Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pony Thought of the Day: Request for Stories of Brony Women/Pegasisters/etc

I know at least some of my regular readers are women. I find myself somewhat urgently (it's for the book) needing to know more about what it's like to be a brony who is specifically a woman/pegasister/whatever you prefer to call yourself. I feel like a lot of attention is paid to male bronies and very little to the women in the community, and I know I've been guilty of that myself in some of my articles, so I'd like to try to write at least one article specifically about the experience of brony women.

Anyway, any story you'd like to tell about your experience of being a woman who is a brony is welcome, but if you want a prompt I'd especially like to hear any of the following:

  • Do you feel that, compared to the larger society or other fandoms to which you belong, the brony community is more/less/about equally a welcoming and safe space for women?
  • Do you feel that women are well-represented and recognized as contributors within the brony community?
  • Do you feel that media about bronies (news articles, Equestria Daily, the Bony Study, the Brony Documentary, etc.) accurately and fairly represent the women in the community? Do you feel that these sources adequately acknowledge the presence and contributions of women in the community?
  • Is there anything that you feel is unique about being a woman brony as opposed to a woman in another fandom/the larger society? Anything that you feel is unique about being a woman brony as opposed to a male brony?

My readership is pretty small, so statistically speaking there aren't that many genderqueer or intersex bronies reading, but if so, I'm interested in your experiences, too. Basically, I feel like the experiences and feelings of bronies who identify as men are well-documented, everyone else's less so, and I'm looking to try to do my small part to help correct that.

Please share your stories in the comments or e-mail me at froborr@gmail.com if you want them to be more private. I would like to quote the stories in the article where possible, so please let me know if I have permission to do so, and how I should credit you or if you would prefer to be anonymous. I'm in crunch time on the book, so I'd like to have the stories by the end of the day Saturday, June 29. I know that's very short notice.

Finally, if you know anybody who might have the kinds of stories I'm interested in and would be interested in sharing, please guide them here.



  1. Here, let me answer those questions for you!

    1. I think that the brony community is welcoming to people of all gender. I will say though that the male bronies are definitely a stronger force, and I think that they sometimes forget there are women also involved in the fandom (outside of the music/cosplaying/VA sections, women are very well represented there!).
    2. Women are not very well represented in the comunity though, outside of the sections I mentioned above. We kinda get pushed to the side as Pegasisters or are lumped in with the other Bronies.
    3. That really depends. News articles are a definite no, females who like MLP aren't nearly as interesting and different as men who like ponies. EQD does a pretty good job, seeing as there are lots of female artists and singers/musicians. I'd lean more towards no on the Brony Study, and I have yet to see the Brony doc. All of the sources mentioned don't exactly acknowledge the presence of women, EQD takes us for granted and the rest just don't find us that interesting!
    4. I will say this for being a female brony (I prefer Pegasister, but either works), there are lots of inner fandom VA and cosplaying opportunities! Not that I've done any out on the internet yet, but I've tried my fair share at home! Being a female Brony is pretty unique in that aspect.

    I sometimes get a little sad when I see news articles on ponies, because I know that female Bronies won't really be mentioned. But, I guess that's life!
    I still love being a part of this fandom though, don't get me wrong! The amount of quality stuff we produce as a group is pretty amazing. I have nothing against male Bronies though, I think that you're all really neat!

    If you want to use this in the book, you can go ahead! Just refer to me as "Roseshy". :D I hope this is useful for you!

  2. 1. I think the brony fandom is very welcoming to anyone of any gender. I believe it is a safe space for women although it sometimes feels like some men who are bronies deny it when females are bronies. But most of them are very welcoming.
    2. there are many crafty women in the brony community but I think they are not very well represented. They are mostly recognized in cosplay and voice work but besides that they are thought of as men.
    3.I feel like the media doesn't accurately represent the female community. We are mostly over looked because the media is too fascinated with the bronies who are men. it's considered normal for a female of any age to like ponies.
    4.something unique about being a female brony is all the opportunities you get from lots of fan projects. Something unique in the fandom for being a female is the voice work you can do as there is so many female characters compared to male. (some females can pull off male voices too!)The cosplay is also unique for being a female brony because of all the female characters and females can pull off a believable guy.

    I absolutely love the brony fandom and how its growing everyday, Though I don't like how females get much recognition I'm not against brony men, I think they're amazing and the most important part of the fandom.

