The taming of the Bronies: animals, autism and fandom as therapeutic performance

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Pramaggiore, Maria
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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In defining and defending the Brony fandom, scholars and journalists emphasise the way these primarily adult male fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic challenge traditional gender norms. These accounts fail to examine the significance of the horse to the Bronies’ bid for non-normative masculinities. This article focuses on the implicitly therapeutic function of the animated equine, reading the fandom’s discourse about itself in two documentaries within the context of a contemporary (and often antifeminist) rhetoric that links adolescent masculinity to forms of disability that are ameliorated through Equine Assisted Therapy. This therapeutic resonance—based on the characteristic movement of horses—is situated within a broader history of cinema and visual culture in which horses have typically been recruited as vehicles of physical and psychic transport.
Brony , Fandom , Horse , Disability , Equine assisted therapy , Non-normative masculinities , My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Pramaggiore, M. (2015) 'The taming of the Bronies: animals, autism and fandom as therapeutic performance', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 9.