So there might still be a bit of skepticism going around about the existence of the fanbase of this show. John de Lancie's documentary was supposed to clear all that up, but how is anypony in the dark supposed to find it when it's only on his website and amazon, thus you have to be looking for it to find it? Although if you have proof of its existence it might be enough. If he ever puts it in stores on shelves, the fandom will have the same place in the world as things like Star Trek, and anti-bronies will be as frowned upon as racists are today.
But until then, here's some arguments you can give to skeptics, which can alternately be used while explaining the phenomenon to someone in the dark before even saying you watch the show. And if they don't believe you, tell them to look it up!
- Among many other forms of appeal, it has references to stuff little girls are not likely to have seen, like Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Monty Python, Tremors, Alien, The Terminator, and The Big Lebowski, a few of which are rated R. Especially Game of Thrones (in the episode "Tanks for the Memories"), which is one of the most mature shows in existence. And much more. References mean nothing to people who haven't seen the stuff they reference, they're counting on the audience, or at least some huge portion of it, having seen them. Kids can still enjoy the show but the references will go over their heads.
- References aside, there are also situations that younger children are not likely to fully understand or appreciate. (compare Disney movies, they're entertaining enough when you watch it as a kid, and when you rewatch it when you're older, you get a whole lot of stuff you didn't before.)
- It was a great show even before this event, but the end of Season 2 and beginning of Season 3 had epic Disney quality episodes with very dark, malicious, and intimidating villains the likes of which could never be seen in, say, Dora the Explorer. The darker of the two, King Sombra, licks his lips at the prospect of skewering a baby dragon, and dies in the end, in a sorta graphic way (yet spectacular). The other possibly falls to her death, putting it atleast on par with Disney movies, but there is debate that she survived. Mostly among fans who like her so much they want her to stay breathing.
- We have our own name (males = bronies, females = pegasisters), and conventions (BronyCon)
- John de Lancie, who plays Q, does the voice of the villain Discord on the show who was based off him. Discord has become more popular than Q, and he's a Star Trek character!
- John de Lancie did a documentary about the fanbase, saying how we are generally good people, stereotypes the media create about us are false, it changes people's outlook for the better, the friendship lessons are important to all people, and it deserves the same place as other fandom like Star Trek and anime. (It's called "Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony." Order it on amazon today!)
- Lauren Faust took a name with a reputation and turned it into something different. Compare LJN, who did the opposite: Taking popular movie titles with good reputations and making them into horrible, poorly designed video games. Many of which are reviewed by the Angry Video Game Nerd.
- It wasn't the first generation, but the third generation that even created the "girly stereotype". G1 was more like an older animated fantasy movie, featuring a surprisingly dark and violent villain who threatens to behead Spike (a baby dragon), and dies in the end, though not as graphically as Sombra. So basically My Little Pony on TV began as one of the few TV cartoons in the 80s to kill characters, not only Tirek but Lavan as well (it was quite a rarity then). And it has some pretty heavy storylines to it sometimes, even though things always work out in the end. It just got overshadowed by G3 (G2 didn't have a TV series). G4 exceeded G1 with its humor, character develoment, moral outlook, animation, and references.
- If someone were to search the web for fanfiction, fanart, or fan videos, they're sure to find a lot of it. Some with violence (which can get graphic), language (which can get coarse), and... suggestive content. (of particular note, the gory fanfic Cupcakes which is more violent than Saw) Surely they can't think all of it was done by little girls.
- Statistics show that over 80% of the audience is male and above 16. A high portion of the female fraction is above 16 as well.
- Nintendo and/or Sega must watch the show, because they named "Rainbow Dash" as a joke answer to a quiz on Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Also many celebrities watch it as well.
- An Indiana Jones-themed episode alludes to the prospect: Don't reject something you've never tried yet.
- Applejack says "damn" in Look Before You Sleep (check closed captions), and Fluttershy said "You are throwing your own lives away on pointless pursuits that nopony else gives a flying feather about!" Which is a reference to a saying with a shorter f word in place of feather (not to mention making a motion with her hoof that humans would do when giving someone the finger). Why would they do that if they didn't think any of the audience knew the original phrases?
- The fandom itself is, as anyone can tell by watching John de Lancie's documentary, full of the most decent and accepting people there are. They don't try to ruin a person's life for liking something they dislike, nor should anyone who isn't in the fandom. What's the point in discriminating against people for liking something you dislike?
- The writers have thrown specific things in for the fans. For instance, they canonized a fan name for a pony, Derpy Hooves (though complaints about this with the pretext of her "making fun of disabled people" caused them to undo this).
- Twilight vs. Tirek, in the episode "Twilight's Kingdom - Part 2" (which is on the DVD "Keys of Friendship"). An epic battle the kind of which would never be seen in G3, Dora, etc. This battle is sure to convince any skeptic. Also of note, Tirek is sent to Tartarus in the end. To younger kids, Tartarus is just a prison, but to those of us who know Greek mythology, Tartarus is hell.
- However a show is formatted, and whoever some of the writers initially intended it for, if it has appeal to older viewers, then what is it really - A little kid show or an all-audiences show? What is it that even makes the former?
- For the gender aspect: A lot of people are inclined to say a show is only for a female audience if it has five or more female protagonists. Ignoring the fact that Sailor Moon shattered that barrier first, and that debate ended years ago. And after Sailor Moon and MLP, people still haven't learned as I have heard a few snide remarks toward male fans of Winx Club (which also has a villain based off Sauron from Lord of the Rings, which has 9 male protagonists and plenty of female fans). Another note: It's easy for a man to say he doesn't want to watch a show because it has a set of five or six female protagonists. But if a white man said he didn't want to watch a show because most of the main characters are black, it'd be pretty clear to anyone that he was racist. So how is the above mentioned philosophy not sexist? No one seems to mind if it's one or two female protagonists, why should six be treated any different?
- Also for the gender aspect: The only series I know of that has a mostly female fanbase is Twilight, and that's not for its female characters, but for its male characters whom they find attractive, as from what I heard the whole story is just terrible and Edward and Jacob are the only reason there are any TwiHards.
- Negative things the media says about the fandom are false, just stereotypes that were made up.
Plenty of things to say to convince people of the existence of the fanbase. Also watching an episode themselves might convert them, provided it's a good episode.
And if they don't listen, refuse to look it up to confirm, and treat you badly, they might not be skeptics, they might be anti-bronies. Some of them are fully aware of the fandom and just use MLP as an excuse to bully people. They're basically prejudiced discriminators and formed on the same basic principals as racism: Indifference, intolerance, and ignorance. Some would even dump a friend over it. Over watching a show about friendship. That's bucked up. Deal with them in ways you're supposed to deal with bullies, and remember they're usually not very smart, some have been known to make selfdestructive moves. I can expect they're cowards, too.
I can expect some might want to print that list out, hence why I described it in detail as if saying it to those in the dark