    You can use this in the book, please refer to me as 'Bludoh' If I have anything that needs editing, go ahead and edit it! I'm terrible with grammar and spelling :p

  3. 1. I found the Brony community very welcoming as I joined, but sometimes us females are ignored a bit since 'the show is made for girls', though we take just as much teasing as male bronies do for being fans of the show. Overall, we're welcomed.
    2. I find that female contributors are largely underrepresented within the fandom. We're really just known for cosplay and voice work, the two things that (most) male bronies leave to the girls as the characters are girls.
    3. The media largely ignores our presence in the fandom.('Oh, all girls can like MLP, bu boys?! That's a whole 'nother story!) I feel like we're not adequately acknowledged for our contributions almost every time there is a media story about MLP, by brony or not. It's more of the assumed thought that girls have to automatically like girly things.
    4. I feel like it's easier for me to cosplay and do voices, haha. But really, I feel unique in that I'm a girl amongst all of these brony guys. I'm also a few years young than most bronies are, so I'm doubly underrepresented but I almost like it that way as I am even more unique and am able to dress up as/ do voice work for younger characters.

    I love being a brony (I use Pegasister for myself since I like the sound of it) and I love pretty much everything about being a brony. I have nothing against male bronies- they're amazing and talented- but I feel like they do something many males do, and that's forget a girl is there unless she makes herself known.

    You can use this if you want, just refer to me as Book Princess if that makes it easier. You can edit this and stuff, haven't really checked it over for errors and I know there must be some :P

  4. I'll be happy to be included in this!

    1. I feel that the brony community as a whole is very accepting towards women - I haven't really seen bronies who've been like, "Oh, you must not be able to write/draw/whatever effectively because you're a girl". True, there are times when some guys may find it as a surprise if the writer of, say, a gorefic is a girl, but that's just due to a matter of taste. As far as acceptance goes, I'd say that bronies are very accepting of both genders.
    2. Like several others have said, I feel as if females are underrepresented within the fandom aside from voice work and such, despite the acceptance of both genders. Statistically speaking, about 80% of bronies are male, so in those respects it's reasonable to make assumptions like that. However, I feel that us female bronies/pegasisters of the fandom should be a bit more represented in the fanwork department.
    3. I feel like many aspects of the media that report on bronies don't represent women enough. In many of the news articles and videos I've seen, the term "brony" has primarily been used to refer to "the adult male fanbase", and it seems that females are either rarely mentioned or referred to as "pegasisters". I'm personally fine with either term (I often use "pegasister" though), but as Tara Strong says in her section of the Brony Documentary song: "We're not 'bros', but we're bronies, though some prefer 'pegasisters'." I feel that it was at least a good point of the documentaries song to have Tara help give the pegasisters/female bronies a voice in the fandom media.
    4. I feel like one thing that's unique about being a female member of this fandom is that, unlike with other shows, almost all of the main characters are girls, which leaves a lot of opportunities for fan voice projects and/or song covers.

    You can credit me as Shadowed Rainbow. :)

  5. Part 1: I got this link from EQD and was wondering whether I could add my two-penny-worth to the discussion.

    I'm an old hat at fandom in all its guises, having been an active member online in many since 1999/2000. I've seen the big sites evolve and even some start altogether, plus the fandoms that rely on them. I've been in western fandoms, eastern fandoms, all-encompassing big ones and some really, really obscure little ones. MLP: FiM, however, was my first real brush with a genuinely antagonistic fandom in over fourteen years. That's not to say I have only experienced antagonism, but it was my first response when I tried to get involved as more than a lurker and those initial reactions stuck with me, especially as I have been an MLP fan ... pretty much my whole life (I was born the year it was first released and spent my childhood carting around one of the original Blue Belle toys).

    I think the prevalance of 'brony' culture (and I do mean CULTURE, not just a hobby, which is a whole other kettle of fish I never thought I'd find outside of otakus in anime/manga fandoms) emerging from what I have always assumed to be female-centric source material just ... confused me when I first found out about it in 2011. The thing is, I really WANT to be pleased about it. I've spent years trying to teach people about gender-transcendance, metrosexuality and basic ideas like inclusivity-does-not-mean-it-will-'turn'-you-gay-you-sillies. I'm one of the biggest proponants of not having girls-only or boys-only fandoms/toys/TV shows/whatever. In fact, IRL I'm a secondary school teacher and I made the gender representation gap in media a part of the A-Level course I teach! Amongst other things I'm a comic-book nerd. I've watched that fandom slowly, slowly, SLOWLY unclench its BOYS ONLY LA LA LA GO AWAY NASTY COOTIE-RIDDLED GIRLS WITH YOUR WEIRD YAOI STORIES WE DON'T WANT YOU LA LA LA stranglehold and at least accept that girls also like to play in the same sandpit without romanticising every-damn-thing. So when I first heard about bronies I was thrilled. Confused, sure (small pastel coloured horses were not the means by which I expected such my much-desired breakthorugh to happen) but honestly thrilled. Finally, thought I, an equivalent male-to-female fandom to equal comic books! I was content to fiddle about on the fringes, feeling great because, hey, we're all equal in the anonymity of the internet, right? And even better, my very first fandom was getting a new lease of life (as I said, I grew up with G1 and the whole pony phenomenon of the 80s was an integral part of my childhood). Even BETTER better, the new MLP fandom seemed to be the most creative one I'd ever witnessed! Pony-themed original music! Thoughtful episode reviews and dissection by online critics! More fanart than you could shake a stick at! AMVs with such on-model fanmade animation I was DROOLING to be a part of it all!

