You remember the My Little Pony from the eighties, don't you? Even if you didn't grow up with it, you most likely know of its existence. Those pudgy plastic collectable figures and the nostalgically bad kid's TV show to accompany them were very much a product of the times, embodying the consumer Zeitgeist of the period. And now we look back on their evanescence with misty eyes, firmly believing that they deserved the 'young-girl' tag that went with the product.
It must largely be the visual appeal of the 2010 re-boot of the franchise, "Friendship is Magic", that has made a whole group of older individuals into fans. Those old, chubby ponies are now slender, beautifully animated characters with big, jewel-like eyes. And we must focus on the visual superiority of these ponies, and the popularity of "Friendship is Magic" with an older demographic, in order to understand why there has been such an influx in pornographic content regarding these equines.
Undoubtedly there was My Little Pony porn before the latest iteration of the show, although it would have been fairly niche and obscure, and most likely drawn with a degree of humour in mind. But when it comes to "Friendship is Magic", an entire counter-culture within the brony community has amassed with the intention of distributing pornographic material. And while no fandom is free of its porn, the relative acceptance of the smutty side of the community by others within it is difficult to stomach.
Naturally, bronies tend to be of an older demographic, and so many of them are in professional fields already. Some of these professionals – musicians; writers; artists – gel nicely with the fandom that the show has garnered and contribute to it in a productive way. And yet, on the flip-side, while many bronies are trying to sway media attention away from negative stereotypes to deeming the bronies as a respectable community, a fair portion are tarnishing this bold move through the active creation of erotica.
The major explanation for this abnormal behaviour is likely a lack of decent sexual stimulation in the real world. In an independent survey conducted on one-hundred bronies between the ages of 16-19 who regard themselves as 'cloppers' or 'clop-artists', only three mentioned that they were in a relationship at the time that the study was taken; eighty-four had never been in a relationship before. And it is fair to assume that the sexual repression that comes from being attracted to the idea of masturbating over a cartoon pony is a sign that the individuals who engage in this sort of behaviour are, by and large, doing so because they aren't receiving sexual release in another, more natural form.
While it's a bold move to imply that people who are 'into' pony-porn are generally your typical basement-dwelling introverts, it's difficult to construct a stable argument in support of "Friendship is Magic" porn. 'Creative freedom', may be used, or the excuse that 'other fandoms do it as well'. Both are certainly points that could be argued with a degree of credibility, but retorts such as, 'it's effectively bestiality'; 'it's abnormal, deviant behaviour' and 'just because other fandoms do it doesn't make it right' sound more informed and reasonable.
It's no great surprise that My Little Pony is intended for little girls. Therefore, to attach the sexual implications to the show that many pony-erotica miscreants do is to detract from the common values of the product. Hasbro, the company behind the My Little Pony brand, clearly do not wish for porn to be made of their product; recent take-downs of a certain plush toy prove that they view such content as damaging to their intellectual property. And, of course, this is entirely reasonable of them to suggest: having pornographic content made of their product, which is marketed towards children, potentially risks damaging their company name and puts them in a unfortunate position.
It's selfish, honestly, to bite the hand that feeds the fandom by ignoring Hasbro's stance: while creative content such as music videos or fan-games are being accepted by Hasbro, proving that they're viewing the brony splinter-group as a good thing, erotica serves to dispute this reputable relationship. Despite the fact that Hasbro – the company ultimately responsible for the show - dislike it, and that pornography should be mediated and kept at a minimum due to its graphic nature and destructive quality, people audaciously ignore these simple, entirely acceptable requests and continue to make it anyway.
Naturally, it's abnormal and abhorrent behaviour to be attracted to cartoon ponies, especially when they are representative of a children's show, and so reasoning with the types of people who find arousal in such things is always going to be a difficult task. Obviously, it's the typical horny teenager, who comprises a good amount of the brony community, that will predominantly try and bring sex into every equation known to man, and so it's not difficult to see why they would try and sexualise characters that they create a close bond with.
However, "Friendship is Magic" draws a fine line between friendship and lust. It's acceptable to relate to characters in a kid's show if they're well-written. But to imagine having relationships with them – one brony observed appears to be convinced that Fluttershy is his girlfriend – is perverse and pathetic behaviour that indicates the loneliness that many of these people feel. And while they may argue that their attraction doesn't hurt anyone, the simple fact of the matter is that, with My Little Pony in particular, it does.
The aforementioned corporate backing behind My Little Pony leaves the show and the brony fandom in a precarious position. Given the unprecedented nature of the brony community, a lot of journalistic eyes are on the people involved to see what it is that they like about the show. Saying that it's competently written, voice-acted and animated is a credible and understandable reason, and few journalists worth their salt would be able to criticise a fandom based on these assertions. However, when individuals explain that they are attracted to the characters in the show, images of weird, sexually-neglected people come to mind, and it does genuinely ruin the collective external opinion on the fandom.
Not only this, but professional individuals who associate with the fandom receive the negative backlash that is targeted towards the pornographic side. It's difficult to feel proud of a community who don't seem to object in any major way to the ruinous presence of porn of a little kid's show. Frequently, people who create this sort of content are viewed as minor deities; popularity often seems to be closely correlated with willingness to draw porn, which signifies the degradation of society at large.
It's possible when part of a fandom to forget where it all began: in this case, My Little Pony, the toy-range and TV show marketed for kids. Therefore, it's in the best interest of the community to shy away from the sort of content that is going to embarrass the group as a whole. It's hardly being a team-player when you're letting the majority down because you just had to draw a picture of a pony having sex. As, purportedly, responsible adults, it's up to bronies to show that they can respectably like a children's show without being a weird, sexual deviant at the same time. By accepting and actively inviting pornographic content of the My Little Pony name, it merely reaffirms everything that media sources negatively say about the fandom.
It is somewhat humorous to see certain individuals who are self-certified 'cloppers' complaining when major news outlets insult them, because many of the complaints raised about bronies can be seen as true when depraved content exists. Despite it often being hyperbole and generalisation, evidence does certainly exist to support many of the negative things that are said about the community in regards to its peddling of erotica.
Ultimately, the people who are 'into' this kind of stuff will continue to draw arousal from it, and so attempting to censor the content is a largely pointless affair. My Little Pony porn, however, does come across as distasteful, unnecessary and insulting to the brand that it represents. People can make porn of anything that they like, but whether they should is an entirely different story. At the very least, people could stop being so damn proud of what they do; charging people to buy pornographic Flash games of My Little Pony, for example, is so hilariously backwards that it's hard to know who to feel more sorry for: the person sitting there making the games or the suckers actually spending money on them. There's even a My Little Pony porn website that requires a monthly subscription payment of $25. It's enough to make any rational person despair at the creepiness of it all.
"Friendship is Magic" is a good show, but due to the close relationship between Hasbro, The Hub, the staff members and the brony community, people should show some respect to the property and demonstrate at least a modicum of decency. Horny teenagers are obviously going through a phase with their weird attraction to cartoon ponies; hopefully puberty will kick that out of them. If it doesn't, then you may as well start lamenting now for the upcoming generation of people who think that this sort of behaviour is acceptable.