Proposal Title

Lions and Tigers and Ponies, Oh My: Should Adult Males and Adolescent Boys Be Allowed to Assimilate into the "My Little Pony" Culture

Primary Faculty Mentor’s Name

Dr. Chris Geyerman

Proposal Track

Student

Session Format

Paper Presentation

Abstract

Abstract

My Little Pony has been a staple within American culture, especially in regards to adolescent females. Widespread interest has been renewed with the introduction of the newest edition to the My Little Pony franchise entitled My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and has attracted positive praise for its focus on style, story and characterization. For a program that is predominantly targeted towards young female viewers, the show has gained a large and dedicated adult male fan base. These fans have created a self-functioning community that exists to support other male fans around the world through the creation of artistic material including drawings, story telling, music, videos and more. These men and young boys create their own symbolic meaning using the show’s fictional animal characters thus generating bonds with others through those shared meanings. The construction of those bonds has led to the creation of tightly knit group of individuals that share the same interest in regards to digital media – also referred to as a “fandom”. The My Little Pony fandom, just like any other, has its own specific hierarchy, communication methods and culture. However, unlike other fandoms, the My Little Pony male community has assimilated into a previously female-dominated domain thus causing friction between both spheres. Furthermore, those individuals outside the fandom view “bronies” as homosexuals or sexual deviants that seek to soil television programs targeted towards children. This research report explores how “bronies” create their own variable meaning of the symbols within the show and highlights ways to mitigate the systematic degradation of the My Little Pony male community using general semantic concepts and beliefs. This evaluation of “bronies” and their ability to create meaning through My Little Pony indicates that the male community serves as a safe haven for those who do not assimilate into normative masculine culture.

Keywords

Bronies, Fandom, Semiotics, Indexing, Hypermasculinity, Heteronormative

Award Consideration

1

Location

Room 2904

Presentation Year

2014

Start Date

11-15-2014 8:30 AM

End Date

11-15-2014 9:30 AM

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Nov 15th, 8:30 AM Nov 15th, 9:30 AM

Lions and Tigers and Ponies, Oh My: Should Adult Males and Adolescent Boys Be Allowed to Assimilate into the "My Little Pony" Culture

Room 2904

Abstract

My Little Pony has been a staple within American culture, especially in regards to adolescent females. Widespread interest has been renewed with the introduction of the newest edition to the My Little Pony franchise entitled My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and has attracted positive praise for its focus on style, story and characterization. For a program that is predominantly targeted towards young female viewers, the show has gained a large and dedicated adult male fan base. These fans have created a self-functioning community that exists to support other male fans around the world through the creation of artistic material including drawings, story telling, music, videos and more. These men and young boys create their own symbolic meaning using the show’s fictional animal characters thus generating bonds with others through those shared meanings. The construction of those bonds has led to the creation of tightly knit group of individuals that share the same interest in regards to digital media – also referred to as a “fandom”. The My Little Pony fandom, just like any other, has its own specific hierarchy, communication methods and culture. However, unlike other fandoms, the My Little Pony male community has assimilated into a previously female-dominated domain thus causing friction between both spheres. Furthermore, those individuals outside the fandom view “bronies” as homosexuals or sexual deviants that seek to soil television programs targeted towards children. This research report explores how “bronies” create their own variable meaning of the symbols within the show and highlights ways to mitigate the systematic degradation of the My Little Pony male community using general semantic concepts and beliefs. This evaluation of “bronies” and their ability to create meaning through My Little Pony indicates that the male community serves as a safe haven for those who do not assimilate into normative masculine culture.