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.
wHOA WHOA WHOA WHOAAAAAAAA!!!!!
wait a minute here.
you’ve made a fantastic point here and all, but listen, are YOU TELLING ME. THAT AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD GIRL RAN TO YOU. TERRIFIED. JUST NEARLY GOT ABDUCTED. BY A STRANGER, AN ADULT MAN. WHO TOUCHED HER. ALONE IN AN ELEVATOR.
and you let that predator walk free?
the little girl is scared of reporting him and you just go with it? what the fuck. whAT THE FUCK. THAT LITTLE GIRL ISN’T THE ONLY LITTLE GIRL WHO’S IN DANGER.
LISTEN YA’LL YOU CAN MAKE ALL THE GREAT POINTS YOU WANT ON TUMBLR BUT IF YOU MEET A CHILD WHO CONFIDES IN YOU THEY FEEL UNSAFE, EXPLICITLY TELL YOU A GROWN MAN IS HUNTING THEM OUT TO DO AWFUL THINGS TO THEM AND LITERALLY ABDUCT THEM, WHAT THE FUCK? YOU GET THAT PIECE OF SHIT IN JAIL. YOU HAVE SOMEONE KEEP HIM BUSY AND YOU GET THE FUCKING COPS. WHERE WERE HER PARENTS?? YOU ARE AN ADULT!!!! ACT LIKE ONE AND PROTECT LITTLE GIRLS AT ALL COSTS!! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU???? THAT GUY WAS FREE TO WALK OUT OF THERE AND CONTINUE BEING A GODDAMN PREDATOR I’M
…yeah, someone should have actually done something about that scumbag. Keep in mind that the bystander effect is a thing, and don’t be yet another bystander.
what the fuck is wrong with op seriously
hey, OP, you could possibly still do something about this. if you saw the guy so often you could probably describe him to cops and con organisers and shit. maybe they had cameras running they can get images of the guy from. maybe other guests did.
and not giving little girls the idea that not reporting predators when you have other adults literally surrounding you to keep you safe is the right choice. that’d probably be good too.
Fuck the commenters. Because you know what? I bet a lot of other bronies witnessed this as well and did shit all. At least the OP and her friends physically guarded this child. They were not bystanders by any means and fuck you again.
You keep saying “get him thrown in jail” but you know how rarely that ever happens? Because con organizers are very likely to take a skeptical if outright hostile and useless stance towards this and these women know it.
Not to mention that if they did get a cop to mosey on down there, this eleven year old kid would have to try to articulate what happened and the cop would say “there’s no evidence” and “if I didn’t see anything, I can’t help you” and “it’s her word against his”.
I’ve had friends who were grown ass women when they reported rapes that they had good evidence for and they got cops telling them not to bother filing a report, there was nothing the police could do anyway.
So don’t act like the option to “tell” someone about this is totally there and totally reliable. Don’t act like con organizers who run these things weren’t already making it clear that they were willing to cater to bronies by letting them do all those things without saying “hey, keep it kid friendly” or “watch your merchandise, there are kids around”.
You keep talking like there’s this perfect system that’s totally in favor of victims that will act swiftly to protect the well being of little girl who experience an attempt at an assault or even actually are assaulted/raped.
There’s not. Okay. You keep acting like there was good, reliable help to get in the first place.
I’m here to tell you THERE IS NOT. I was targeted by a grown ass man who picked me up in a fandom meant for kids when I was 13/14 years old. And let me tell you, there ain’t help to get. Because we live in a system where the onus is on the victim to prove, to a standard that juries seeking death penalties aren’t held to, that they were not only raped/assaulted but that they were “good” victims who didn’t do anything wrong.
This kid WOULD have been asked if she’d done anything to make this man think she wanted to go to his room. This kid WOULD have had it implied or outright said over and over again that maybe she “tempted” him.
Moreover, this kid was already traumatized and hiding in a booth. You really think she’s gonna be able give a statement to the police that they’ll take seriously?
Teaching a kid not to trust the police is a fucking survival skill for all too many kids on this planet and in the U.S. So don’t yell at these women because, when faced with a system that would’ve ground this kid into dust and just added to her trauma, they decided to roll with what made the kid feel safest and most at ease and took it upon themselves TO PHYSICALLY GUARD HER.
What they taught this kid is to trust her instincts on who to trust and who not to trust. They taught this kid that she was perfectly RIGHT to know who to run to in an emergency and who to run FROM in one.
So just fuck y’all who are more concerned with yelling at the OP for what she didn’t do rather than maybe concentrating that energy on telling bronies and all the other predators of the world not to fucking grab 11-year-old girls. If people put that much vehemence into stopping rape culture, there wouldn’t be this shit at all.
But nope, let’s blame the one person who ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING USEFUL.
You know what is also a part of rape culture? POLICING THE DECISIONS OF ASSAULT SURVIVORS WITH REGARD TO HOW THEY HANDLE THEIR ASSAULT.
The idea that choosing not to go to authorities is the “wrong” choice, as one of you pretty plainly stated, is only coherent if you assume that the authorities can be trusted. And as studies of rape culture have found again and again, authorities are often perpetuating the problem.
The fact that you think its appropriate to accuse the people who respected this child’s wishes with regards to her own experience of not doing the right thing tells me that at best, y’all don’t get it and at worst, you would rather survivors revictimize themselves to placate your sense of a just world than be given the autonomy to do as they feel they need to.
The OP is a fucking hero in this particular situation, and you three need to seriously reassess your priorities.