    And then in mid-2011 I tried to actively get involved in FiM fandom. Talk about your nasty shocks. Gender-inclusive fandom? Equal-opportunity squeeing? My arse! Which is what I landed on when I was summarily told that my childhood fandom was a place I was no longer welcome. It was like someone smacked a big 'ol Calvin-and-Hobbes-style 'NO GIRLS ALLOWED' sign on the door before shutting it in my face and partying on where I could hear and peep at the action through the window, but not partake.

  6. Part 2:

    At first, I thought it was my age. I used to look sidelong at people 25+ in fandom too, yet when I brought this up on the messageboards where I'd encountered the antagonism, I was told point blank that nobody wanted to talk or listen to me because I'm female and 'would only want to talk about girly shit'. I was told 'Go back to the 80s dolls and brush their hair' because I had mentioned I liked G1, and told G4 was so much better and I should leave the modern fandom so they could 'undo all the shit' me and my kind did to MLP's reputation with our girliness. Given that I have an extremely stressful job, fandom has always been my de-stresser. Those fans, however, only added to my stress levels whenever I interacted with them - and I seemed to find them wherever I went. Not that I realised this was going to happen at first. It was only when they interacted with me personally that this cruel streak came out. Male fans were perfectly content to talk to each other and wax lyrical about all things pony, but when I tried to join? Nope. I observed them interacting with each other online and everything was hunky-dory and everyone seemed happy. Introduce me and my lack of Y-chromosome to the mix, however, and those same proud fans went sour faster than milk in front of a heating grate.

    Though I have since met and befriended much nicer individuals, I still see this happening to other female fans, especially those who express a liking for G1 or the other generations, and it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think that was what got to me the most: I (and other fans in my position) could SEE all the fun to be had and desperately WANTED to be a part of it. However, it's hard when the moment you mention you're female other fans turn nasty. I was lucky: I got into fanfic reading and met some lovely, lovely fans through it, but if I hadn't soldiered on I would never have found the level of enjoyment I do now and I reckon a lot of other fans gave up because of the aggro provided by a few poor examples of the fandom.

    I hope this didn't come across as too much of a vent. I just wanted to get across how negative my experiences were at first and how, despite how much my own fandom life has improved since then, everything is not as 'peaches and cream' for everyone as it has been for other responders to your post.

    I'm known as Scribbler online, so I'd prefer to be credited as that. Thank you.

  7. Compared to many other fandoms, I think the brony community is more accepting of women. Their discussions involving gender are more civil, and they do not generally reject the idea that women can be involved in My Little Pony the way many do in gaming or comic book fandoms. If you are a woman artist, your writings or art or cosplay or involvement is more likely to be accepted as what it is instead of being dismissed due to your gender. That being said, there is still some sexism, for, although I think the fact that the fandom is built on pastel ponies does increase inclusiveness somewhat, this is also a relatively young fandom, meaning the "girls are gross" mentality hasn't necessarily disappeared from all members. Still, as I said, I think that sexism, while somewhat present, is not prevalent in the brony fandom.

    Female bronies do, however, have to put up with a few issues unique to their gender. They can be forgotten by fellow fans and unrelated media alike due to the fact that it is not considered abnormal. As the Brony Documentary said, "If girls like little ponies then that's very much expected." What these people forget is that even though these girls aren't crossing gender lines, they can still be fans and contribute just as much to the fandom as guys. Those female bronies who do contribute something to the community are often underrated or underrepresented, except, of course, in cosplay and in voice acting. This issue is obviously somewhat diminished, as the female contributors can submit their works anonymously online.

    I myself have had very few problems being a female brony (although I capitalize on the anonymity I just spoke of, and so may not be a very reliable source). Those who do know my gender inside the community have usually been courteous, and those who were rude were usually hushed up quickly by their fellow male bronies. There are definitely some forums that are more sexist than others, and some that would not only refuse to converse with women but ridicule their involvement (and possibly gender) as well, but you could find such groups if you dug deep enough into just about any fandom or community. The fact is, the internet, which houses many in the brony community, can be a dark place. Despite this, I would say that the brony fandom is near the nicest internet-based community, especially considering its primarily young base.

    If you want to credit me, just call me Frimaire Froid (but you don't have to if that's too long!)

  8. Thanks to everyone who responded! All of these responses were very helpful, and quotes from all of them ended up in the article (along with some e-mail responses and in-person interviews as well).



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