Editorial: Clop and the Brony Community

Just Try And Stop It by ~Art-Anon

Clop, or mature to adult fan made content depicting characters in the show (or original characters), has been a controversial subject for quite some time and has sprouted many heated arguments among bronies. So what’s the big deal about what ponies like to do in the privacy of their own home (and post on the internet)?

Full article behind the page break. (And not so much of what you’re probably thinking. -DS)

Arguments against the creation of “clop” material stem around public image. As most of it can be viewed on one website or another without the need to create any sort of account, the media, and potential bronies, have easy access to this material that might create a bad public image or deter potential bronies from joining the “herd.” Let’s take a look at images, in regards to portrayal of a community. When a group, community, or individual is placed in the media spotlight or becomes the topic of online gossip, said entity gains a public image. Generally, the first time a person sees or reads about something, they generate an opinion or a bias. As an example, let’s take a look at the “article” about Twilight Sparkle in the episode “Ponyville Confidential.” Within the episode, in a gossip column within a local paper, Twilight Sparkle is said to be a “Canterlot Snob.” The article claims that their source of information is Twilight Sparkle’s assistant, Spike the Dragon. As we all know, this is false. However, what if we were one of the ponies in town and we had never met or even heard of Twilight Sparkle before? We would likely take that article to heart and truly believe that Twilight Sparkle is a jerk. Depending on how well done the article is, we may even have trouble changing our opinion about Twilight Sparkle even if the pony herself were to repeatedly try to change our mind through acts of kindness. Now let’s shift back over to the issue at hand. National media, more often than local media, focuses in on the worst in people and the tragedies in life, as they often lead to better ratings, and therefore more money. So what’s the big problem? In the public eye, the words “cute,” “cartoon,” and “pornography” do not bode well. Besides personal opinions on clop, this appears to be the primary argument against it.

On the flip side, what do those who produce and/or use clop think? The single best counter argument I have seen used the core values of the brony community to make its case. The argument was: “… by having such negative views against clop, they are not following the show’s and community’s primary message and value, which is ‘Love and Tolerance.’” Unfortunately I had to paraphrase that as I cannot find the exact quote in the massive archive that is the Pony Confessions Tumblr. However, the point remains. By shunning those who enjoy clop or create it, are we truly any better than those who shun us for being a part of the brony community?

Let’s take a look at this issue from a scientific standpoint. Why is sex such a big deal? Sex is one of the most important biological functions, as without it, none of us would be here. Because of this, nature has embedded many “protocols” within our brain that deal with sex outside of the act. Say you’re in a crowded room and talking with your friends. You’re paying attention to the conversation with your friends, and replying when applicable. Suddenly, someone in a different conversation mentions something about sex, or about you or your friends/family. Suddenly, you find your attention shifted to that conversation. Has this ever happened to you? This is because of an exception within auditory filtering processes, or in other words, our brain’s ability to filter our background noise and allow us to focus in on a conversation with our friends, or listening to a professor speak. Our brain, when filtering out the background noise, listens for a few things in particular: sex, and things about us and those who we consider family. Now, your opinions on sex don’t really matter, because nature has embedded the importance of the act within our minds. So whether you wish you had some brain bleach, or you wished you could have heard more about it, a conversation concerning sex will attract your attention.

So back to the issue at hoof, what other arguments are there for allowing clop within the community? Now, the media will always try to show the worst sides of human nature, but do they really need evidence to do this? The media does not need evidence to speculate that the brony community consists of pedophiles, not to say that the community does, but media will be media, and as such, they will try to make money by exploiting others. Now, many of our community websites will post an article whenever national or local media features bronies, and so far, most of the occurrences haven’t been too bad. Should we really have such an obsession with maintaining a perfect image when we’ve had such good luck so far? Some may argue that we’ve had bad luck with the media, so let’s shift focus again over to another community that some of us may know of, the furry fandom. Now, furries have had terrible luck with national media. The most infamous portrayal of the furry fandom was the episode “Fur and Loathing” of the TV show CSI. In this episode, furries were portrayed as being sex-obsessed social misfits who fornicated in mascot costumes. Those who are familiar with the furry fandom would likely attest that this is not the case. While there is much pornographic content within the fandom, most of it is in the form of artwork and stories (sound familiar?). Other similar portrayals to that of “Fur and Loathing” have been found in 1000 Ways to Die and 30 Rock (though, thankfully 30 Rock did not refer to them as furries specifically and instead called them “plushies”). Let’s take a moment to perform a simple mental exercise: I’d like you to think of some nationalities and picture the “average” person of each nationality. Now that we have those “average” people in mind, try and think of someone who you know that is of that nationality. Do they exemplify that “average person” that you thought of for their nationality? They might… they might not… just another example of stereotyping and preconception.

