Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Love and Tolerance

It's never been a real secret to anyone that I am a huge "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" fan. I can't say I have been since the show came out - to be honest I thought it was pretty boring the first time I tried to watch it. Sure the colors were nice and the animation was lovely but it just looked like it was another silly cartoon for little girls. So I watched the first half of the opening two episode arc and left it at then. Then a few months later, when I was bored to tears, I decided to try and watch it again for lack of anything better to do. I think I was about six episodes in before I realized I'd just watched candy colored ponies for about two hours.

For the first season the show was very much for little girls and really just a half hour commercial for toys. By the second season everyone involved with the show realized what a huge following they had and started playing to the adult fans more without sacrificing the original audience they were playing to. Little girls liked the show, older girls and women liked the show, little boys couldn't really care less in most cases, but what really shocked and appalled people (in a lot of cases) were how many grown men loved the show. They started calling themselves "Bronies" and walked around wearing clothing with their favorite pony featured and collecting toys. And they were labeled unkindly and unfairly as being gay, unmanly, pedophile. No one understood how or why these men adored ponies so much. A lot of people still don't. But I think a lot of us in the fandom are starting to realize that on some level it doesn't matter. It's a smart cartoon that is very self-aware, has beautiful animation, relateable characters with depth, and lessons that not only teach little kids but also remind all the adult fans of lessons they once knew but have long since forgotten. It gives hope to those who have forgotten how to smile and enjoy the simple things in life. In a world full of shows like "Revenge," "The Liars Club," and "Scandal," this show is definitely one of the better options for everyone to watch.

This fandom has inspired musicians to compose some of the most moving pieces of music I have ever heard. Artists who lost a passion found the desire to create again. Sewers made plushies, hats, blankets, nearly everything under the sun, while painters and crafters gained a new skill of creating custom toys from basic plastic models. Writers who felt as though the written word had all but betrayed them once again found the inspiration to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard these days). Yes there is a dark side to this fandom. There is to every fandom no matter where you look. But as far as I can tell the good far outweighs the bad.

I myself have found a lost love of painting simply by making custom ponies. I hadn't painted anything on canvas for twenty years. Until last year when I decided it was time I try landscapes again and remembered how very much I loved it. I've explored some things in my past through writing stories involving these characters. I've even written a fanfic long enough to be its own novel and now it's being produced as a YouTube drama with over twenty different voice actors, all fans of the show, who are excited to be involved in yet another aspect of the fandom.

As a woman I get weird looks when people find out I am part of this fandom. For a man it can be so much worse. The point of my writing this entry is just to remind everyone, whether you're in this fandom or not, that judging someone because of something silly they get enjoyment from (HUGE OBVIOUS HORRIBLE THINGS ASIDE) is not a poor reflection of them but a poor reflection of you. Take the time to try and understand the other person's point of view. Have a conversation. Show a little tolerance and a whole lot of love. We were not put on this earth to judge one another but to love and uplift.

Unless you're a Pokemon fan. Then I just don't get you.



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