My Little Pony

I have been avoiding writing about My Little Pony because  I have so few positive things to say about it, and part of me feels bad picking on ponies. But here I go: I do not like their colors (pink/ purple/ lemon yellow/rainbow etc); I do not like their expressions (submissive smile, curly eyelashes, eyes cast downward) I do not like their names (Pinkie Pie, Daffadaisy, Rainbow Dash) I do not like  the accoutrements that are either too small or too large (giant plastic playhouses, tiny clothing of the Polly Pocket persuasion including brushes and bows). At my mother-in-law’s house, I saw a pony from about ten years ago, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the modern one: pink and purple, yes, but just two shades, not lavender to royal purple and rose deepening into to bright pink; her tale was straight, not curly; she had  no eyelashes at all, and no sparkles; ponies today have evolved into uber-barbies, even their eyes are multi-colored with stars and hearts embedded, and they sport swirly tatoos also with hearts, stars, and rainbows on their backs or legs.

I guess these stories can be good for young kids, I’d say one – three year olds because there really is nothing scary in them at all, no wicked characters. The problems are always pretty minor and usually involve conflict over friendship, for example,  two ponies want to star in the same play; or one pony wins a prize at a fair when she wishes for another another prize that her friend wins. One of the most dramatic stories has all the rainbows disappearing from Ponyland. Of course, nothing is more horrifying than a My Little Pony story without a rainbow on every page. Luckily, these rainbows just fade, they never actaully vanish.

The books themselves are very flimsy and skinny and the positive of that is when I travel with my kids, I buy several books (maybe ten, they’re also cheap and at Barnes an Noble if you buy 3 or 5, you can get one free) so the kids have new stuff to keep them occupied on the plane ride. The negative of the cheapness is that they come apart and don’t last long (but I can’t say I care too much, even encouraging the ten month old to take a look)

These ponies threaten to dominate kid world just in numbers of products associated with them. At least the books are books, and the kids are reading or trying to. But the books are accompanied by so many toys and toys sets: these ponies have discos and circuses and tea parties etc. Not to mention movies– I would guess in the hundreds, but maybe it just feels like that.

Alice started loving these ponies when she was two and is still a little interested at 3 1/2. How I cope is we make up stories with them, using them as characters with her other creatures (wild animals etc) and they go on adventures and such, rescuing butterflies from evil spiders’ webs.

Ponies get ***SSS/ G*** rating. They could not be more stereotypical in their looks, names, sceneries, storylines etc but they get one ***G*** because the females are the stars of the show. I can think of only one major male character in the series, and this kind of consistent attention to a positive female friendship is a theme too rare in a book world dominated by boy buddy stories.

8 thoughts on “My Little Pony

  1. There has been a recent reincarnation of the my Little Pony series. It’s called Friendship is Magic and it was created by Lauren Faust of power puff girls fame. Every single one of the characters are unique and realistic, with their own strengths and faults. Instead of having completely flat stereotypes that like tea parties, the shOws characters are well developed and realistic.
    Also, the story arcs are much more sophisticated. There is of course the slice of life sort of story, but it is very realistic and is enjoyable to people of all ages. Also, the mane ponies occasionally have to have the world as they know it from ending, which results in epic action packed adventures. Of course, these all result in a lesson learned about friendship, but it is never preachy. The lessons are very touching and I strive to apply the principles of this television show to my own life.
    I strongly encourage you to give this reboot a try. It’s not everyponys favorite but I think you may at least reconsider the notion that MLP is a stereotype.

    • I have to agree. The new series is surprising hopeful and not at all annoying as I thought it would be. I am okay with my daughter watching this. I am actually entertained by them too. They are far from perfect, but a heck of a lot better than other stuff I have seen. Taken from Wikipedia
      about the creator Lauren Faust “My Little Pony was one of her favorite childhood toys,[11] but she was disappointed that her imagination at the time was nothing like the animated shows, in which the characters, according to Faust, had “endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying”. With the chance to work on My Little Pony, she hoped to prove that “cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness”

  2. I really had hoped that My Little Pony had gone to cartoon and toy heaven. One of the problems I had with them was the stereotypical nature of the way they were depicted on the cartoons. The ads for the toys spent a lot of emphasis on little girls combing the pony tails looking so blissful. The focus was on the beauty of the ponies in their pastel world. I hated the song that went with the ads. I worked really hard to distract my daughter from the Ponies. Her interest in them didn’t last long.

  3. The rating system is 1- 3 S’s for sterotyoing, 1 – 3 G’s for girlpower (see key below) but its supposed to be a side by side rating, a film or bok can get an S rating (for example, its about a shy princess who wants to get married) but also get Gs..she kills dragons to save her love. But perhaps the side by side scale is too complicated and it shoudl be a linear scale with GGG the highest and SSS the lowest. Would that be easier to understand?

    Margot

    Ratings key

    GGG Excellent role modeling, great for girls

    GG Good role modeling, good for girls.

    G some positive rold modeling for girls.

    S Some gender stereotyping.

    SS Quite a bit of gender stereotyping

    SSS Basically this movie is a lesson is how to stereotype.

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