More Sexy Toy Makeovers: My Little Pony, Rainbow Brite, and Candy Land

Previously the Sociological Images blog has posted on the sexy makeovers recently given to Dora the Explorer, Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby, Lisa Frank, Trolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, and the Sun Maid.  Here we have three more.

My Little Pony

The original My Little Pony, chubby and adorable (source):

Today they’re thinner, with an open mouth, more provocative stances, and more responsive positions (source):

Rainbow Brite

Vintage Rainbow Brite:

Rainbow Brite today:

Finally, Monika alerted us to the new look for Candy Land.  First, vintage Candy Land.



1962 Candy Land book:


From the website of Candy Land today:

This post was originally published at Sociological Images.


  1. I need to add these two, as I was aghast when I saw the new "Holly Hobbies", I adored her when I was a kid, and she's now… I don't know, some kind of jeans-clad teen-mom in the making?

    Then I thought of Strawberry Shortcake, oh dear me, please let her be the same I thought… But nope. She's slimmed down and become hipper too:

  2. offensive, yes; oversexualized, yes; hilarious, yes. princess frostina & the duke of swirl are slaying me. they look like a parody.

    • Ok, apart from the Princess Frostina one, and maybe the Princess Lolly one, I don’t see how any of these are sexualized, especially the ponies. How on earth are any of them sexualized? They have bigger hooves and are, in my opinion, prettier. (I say that because the new ones are more colorful.) As for them being thinner and teaching girls about body image, ect, I disagree. All of the ones except the Candyland example are pretty much just more modern. Nothing else. If anything, they’re better proportioned and more realistic. Styles change throughout the years. I’m sure that in the 1800s, people would have thought the 1950 toys were provocative. As a budding feminist and liberal myself (I’m twelve), I admit, believing in something and going on rants is fun. However, you need to actually find something worth fighting about. Sexualization of toys? If you want something like that, go bye a Barbie or watch anime. (Anime can be pretty sexual, but a lot of that is just the general style.) A lot of times, feminists and liberals and such go on crusades against things that are, frankly, not worth it. For Example: The My Little Pony article posted here. There are a lot of sexualized things in this modern day and age, but these toys are not an example. The urge to fight for a cause can be overwhelming, but there are plenty of ACTUAL causes, not just kids toys.
      -Mya Aquamorte, 12 years old, Feminist, Liberal, and Gay-Rights Activist.

  3. I honestly don't see the problem with most of these. I do not see the ponies as being "sexier" now. It's a different style, but I would not call it sexy. As for Rainbow Brite…she looks more "real"? now, but I think the clothing is provocative or anything. As for Candy Land, aside from the first image which could be questionable on several fronts, the rest of the images seem fine to me. Though I have to say it does look much more exciting than I remembered it!

    As to the link to the Holly Hobbies above (which I had never heard of before), I honestly thought the modern image looked like an attempt to dress the character as a more modern girl. I think she looks cute. Honestly, the 1976 version looks like Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie.

    • I agree completely. She goes from a country bumpkin to a modern tween that you would probably see at almost every school in America. Nothing sexual about it.

  4. its not so much what we as adults with our educated filters think but what these images convey to small girls who have yet to develop such filters. think about what it teaches and the lasting imprint it leaves for girls as they struggle to develop a healthy self image…

  5. If anything, the My Little Pony is an improvement. The original is demure and shy, it's eyes are cast down. The new ones have their heads thrust forward and they all look happy. The head/body ratio echoes that of a child.
    Rainbow Brite looks like she can walk by herself now. Her longer arms and legs make her look more able.
    As for Candyland… yeah that fairy on the front looks like a porn star…

  6. Feminist Fatale covered this in June:

  7. i have two daughters and it utterly depresses me what has happened to toys. this is why i keep buying old toys on ebay.

  8. Maybe it's just me, but all of these images — old and new alike — look characterless, insipid, vapid, pathetic, and Disney®-fied.
    They're all like Kraft "cheez" or the "froot" in Froot Loops (which must be spelled those ways as there's no "cheese" and no "fruit"); processed to the point that I can discern no sign or vestige of any human hand, mind, or heart in the conception, nor in the execution.
    Compare Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh renderings to those of E. H. Shepard, the artist for the books, or the revolting same-ness of over half of the cartoon characters from AstroBoy and Speed Racer on…
    As Ms Gertrude Stein once famously said about Oakland, "there is no there there."
    I truly don't get how any child could love any of these un-characters.

    • Oh come on. I’ve never watched/read? AstroBoy or Speed Racer, but don’t hate on Winnie the Pooh. I grew up with the new version, watching the movies and such. I loved him, and to this day I have a Winnie the Pooh plushie on my bed. And after I watched all the new movies, I didn’t conform to society or loose braincells, I wrote my own stories on the characters. The styles of the modern day are just different, not necessarily less lovable. <3

  9. I've seen Dora go through this, but I don't think any of these toys you listed are being sexed up.

    Rainbow Brite–She's been transitioned from a young kid to a tween. I think her design sucks, but is it a sexy redesign? Not really. They have appropriate clothing for their age group and don't have the slightest hint of breasts. They're wearing moon boots, not high heels. What about them is "sexy"?