So we’ve taken a look at arguments from both sides, seen examples of media reactions to similar fandoms, and discussed human psychology. So where does that leave us as a community? So far we’ve shown the world that we do more than just watch the show. We’ve shown that we can take our passion for the show and create whole new realities out of it. Where the show has lacked explanations, we’ve created our own. We’ve gone so far in so little time, and there are no signs of stopping. While clop may not be our pride and joy of the community, it has made a presence. To those who are truly worried about our image, I leave you with one piece of advice: Put your best hoof forward, and love and tolerate.

And finally, to all readers, I leave these questions: Is there really anything we can do about this issue? Is it even worth stressing over? Share your thoughts!

 

Works Cited

(2012, April 18). Retrieved from Pony Confessions: http://ponyconfessions.tumblr.com

Carlson, N. R., Miller, H. L., Heth, D. S., Donahoe, J. W., & Martin, N. G. (2010). Psychology: The Science of Behavior (Seventh Edition for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute ed.). Boston: Pearson.

  • Shirley Hooves

    Great article. Personally I am not a clopper but I totally agree with pretty much all points raised, especially the fact that we shouldn’t neglect clop just due to the simple fact that it might give us a bad social image.

    People blame clop for giving us a bad image, but realistically we would acquire that image anyway due to the human nature that is “Fear of the unknown”.

    If people gave us a chance, whether clop was around or not, they would quickly find out that it is not as big a deal as they initially thought, but alas a lot of people don’t have the time or interest to investigate any further than their preconceptions.

    If people cannot understand or accept that we exist then they will try to justify our existence, usually in the worst way possible.
    Clop is merely evidence to these people, a resource to back up their initial thoughts.

    But anyway I’m getting off to a bit of a rant here, I’m sure anyone reading can see my point.
    What was my point? I can’t particularly remember.

  • Anonymous

    I’m fine with “clopping” as long as it get posted in the right places. If i want to fap to cartoon horses, i know were i can find everything. No need to post it on social networks/random forums/news sites.
    And I’m fine with “cloppers” as long as they don’t start mentioning porn in random conversations (yes, i’ve known a bunch of people like that). Want to talk about how much you like somepony’s plot? There are (way too many) sites for that.
    Damn, some are even proud about the fact that they fap to ponies.

  • I’m glad to see someone taking the time to elaborate on this stereotype that the Brony community has somehow acquired and how the community thinks about itself in that respect.

    If only Ghost could see sense.

    • Anonymous

      >Taking Ghost seriously
      >2012

  • Blux

    If this community values its good reputation, and all the perks that come with that, it is worth stressing over. You can be surprised how fast porn brings in all the wrong kind of people, and pushes away all the good ones.

  • I don’t clop personally, but I don’t mind those who may have a slight fetish for it for as long as they don’t discuss it or share it.

  • TBH there’s nothing we can do to stop it, Blux. Almost every fandom has an ‘adult’ side to it and we’re no exception. The only thing we can do is not commit the same sin, i.e. posting it, talking about it, etc.

    • Blux

      It’s when that adult side becomes the majority, and that WILL happen. Sitting on our hands and taking the neutral side is just as bad.

  • The important part of Rule 34 is those last two words: “No exceptions.” Clop was inevitable. Doesn’t mean we have to treat it like the second coming of Night Mare Moon, though: anything sexual always looms larger in the public consciousness. Count me as definitely in the live-and-let-live camp.

