Fractured Fandom

This page began with a focus on the cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and its unexpected audiences and fans, but since then the research has taken a different direction.  In looking into this show and its fandom, I became interested in how this disparate audience relates to the other, more intended audiences of the series, and what happens when the overall fandom of the series tries to contain these disparate audiences.  It is a phenomenon that occurs in other fandoms as where where fans cross gendered and generational lines.

Much public discourse and academic scholarship has been on celebrating fans and their fandoms, and I wholeheartedly agree that there are many benefits to being a fan.  But, at the same time, we are starting to recognize the problems that exist within fandoms, that threaten to emotionally and even physically hurt fans, and these problems should be addressed for fandom as a phenomenon, as an institution, as a way of life to truly be celebrate.

In an analysis of what I am terming “fractured fandom”, I examine how the different audiences in the MLP:FIM fandom responded to the announcement and release of the series’ first animated feature, Equestria Girls.  However, I also plan on going beyond just this case study, looking at the problems that exist through fandom that can tear fans apart, can make being a fan no longer a fun thing, by looking at the stories people have from all fandoms, not just media or pop culture ones.  If there is a problem with fandom in general, and with being a fan, then we need to address what that problem is — and why the fracturing is occurring.

You can follow this ongoing research project by checking out these blog posts:

 

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