#101) Why do so many bronies lie about their gender? So many (guys) pretend to be girls and it's weird. This one guy pretended he was a slutty girl pony so guys would sex roleplay with him and treat him nicer and flirt with him. Am I the only person who thinks this is creepy? You shouldn't lie about who you are, should you?
Answer: Of course you shouldn't lie about who you are. You should know everything about everyone. I don't befriend someone unless I know at least the following details: what their blood type is; where they grew up; if they have a history of heart failure in the family; when they started to walk; what their first word was; how many kids they plan on having (if any); and so on. The list is endless, and even then you can't trust people.
Concealing information is fair enough, but lying about information is a bit of an odd one. On the one hand you have the power to be whoever you want to be online – if you're a weedy, anxious individual who can't communicate at all offline, you can pretend to be the total opposite online. It's quite easy to get away with it, too, as people can only generally rely on words online anyway in most situations, which means that most people will be inclined to believe you.
As I say, though, lying is a different matter. If you're a guy in the fandom pretending to be a girl, that's a bit concerning: there might be some reason behind it – a practical joke, perhaps – which might make it more acceptable, but once you start believing your own fiction things get quite odd. In the past I have dealt with people who pretend to be female despite being male, and it does create issues; if you know the big secret you may find yourself sworn to secrecy to avoid other people finding out, which can lead to all sorts of levels of awkwardness.
The motive behind the gender lie is important. Some people do it as a measure to protect their identity, which seems understandable. Others, though, do it because they seem to derive some sort of sexual thrill from it, as you pointed out. I can vouch to your exact comment, as I have seen it myself – people pretending to be female, despite being male, so that they can encourage people to come onto them. The online battlefield is an odd place, and among the brony community (as well as all over the net in general) I have seen examples of girls – both genuine and fake – getting swamped by horny males. In one circumstance, two strangers proceeded to engage in pony-based cyber-sex after three minutes, taking casual fucking to new levels.
I haven't seen many – if any – girls pretending to be guys for the same purpose, but I'm sure that it happens. Really, you should just avoid people if they are seriously backing one of these fake identities. As I say, you may find reason to make a fake-gender account somewhere (if you're a big roleplayer, perhaps?) but there's a fine line between doing it light-heartedly and basing your entire internet persona around a lie. If you know anyone who is seriously lying about who they are, convincing people that they're something that they're not, don't get involved – that kind of thing can drive a wedge between people, especially if some of your friends know and others don't (and the person in question forbids you from telling your friends who are feeling left out).
It's definitely concerning, but the internet is exactly the sort of place where people can lie about who they are. Presumably, though, if you are lying about who you are, you're ultimately going to struggle to create anything particularly meaningful with anyone you encounter. Plus, y'know, if people find out that you've been lying, you'll likely be hit with a huge backlash when the lie inevitably comes out. Best to just play it safe and be honest, 'eh?
#102) A few of my friends are saying that I cannot call myself a brony because I'm a woman. With anybody else, I'd shrug it off, but these are some of my dear friends who know that I'm transgendered, and it very much hurt me. Me identifying as a brony rather than a pegasister has been a subtle way for me to be myself, and now I feel as though they're trying to change that, and change me, which makes me doubt being in the fandom at all. I know this doesn't entirely fit the theme of the blog but anybody else I would have asked for help would have found it very, very odd that I wanted to be a man, but like My Little Pony, and I don't feel like coming out to my family just yet.
Answer: I don't claim to be an expert on transgendered individuals, having never had an opportunity to engage extensively with someone who is. That said, you don't have to be a genius to assume that it's not only a life-changing event for you, but also an enormous thing for people who knew you prior to the associative change. If, in your case, you grew up with people knowing you as identifying with one gender before you identified with another, you can definitely see why it would be a shock to some.
However, you mentioned that these people are your friends, and therefore we can also assume that they have stuck by you throughout your changing perspectives, which makes it harder to stomach when they won't allow you to identify with the tag that you prefer. This question is emphatic of why I dislike the brony moniker; it's far too restrictive, and it makes people feel left out when they don't match up to its linear rules (whatever the hell they may be). I've addressed the issue of the brony label in previous issues, but to summarise several other points that can be applied to your case: you get to choose if you're a brony or not. It doesn't necessarily have to be about gender or sex; it can, instead, just be considered a universal template for liking the show/this fandom.
It's irritating that some people are still attempting to impose rules about what and what doesn't constitute as a brony, as if the title is some sort of qualification that you have to earn. If identifying yourself as a brony makes you feel better – if you personally see 'brony' as being a masculine thing, and something that will give you a sense of well-being – then nobody can tell you that you're not. The brony 'thing' is so diverse that people shouldn't try and discriminate against you due to simple matters of sexuality or gender. You are a human being, and you have as much right to associate yourself with a label as anyone does. And, while I'd rather see the brony label eliminated entirely to avoid issues like this – or at least see its masculine nature cast aside to allow for greater equality among genders – I can at least sympathise with how important it is to you.
