Meet the Bronies

The Psychology of the Adult My Little Pony Fandom


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About the Book

In 2010, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic premiered on television. A large, avid fandom soon emerged—not the pre-teen female demographic earlier versions of the franchise had been created for, but a roughly 80 percent male audience, most of them age 14–24. With this came questions about the nature of the audience who would come to call themselves “bronies.” Brony Studies was born. Approaching the fandom from a perspective of clinical, social and experimental psychology, this study presents eight years of research, written for academics and fans alike. An understanding of the brony fan culture has broader application for other fan communities as well.

About the Author(s)

Patrick Edwards is a retired clinician who has been working in the field and teaching for well over 30 years. He is the founder of the Brony Study Project and has published both within the field and recently finishing a series of fantasy fiction novels based on fan experience and psychology inspired by his work with the brony community. He lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Daniel P. Chadborn is an assistant professor of psychology at New Mexico Highlands University. He has published a number of papers in both psychological and cross-disciplinary journals on social identity, fan culture, and their association with a number of factors including stigma, charitable giving, inspiration, and sense of community. He lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Courtney N. Plante is a faculty member at MacEwan University in Canada and is a co-founder of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project which has studied the furry fandom for over a decade. His published works on fandom research, media influence on behavior, as well as other interests span a variety of topics within the social psychological perspective.

Stephen Reysen is an associate professor of psychology at Texas A&M University–Commerce, and has had a longstanding interest in researching fan communities. His research focuses on personal and social identity, as well as global citizenship.

Marsha Howze Redden is a retired full-time clinician with more than 30 years working in clinical practice. In addition to volunteer work she has continued to maintain her license and maintains a small private practice. She lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Patrick Edwards, Daniel P. Chadborn, Courtney N. Plante, Stephen Reysen, Marsha Howze Redden

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 303
Bibliographic Info: 82 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6371-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3795-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xii
Preface 1
1. Meet the Bronies! 5
2. Science Is Magic: The History of Brony Study 18
3. Sampling, Statistics, Research Design and Other Nerd Stuff 30
4. Just How Extremely Unexpected Are the Adult Fans of My Little Pony? 44
5. From Ponyville to Manehattan: The Background and Family Life of Bronies 58
6. Equestria Girls and Pony Boys: A Few Final Demographic Comparisons 69
7. Welcome to Equestria: The Making of a Brony 78
8. Come for the Show, Stay for the Swag 88
9. “Yes, but why?” Brony Motivation 101
10. The Pony I Want to Be 115
11. Rule 34: Ponies, Pornography and Perceptions of the Fandom 129
12. The World Outside MLP 149
13. “One of us”: Bronies as a Fandom 156
14. “Where I belong”: Other Motivations for Fandom Participation 169
15. Inter–and ­Intra-Fandom Dynamics 181
16. Personality Profiles of People Who Prefer Ponies 189
17. “Eww, bronies!” Stigma Toward the Brony Fandom 201
18. Bronies: A Surprisingly Happy, ­Well-Adjusted Group of Fans 213
19. Making the World Better, One Kind Act at a Time 222
20. All Good Things: The Future of Friendship and the Fandom 233
21. Dear Princess Celestia: Parting Words from Bronies and the Research Team 248
Chapter Notes 257
References 273
Index 289