So I just got back last night from a brony convention in San Francisco. I was working a booth for a vendor friend, and let me tell you what happened:
We met a little girl who was there with her family. She got a button drawn at our booth, told us all about her favorite ponies, and was overall just too damn cute. She had an MLP lanyard filled with pins she’d gotten in the vendor’s room, and gave me a Fluttershy pin because she liked my cosplay. She ended up just hanging out with us for a while and bein’ super cute. We call her Babby because she’s 11 and precious.
The next day, she runs up to the booth, terrified, and asks if she can please hide under our table for a few minutes. Turns out a dude had been following her around the con all day, and tried to get her to come up to his hotel room. Alone. She tells us she thought he was okay at first because he was wearing an MLP shirt, but she didn’t want to go anywhere with him, and he made her uneasy. At one point, after she’d refused, he grabbed her arm in the elevators and tried to get her to follow him. She ran, and now she wants somewhere to hide.
We tell her of course, hurry her behind our booth and fucking station ourselves around her because she’s eleven years old and all of us are prepared to physically attack the human trashheap who tries to fuck with her. We’re all dressed up in wings and ears and we’re 100000% prepared to rip them off and launch across that table to defend this kid. Eventually this very large dude strolls by, very obviously looking around, and she quietly points him out to us. At this point I’m ready to set him on fire, but when I ask if she needs me to go report him, she shakes her head. She doesn’t want to get in trouble, or make anyone mad.
We see him a few more times over the course of the day, because he keeps meandering over to our booth and just casually looking around. Eventually he actually stops to take a flier from our table and asks us a question, and we coldly send him on his way. We start sending a coworker with Babby whenever her parents aren’t around and she wants to go check out artist’s alley or the vendor’s hall. Because otherwise she’s not safe. She can’t run around and freely enjoy a convention about a show aimed at her, because instead of being surrounded by peers she’s somehow surrounded by men who pose a threat to her.
My point here: this is why I fucking hate “bronies.” Because grown-ass men are flooding into a space carved out for children—often little girls—and are making it unsafe for them.
I met a lot of non-awful people there, of course. I met a lot of parents and older siblings. A lot of adorable little boys who were happy to empathize with female characters, and a lot of little kids who wanted a picture with cosplays of their favorite pony. I met a lot of people who were cool and nice and just liked cartoons. I met a male Pinkie Pie cosplayer with a Fluttershy lady-friend who juggled and spun plates and was happy to entertain kids, and were generally just really cool people.
But I also met a lot of skeevy dudebros. A lot of guys in fedoras loudly discussing sexual shit in a room with children. Guys who drew/sold/displayed really fucking inappropriate “fanart,” including gross bodypillows that had no purpose in a little kids’ toy convention. I met a guy who gushed with absolute glee about the pleasure he derives from “corrupting innocence.” I met a lot of people who wanted to take something sweet and nice for children and make it about THEM. A lot of guys who wanted to make it about their dicks. People who made it UNSAFE for the intended audience to even be in attendance.
So yeah. If you call yourself a brony, I’m prolly not gonna trust you. Because I’ve seen y’all in action, and I am not impressed. Frankly I’m infuriated. This is like a bunch of gross neckbeards swarming Disneyland and shoving kids out of the way so they can grope Cinderella, and finding nothing wrong with it because they think they’re entitled to it.
My Little Pony is a really cute show with a lot of nice messages for kids, and gross brony shitweasels are trying to fucking take it from them by force. And I will fight them.