Really, my advice is to continue classing yourself as a brony, especially if it makes you feel better about not telling your parents yet, but to also take into account that bronies are no longer just guys under many-a-consensus. So many girls like to be called bronies as well, to the point that it doesn't matter what you are – anyone can be a brony, as long as you personally want to class yourself as one. Your friends are being ignorant by attempting to force you away from something that not only makes you happy, but is also harmless. If you like being a brony, then you're a brony - fuck anyone who says you aren't. I find it mind-blowing that certain members of this fandom are still misogynistic pricks, despite the reverence for a cartoon designed for young girls. I'd say it's almost oxymoron-ic, but it's really just moronic.
#103) Why is it that so many fans try and shove different personalities onto characters? They already have their own personalities, but so many fan-fictions go and try and change them into whatever they want. I don't get it.
What's wrong with the ponies as they are?
Answer: I both sympathise with this question and see the wider appeal of altering characters. On the one hand, some people do entirely 'break' characters when they write their parts, which can be disconcerting as a reader. Some works deliberately do it, such as adding a gritty layer of realism to characters to make them more compelling to an older audience. Others just suck at writing and can't adapt to a character. In all cases, though, writers have the freedom to write a character however they want – this is fan-fiction, after all. Nine times out of ten the alteration of a character from their established personality may suck, but people are still welcome to try it out.
I suppose if you just use the established personalities, you may find that stories would all be rather similar. None of the characters are murderers, for example, and thus if you wished to write a Noir-inspired murder mystery type thing based on ponies, you'd have to change personalities at least a little bit, or else you can't tell your story. The important thing is to strike a balance between your own creative ideas while simultaneously keeping the character in character as much as possible. Straying too far away from that criteria can result in either a boring story or a story that doesn't make any sense.
In terms of 'shov[ing] different personalities onto characters', if we're looking at characters such as background ponies, then things become a little more amusing. I've seen people arguing over background pony personalities. One person seemed convinced that the 'Octavia' character was a virginal and prissy individual, and so, when they saw a story where she was a party animal, they freaked out and attacked the writer. In those cases, I roll my eyes and shake my head; just because certain fans seem to vomit out a non-canonical personality for a non-descript background pony, doesn't mean that everyone has to follow the same guideline or personality. There is barely any personality to the background characters, and so while, on the one hand, people have to shove personalities onto them when writing for them, they also need to understand that their representation is no more correct than someone else's depiction of the character.
There are strong arguments on both sides, but I'd generally just encourage you to stop reading fan-fictions that ruin the characters for you by deviating too much from what you know, while at the same time advise you to understand that characters sometimes need to be changed in certain ways to fit a particular story idea or genre. How successfully people pull that off is down to the individual writer of the fan-fiction, which, alas, is something that I cannot extensively comment on. Personally, I'd rather just read something educational.
Brony Advice is both an active collaboration with artists and an advice column, in the simplest of terms: I want you to send me notes if you have any problems, secrets or comments on the pony fandom of any nature. It doesn't matter how embarrassing, offensive or vicious they might be - if you want someone to comment on them in an unbiased way, send them over. Maybe there's something within the fandom that you particularly despise, or perhaps you're feeling sad and need to hear some friendly advice? Whatever the motive, send me a note with your comment or question.
I'll then respond with advice and commentary and post the answers up in future installments. Users will remain anonymous, so you don't need to worry about your feelings and thoughts getting out onto DeviantArt. You may find that some of the things that you've personally been feeling will be addressed.
Feel free to note me if you would like your questions and observations to be answered in an upcoming edition. Every edition will be engaging with three issues. The above three featured today were submitted by anonymous deviants.
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And yet the compulsion exists nonetheless. I always justified it to myself as wanting to bring more complexity to a setting and cast I hold dear. It doesn't ring entirely true to me, but I can't come up with a better explanation.
#101 The way the question is phrased implies that MLP fans have a significantly higher instances of guys lying about their gender. While guys lying about their gender isn't unique to the MLP community and is a practice as old as the internet itself, I wonder if there really ARE more instances of guys lying about their gender in the MLP community. Anyone have any data on this?
I would google the answer myself, but my laziness is currently stronger than my curiosity (this may change after I've slept).
You can have a look at websites such as Ponysquare, where gender-lying is common (although often for the purpose of roleplaying, which makes sense). Attempting to quantify data on the issue would be difficult - I would hope that the question-asker had some sort of statistical incentive.
I call myself a brony even though i'm a girl and I use it to mean 'I like MLP a lot'. I see it as a freedom of choice thing. It's like, I use the term author to describe that I write books, but oh noes, I'm a girl, so I should use authoress instead then should I? I don't think so.
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