    My Little Pony–First of all, that's not the current line of MLPs, it's the one being filtered out of stores. Second of all, I agree that the design pictured is awful compared to 1980s MLP (and 2000 MLP . . . and new 2010 MLP. It is just a horrible, horrible toy design.) Third of all, the fact that it's a crappy design doesn't mean it's sexed up. That's not an attempt to make a toy look sexy, it's an attempt to make it look YOUNGER–like a baby. The huge head? The huge eyes? The really short nose? The mouth opened like they're cooing or babbling? The body is small in an attempt to make the head look even bigger.This version of MLP was created at a time when Hasbro was trying to appeal to younger kids. Really young, like maximum age 6. (1980s MLPs were marketed from girls up to age 12 at least.)

    As for the "provocative pose" and open mouth . . . there were ponies in the 1980s who had open mouths, and ponies in "movement" poses (caught in the act of trotting or walking or even rearing.) Examples:

    I don't see what that has to do with sexiness. I had a pegasus pony in the 80s with an open mouth . . . I thought it was great because I could make her hold objects.

    But I will give you Princess Frostine from Candyland, that is definitely an example of sexing a toy up. But the last picture, the prince who is SO FREAKING EXCITED about his triple decker ice cream cone, is at once strange and hilarious.

  10. I think the Generation 1 Sweetheart Sisters that were produced during the end of the first line would be a "sexier" design, but they were made to look like teenagers. Compared to the "Chubby" design that most people are use to seeing from the 80s line. The Flutter ponies and the Pony Bride also had different shaped bodies. The Sweet Talkin' ponies also had an open mouth to make it look like they were talking.

    I would even say maybe the designs from the 1997 revival of the line. I heard those ponies were criticized for looking too skinny.

  11. Okay, I'm pretty sure my version of Candy Land has "Queen Frostine" and not this princess stuff. Actually, I know she's a queen in my version. Why was she demoted?

    • It’s a psychological stereotype a lot of things fall into these days: apparantly, “queens” are considered negative in fiction, while “Princesses” are positive: I mean there’s the Evil Queen in Snow White, the one in Alice in Wonderland and so on, while princesses are more the good guys. Queen = bad, princess = good. Lauren Faust apparently wanted Celestia in the new My Little Pony series to be a queen, but the boards called for Princess. Silly, really, but there you go.

      Asides from that while I see the point of this post overall I think it’s soemwhat over reactional. ;m not seeing sexualised here (Rainbow brite doesn’t have a great design, but she at least looks better than a Bratz doll.(

  12. I personally like the new ones. I do prefer vintage Rainbow Brite, but besides that I think the lines look cleaner, nicer and the colours pop more. Some of the Candyland is a bit.. much. I don't see a problem with the ponies though. I wasn't born in the 80's so I never knew the original MLP, but I love the new ones. To me the old ones look bulky, odd and kind of ugly in some cases. The human mind likes things smooth, streamlined with gentle curves and that's what the new ones had. Also, big eyes are instant cute and they're so fun to draw.

    I see your point, but I also see a lot of overreaction and perhaps a bit of digging too deep into the 'meaning' behind a kid's toy.

    • Thank you. Some one who speaks sense, although I disagree about Rainbow Brite. But everyone to their own.

  13. you are now aware that rainbow brite got a knife in the throat in a 70s sexploitation movie. ;Þ

  14. Kathleen says:

    The ponies have been redesigned again. The one shown here is out of date.

  15. The changes in Rainbow Brite are the most striking. The girls aren’t so much more sexualized but OLDER — I’d place the girl in the original as perhaps 4 or 5 years old, and the girls in the new version as somewhere between 10 and 12. The clues are the body shape and the relationship of head and body size. The HORSES on the other hand are much more femme; they’ve got flowing locks, prominent eyelashes, and eyeliner.

    The notable change in My Little Pony is not that the body is slimmer, but that it is so much smaller in proportion to the head. It’s a younger, more infantile look – curiously, the opposite of the changes to Rainbow Brite. The eyes are also bigger in proportion to the head, further infantilizing the look.

    The old Candy Land is so 50s; the pictures look like they came straight out of a Dick and Jane reader. That game desperately needed modernizing.

  16. Samantha H says:

    I was too old for the toy buying stage when Dora the Explorer came out, but I still remember her show on TV, with the cute bilingual girl going on adventures. I noticed a lot of my childhood favorites like Candy Land and Lisa Frank were becoming less and less looking like children, but sexified cartoon images. What really disturbed me the most was Dora. She was really cute and normal sized, any girl could relate to her. The new Dora is tall, thin, and her cute features have completely been replaced with long hair, sparkling eyes, and jewelry. She used to dress simple, now she has a dress and flats instead of her more explorer-like outfit. Kids these days are constantly shown images of girls looking sexier and the once characters we could rely on are following that pattern. This is definitely agreeing with the idea that women are only valued for physical traits when our cartoons are even made to look like models. For a show aimed at kids, the girl should reflect her age. The new Dora is sending an image to girls that to be pretty you have to have make-up, the right clothes, and long hair. It is sad to think that children who are too young to even judge these images for themselves are brainwashed to see this one dimensional view of beauty. Not only are toys these days gender-specific (trucks for boys, dolls for girls), but now all the images are reflecting one ideal of beauty. Although it is easy to say, just don’t buy for it your kids, it is a reflection of the larger culture. We are all bombarded with these images and you begin to see it as normal. I am disappointed to see the traditionally positive toys changing to fit this sexualized society.

  17. Where are you getting sexy from any of this?


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Åsk Dabitch, Ms. Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Amanda Dodge, nikkifaith and others. nikkifaith said: So disturbing. They've ruined the toys & games from my childhood! 😛 […]

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