS like you out there.
GOOD DAY SIR! (Via.)
And we have the calmer ones, from "adkscherch":
I liked this documentary, and I don't mind seeing a negative review of it. People have different opinions, and I respect that. That said, I'm disappointed at the statements used both by some of my fellow bronies in the comments as well as by the author in her final paragraph.
To the author: I don't have a problem with people still feeling off about bronies. It certainly looks odd from the outside, depending on your level of open-mindedness to the idea. One of my best friends still hates bronies, but when it comes to a review in a publication I see no reason for why you needed to use the phrasing you did. Your last few statements sound much more like a personal attack on the guy telling him to stay in his "proper place". There are other ways to express your distaste for the idea than trying to make a personal attack on one of the interviewees.
To some of the bronies here: I get it's frustrating to read some parts of this article, but shouting out your anger and throwing harsh words around doesn't help our case. We can express disagreement without yelling and being super angry about it. Let's not try to make our public image any worse. (Via.)
Anyway: Bronies! All you ever wanted to read about them is here.