  • Medic_Starshine

    Hey guys! Thank you all so much for your responses and taking the time to read the article.

    Human psychology is a pretty complex subject, and humans, as a whole, are quite unique to begin with, without even going into the vast differences between each person.

    It does sadden me a little to see so many poorly written clop fics out there. I don’t write ’em and I don’t really read ’em, but what can you do? Restricting free speech ain’t the answer.

  • Anonymous

    this article left out a big part of the story.. and that’s the people who don’t want to see clop material and aren’t necessarily disliking it just because of public image.. personally i loathe clop material and it bothers me for quite a while after i see it so i really don’t appreciate it when people post it where it doesn’t belong.. and i’ve even seen it on the official mlp page on facebook posted by some punk who i guess i should just love and tolerate right? well even if i could love and tolerate him i would still hate his actions.. i’ve been a brony for a very long time but there’s many places i can’t go to anymore because of these kinds of people posting things where they don’t belong

    • Medic_Starshine

      That usually isn’t much of an issue as many sites offer the ability to filter out mature content and such.

      What is this posting on the official facebook page that you speak of?

      • Anonymous

        during the royal wedding event on facebook there was a bunch of people posting their OC’s and such but there was someone who posted a few R34 images of the CMC and i think some other chars as well but either way it was there and it wasn’t my choice to see it.. it was only my choice to have ever went to a place where people can post pony related things and i don’t think i was at fault for doing so but i still had to face the consequences of it.. and even when posts are erased from the event wall they are still in the album of images that came from the wall so for all i know they might still be there if the album is accessible.. either way there’s other things too such as the clopfictions page on FB who post replies to things and have a very sexualized avatar.. there’s also other pages on FB who do that who are specific to certain characters and alot have straight up porn on there.. then there’s youtube where i see lots of clop-material thumbnails and videos and such just in the suggested and related videos to many things.. then there’s ponychan.. i used to really like that place but now since i just don’t like the sexualization of ponies whatsoever i have to entirely avoid that place since they’re too lenient for me personally and people post that “not entirely porn but not clean either” stuff around.. then there’s EqD which are yet again too lenient for me and i generally don’t go to anymore.. example: “tara posts a saucy image of twilight? let’s make it the thumbnail for this stickied post”.. then there’s google images which i learned to avoid a very long time ago (i also learned that strict safesearch settings actually gets you more R34 than the normal setting for some reason).. anyway you get it.. very many things and i just can’t seem to avoid the sexualization of ponies unless i avoid the fandom as a whole and i don’t want to do that cause i quite love the fandom otherwise

        • Medic_Starshine

          twentypercentcooler.net, and FIMfiction have done a wonderful job at making it possible to avoid content like that. I agree that people should not be posting things like that on the official MLP page of facebook, but I don’t think it’s too hard to find sites that are safe to view. Sometimes it may require some work on your own end (like setting up tag restrictions).

          I am sorry to hear you have had so much trouble avoiding it. I’d be more than happy to try and help you find some sites that’ll work more to your liking.

          Thank you once again for your response, and I hope that at least I, if not DHN, can be of some help here.

          • Anonymous

            you’re right! those sites mentioned do seem to be good at keeping things in order so thanks for the info! also for the sake of mentioning them i have to say bronibooru.mlponies.com does a fantastic job as well although i didn’t like the restrictions of most furry/anthro stuff (apparently some is let through for whatever reason) so 20% is a nice alternative ^^ but i really quite miss the chan type of site (and generally social stuff that allows you lots of freedom but is strictly against sexualization of the ponies) but the alternatives that i know of are not really popular so in other words they’re not very exciting and fast paced from my previous experiences with them:/ (though i haven’t checked in a while so i should do that) so if there’s any of those that’d be quite nice! but honestly i don’t think there’s too much that any particular people can do about it except run their site well (and for citizens to report things) and stand firm with their rules.. and from what i’ve seen DHN does a great job!.. anyway thank you for taking the time to hear my side of things (and your willingness to help!) because i would imagine it’s a little under-represented since people who personally don’t like it would probably not hang around it enough to say anything (or report it) and some quite possibly don’t even like talking/thinking about it to begin with

  • *rei

    Said it yourself, the media will always try to paint us in the worst light possible. I’ve been a furry for years (yet another group the white collar bronies try to shun :D) and they’ve tried to demonize us for years. At the same time, go to anthrocon and all the shops/vendors nearby, the not furry orgs, have signs that say “furries welcome”. This is merely trying to appear inviting to a group just for the purpose of profits, but yet, its still there. Eventually I can see shops in Secaucus, NJ doing the same thing.

