The controversy surrounding bronies in the furry fandom have led some to discuss whether the two groups are distinctly different or whether they have more in common than they have differences. To put it another way, it’s worth asking whether the distinction between a furry and a brony a meaningful one, or whether it is simply a description of a difference in taste.
The data have suggested at least three statistically significant differences between furries and bronies. First, it seems that, compared to furries, bronies are, on average, in worse physical health. Admittedly, the reasoning for this difference in physical health was unexpected and, for the moment, has escaped our ability to explain, though future research may help shed light on this difference (and whether it is a consistent one). A second difference is that, compared to furries, bronies have a less-formed sense of identity, though this difference is quite small.
Finally, the data suggest that, on average, bronies experienced greater amounts of bullying than did furries, although both groups experienced significant bullying, especially in their childhood years.1 While the differences in bullying between furries and bronies are consistent throughout their lives (under age 10, during the teenage years, and into adulthood), the difference is most prominent during the ages of 19-24, which indicates that many bronies experience significant bullying as a result of their self-identification as bronies (given that, due to the show only recently coming on the air, they could not identify as a brony until recently). Whether or not a history of being bullied is one of the factors that drove bronies to self-identify with other bronies remains to be seen in future research.
While the data have shown that there are small differences between furries and bronies, the vast majority of analyses revealed that, for the most part, furries and bronies share most things in common. There are no age or sex differences between the groups, nor are there differences in sexual orientation, relationship status, relationship satisfaction, or education level between furries and bronies. The groups do not differ in the extent to which they identify as a furry, identify with other furries, or identify with their fursona species. Furries and bronies do not differ in the extent to which they believe they are less than 100% human, nor are they differently likely to wish they were 0% human. Both furries and bronies in the furry fandom hold the furry community in equally high regard, and they do not differ in terms of their psychological well-being or self-esteem.
In sum, with only a few minor exceptions, furries and bronies are relatively indistinguishable from one another beyond the differences in the content of their fandom.
- See 10.3 Bullying