“I’m just here to enjoy the Ponies”: My Little Pony, Bronies and the limits of feminist intent

Kyra Hunting, Rebecca C. Hains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The unexpected adult, primarily male, audience of the children’s series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, known as Bronies, has been the subject of extensive commentary for their apparent violation of gender norms. Drawing from a qualitative survey of a 2915 Bronies we argue that the fandom is deceptively heterogenous. In particular, we explore the attitudes of members of the Brony Fandom to the feminist messages of the series, the feminism of series’ creator Lauren Faust, and whether these messages are perceived as impactful. Our paper argues that even within distinctive, close-knit fan communities interpretations interpretive and ideological responses to a media text and context vary significantly. Further, we argue that interpretations of fan objects appears primarily determined by preexisting attitudes. Ultimately, we find that fans utilize a number of rhetorical techniques to reframe media text’s messages, producer’s intent, and other audience member’s responses to fit their preexisting belief systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-151
Number of pages14
JournalPopular Communication
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks to Ashley Hinck, Sharon Mazzarella, and Ilana Nash for their feedback on earlier drafts of this paper, and to Amy Smith and Judi Cook for their involvement at this project’s earliest stages.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Bronies
  • Fandom
  • cross-demographic audiences
  • feminist media
  • girl’s media
  • Masculinity
  • My Little Pony
  • children's media
  • Television

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

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