    In the end, do you want to try and appeal to a group that’s going to hate you no matter what, just because you watch a show “for little girls”, or do you want to do just whatever the heck you want to do and **** the rest of society? Dunno about you, but I choose the latter. Why do I care about Faux News saying that bronies live in their parents’ basement on welfare (quite the opposite, I rent a room, have private health insurance, and a 401(k) so suck it Fox :D), they’re always gunna say that, but the fact of the matter is, I know its not true.

    Society is always going to hate us, so why do we even give a crap what they think?

    • NZBrony

      ^This guy.
      So much.

      I was gonna put mine seperately, but here. have a reply.

      I still find it hilariously ironic that the furries quite happily hate on us in certain places and yet start bawwing as soon as someone starts hating them.
      I’m engaged in the naughty sides of both fandoms but I do prefer that there’s at least some sort of pretty picket fence between the SFW and NSFW halves.

      I’ll happily make an exception for actual art type pics though. Else why would I have had a naked mermaid on my wall for the past 3 years. And this fandom HAS had pictures like that.

      But still, yes, situation appropriate.

      This took far longer than it should have done. It’s hard to put into words.

  • Anonymous

    We EqD now

    • Medic_Starshine

      Uhh…. What.

      • plaster

        ignore him, he always does this when he sees an article he doesn’t like. Thinks we care about what we think of his opinion on a site he has no say in running

        • Medic_Starshine

          Hehehe, good to know

    • Oh hey its that guy, now its a party in here.

      And eeenope. If this was EqD the article would be..

      “Discussion: What favorite pony body pillow do you cuddle with alone in your bed at night”

      • Gnarbeard

        ^
        Nailed it!

      • Anonymous

        Since everyone seems to be very interested in my reasoning for saying that, it’s simply that in this article it’s addressed as an issue, something that’s not really much of a problem, but would be better if it wasn’t that way, however, we can’t do much about it. With this I completely agree.
        What my problem is how this is the same site that started “Artist of the Week” with people like CartoonLion, Slugbox and Skoon. So, in essence, you surely don’t try to do anything about it. Additionally I was about to say that the comments section has major problems as well judging by the reactions to my original post, but then I realized it was just plaster (PFFF he thinks he should express his opinions in the comments section of an article? What a moron, haha!).

        • I’m personally a fan of listening to anyone’s reasoning if they want to put the time to punch it out on the keyboard.

          I think a fair statement is that this site does not promote nor deny the fact. Artist of the Week once again being the topic behind it all, its the only article outside of an editorial like that, that touches on the subject and that’s because its an aspect of the artist’s world.

          We haven’t done too many editorials, but I’ve brought on some people who plan on doing some, Medic here is a perfect example with two in the last two weeks. He’s a new intern. Fully aware this subject would russle up some jimmies, but much like the artist of the week, I don’t restrict these guys on what they are doing.

          Yes I get final approval if they get to post it, but I don’t direct or command them. In the end outside of russled jimmies, the article isn’t going to hurt anyone, and actually gets people talking about the subject, rather than restrict themselves to whispering about it in back rooms.

          If we were a different site, might be a different story, but the great thing about DHN is that its not built around any community. You don’t hear about the DHNers running about. I consider this place neutral ground on a crossroad in the community that is filled with all different types of people.

          • I don’t think people need to get bent out of shape about it, after all this is the internet… hi are you new here? lol there is porn of absolutly everything (called Rule 34 I believe) this will always be the truth, we can either hide from it and feel that it is shameful, or live with it. If someone doesn’t like it, it is easy enough to avoid after all, I certainly manage to.

            MLP:FiM has one of the greatest fanbases I’ve ever seen, the pure love I’ve seen the bronies give to random strangers is amazing, the fan works and ponies who scour the episodes for any little hidden meanings… it’s a wonderful thing! And then there are the people who work on the show, the ones who acknowledge us the fans with the small nods and tips of the hat (Lyra sits like a human and tries to use her hands? Totally put in the storyboards, Derpy being Derpy? Yep, that was given to us, even if it was taken away due to 10 emails.)

            What I’m trying to say I guess, is why focus on what somepony doesn’t like? Those things will always be there, however so to will all the wonderful things that bring us as a comunity together, and I for one would never change that.

            I’m a brony, I watch a show that I am outside the primary demographic for, and I’m damn proud!

  • Anonymous Pony

    Sadly Rule 34 will always be around its something we just have to accept.

    Overall while I am more often then not against Rule 34 as I find it a horrid bastardization of the cartoon, comic, anime, etc characters we grew up with and/or are currently watching. I can see why it exists, many of us (myself included) get what I guess is called an Nerd/Otaku crush on fictional characters we like, and occasionally we will find them attractive, maybe more then we should.

    But yes overall as long as its not actually hurting anyone clopping and rule 34 in general are nothing really as evil as we may think they are.

    And i’d be lying if I didn’t admit to liking some of the more risqué antromorphized and humanized Twilight Sparkle fan-arts out there.

    But yeah I do agree that people who spam Clop & R34 on places where they should not be, are kind of giving fan bases bad names. Keep the XXX stuff to appropriate sites, and let the general fan art have the rest o the net, lol.

  • Daring DeDeDe

    I’m a clopper myself and exclusively so. That is I am, at least mentally, asexual. It was through MLP that after a long 4-year period I’ve felt real “pseudo-heterosexual” sexual attraction.

    And that is why I’m glad of the neutrality of this article. Human sexual attraction is defined more or less by shapes. The combination of Studio B’s portrail of the characters and the fandom’s anatomically accurate art is all it takes to turn someone with enough sexual openness to embrace clop.

    I’d also like to say a word to people stating they are ok with clop as long as it doesn’t invade areas of the web where it is inappropriate.

    Don’t waste your energy.

    This happens for the same reason someone may decide to run naked through a wedding party, or do a prank call. Unfortunate, but unavoidable.

  • pageturner

    As a “clopper” (that still feels like a weird label) I want to say I’m always glad to hear how much acceptance there is of those like myself. To me it’s just been a different area of fan content to explore and have fun with. I don’t see it as something to be ashamed of, but it’s something most fans don’t want to see or talk about. So I keep it all within appropriate channels to respect that. It’s the rare few who will give us a bad name by forcing it on others, posting it where it doesn’t belong. That’s normal attention-seeking, troll nature though. Most of the people are mature and perfectly happy to keep it out of other peoples’ faces.

  • royal

    Great article, it seems like some bronies need to be reminded of love and tolerance. Although i don’t enjoy clop and think it should stay to its own side of the internet we need to remember that cloppers are still people and deserve every right to find ponies attractive.

  • Medic_Starshine

    Daring and Pageturner: Thank you both for you input from the other side of the tracks, so to speak. You both have raised very valid points, and it does seem likely that a lot of the clop posted inappropriately is a result of trolling.

    Royal: Thank you! I think we could all use a reminder of our course principles every once and a while.

  • Adam

    I have never been involved in any community apart from bronies but I see it as swings and roundabouts. Yes, non-bronies will know that clop exists but on the plus side look at all the good we have done for the world with charities and fund raising. I don’t know if this has been done before (for example with the furry community as we are closely linked in some ways) but I like to think we have done our bit for trying to bring the utopia of Equestria to our troubled world.
    I do enjoy a good clop but I see love as an extension of friendship and see nothing wrong with it apart from the negative connotations that the non-brony community will try to associate with it. I do strongly believe that it shouldn’t be forced upon the ponies not interested in that side of our little community but then again any negative reactions to it will only draw attention to it… I like to know it’s there for me to easily find if I want to, but it should be each individual ponies choice to what level they want to interact with it.

  • JiiKoo

    A good article, though it was sort of difficult to read because the paragraphs were quite long.

    I usually try to avoid overtly “cloppy” material myself, especially pics, but it’s not like I loathe it or dislike people who like it or make it. My reason for doing so is that I like the show partly because of it’s innocence. I don’t want to sexualize these rainbow coloured miniature horses that were aimed for kids because if I did I couldn’t look at them the same way. I don’t want to take away their innocence in my eyes.

    So yeah, at least with me it’s just a personal choice. Accidentally seeing stuff like that doesn’t ruin my day or anything, I just prefer not to see them. We are all adults here (or at least should try to act as if we were), there’s no point getting butthurt if and when someone else likes ponies and shows it with art as long as they don’t shove it at anyone’s face.

    One thing I’d want to say about Love and Tolerance is that it doesn’t mean you have to just shut up and take everything. If you don’t like something you can say so, just do so in a polite way. If someone posts pony porn in a place where it isn’t appropriate they can’t invoke love and tolerance when you ask them to stop.

    To summarize: clop material should be kept where it’s appropriate and not shoved in anyone’s face. If that can be done everything is good, anyone can like whatever they want, it’s not like liking ponies is inherently bad, it’s just different.

    And I’d also like to reply to Daring DeDeDe:

    Yes, it might be unavoidable but that doesn’t make it acceptable. Trolls will do what trolls do but we don’t need to be okay with it and I want to say so.

  • Appleshy

    I’m a clopper myself too.

  • Shinigami Dad

    I agree wholeheartedly with the need for Bronies to be self-policing, and that not only includes, but *requires* confronting trolls. I’m all for clop staying on R34-based sites, but I have happily “Loved and Tolerated the Sh*t” out of FB trolls and their ilk when I find them out-of-bounds!

  • Citrus Rain

    As long as it’s posted publicly, it’s okay…
    I’m sure the google thing could be fixed with a little help on google’s end… (like recognising an image tagged “r34” as a automatic nsfw flag)

    • Citrus Rain

      WHOOPS!

      *not posted publicly

      Not sure if I forgot to type “not” or if it vanished (this tablet keeps deleting words and moving my cursor)

  • Present Perfect

    It’s not hard: if you don’t want clop to affect the fandom’s image, don’t post it in easily-accessible places. If you run a tumblr or something that mixes in R34, leave a warning. Above all, don’t freak out when someone posts it somewhere it shouldn’t be. We’ve got plenty of safeguards in place.

  • shutterfly

    I agree with this article. Screw the media, and be yourself.

  • Not That Anonymous

    I sometimes wonder if maybe I should have something against cloppers since the objects of their affections are animals. Sometimes I wonder if it’s bad that I don’t. That is isn’t hurting an actual pony goes a long way toward not holding it against anyone and not considering it bestiality, I guess. But it still isn’t for me. Unless…

    Is it clopping if it’s humanized?

  • captain Audesigh

    I’ve looked at “Clop” images in the past and I’ve also seen “Safe Clop” where it’s just dressed up with no sexual acts and Rule 34 and the like will always be around.

    But with exception to a few idiot “Bronies” who decide posting R34 on public board such as Facebook etc… I’ve only ever found it in places that deal specifically with that type of thing, so unless you go out looking for it then there is a good chance 8 / 10 I would say that you won’t find anything. As with google leaving the safe search option on or switching to Filtered would render 90% of all “Clop / Porn” images and text invisible to any search.

  • swantayle

    Whilst being a clopper myself it in mu eyes should always be about the show first . We must think hoe stongly is the mlp.community portrayed through social media and other general word of mouth and consider how much of what gets trough is clop as most if not many people are not looking for this when they first look into mlp so as such if it reflects.on the show and community i.love thus having an adverse effect on the show and possible non conntinuation of the show i apologise to my fellow cloopers as my vote will lie in the discontinuation of clop material for me the show will always come first – swanny

  • swantayle

    Sorry for the bad typing my android doest particularly run well on pc based sites