My Little NON-Homophobic, NON-Racist, NON-Smart-Shaming Pony: A Rebuttal

I have been a lifelong feminist, and as an artist working in the animation industry for more than 16 years I have striven to do right by women and girls in the animated projects I have been part of. I try to bring sincerity and depth to the female characters I’ve animated and have fought in development and story meetings to make female characters more than just the typical girlfriend, Mom or sex symbol. I’ve even fought to see that there was more than just one girl character in whatever project I was working on. Sometimes I swayed my coworkers (often it was easy, to their credit) and sometimes I lost. My goal, as an artist and as a storyteller, was to one day have a show of my own for and about girls.

After years and years of pitching original animation for girls to studios and networks and always hearing “This is great, but animated shows for girls don’t get ratings,” or “Girls don’t watch cartoons,” I finally got the opportunity to have my own show.  It’s called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

I was extremely skeptical at first about taking the job. Shows based on girls’ toys always left a bad taste in my mouth, even when I was a child. They did not reflect the way I played with my toys. I assigned my ponies and my Strawberry Shortcake dolls distinctive personalities and sent them on epic adventures to save the world. On TV, though, I couldn’t tell one girl character from another and they just had endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying–which miraculously inspired the villain to turn nice. Even to my 7-year-old self, these shows made no sense and couldn’t keep my interest. No wonder the boys at school laughed at my Rainbow Unicorn Trapper Keeper.

From what I’ve seen since I’ve grown up, little has changed. To look at the quality of most girls’ cartoons, it would seem that not one artist really cared about them. Not one designer, not one background painter, not one animator. Some of the more well-meaning, more expensive animated productions for girl audiences may look better, but the female characters have been so homogenized with old-fashioned “niceness” that they have no flaws and are unrelatable. They are so pretty, polite and perfect; there is no legitimate conflict and nothing exciting ever happens. In short, animated shows for little girls come across as boring.  Stupid. Lame.

This perception, more than anything, is what I am trying to change with My Little Pony.

And that’s why I was so dismayed to find Kathleen Richter’s post on the Ms. Blog, accusing the show of homophobia, racism and smart-shaming. There she stated:

So overall, these are the lessons My Little Pony teaches girls:

  • Magical white ponies are suited for leadership; black ponies are suited to be servants.
  • Stop learning! You will overcome any obstacle by resorting to strength in numbers (of friends).
  • Girls that wear rainbows are butch.
  • You need the government (ideally a monarch invested with supreme ultimate power and a phallic symbol strapped to her forehead) to tell you what to do with your life.

A surprising amount of commenters rose in defense of the show, and for that I am extremely grateful. Without repeating their retorts too extensively, here is my defense against the accusations.

  • Color has never, ever been depicted as a race indicator for the ponies. When your characters are purple, blue, orange, yellow, black, white, red, green and pink, who’s to say which is supposed to signify a white person, a black person, an Asian person? The only races in My Little Pony are Earth Pony, Pegasus and Unicorn, and they are all treated equally, ruled by a leader who embodies the traits of all three  This leader is white only to signify day, and she co-rules with her sister, who is purple to signify night. Additionally, I’d just like to assure anyone who might still question the guards at the foot of the Princess’s throne that their colors were picked arbitrarily–and they are paid for their service.
  • In the first episode, the lead character, Twilight, is depicted as a pony so wrapped up in her studies that she has no interest in socializing. But since socializing and making friends is an important, healthy aspect of anyone’s life, her mentor encouraged her to, essentially, go out and play. In the end, the character goes on to lead a more balanced life, maintaining both relationships and her studies. In subsequent episodes she is frequently seen reading, referencing books to help solve problems and even living in a library.
  • Rainbow Dash has rainbow-striped hair because of her name and because she is very interested in sports, specifically flying. She is a tomboy, but nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced. As we all know, there are plenty of straight tomboys in the world, and assuming they are lesbians is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys.
  • The Princess is depicted as the main character’s mentor, her teacher. She’s an authority figure and even a bit of a surrogate parent. The Princess gave Twilight her instructions as someone who knows her and is personally involved in her upbringing. And though there is historical speculation that unicorn horns were indeed phallic symbols, I doubt that is making its way into anyone’s subconscious.

The messages I’m really trying to get across with the show are these:

  • There are lots of different ways to be a girl. You can be sweet and shy, or bold and physical. You can be silly and friendly, or reserved and studious. You can be strong and hard working, or artistic and beautiful. This show is wonderfully free of “token girl” syndrome, so there is no pressure to shove all the ideals of what we want our daughters to be into one package. There is a diversity of personalities, ambitions, talents, strengths and even flaws in our characters–it’s not an army of cookie-cutter nice-girls or cookie-cutter beauty queens like you see in most shows for girls.
  • Find out what makes you you. Follow your passions and ambitions, not what others expect of you. For instance, if you like sports don’t let someone’s suggestion that that is unfeminine stop you from doing what you love. Be considerate of others’ feelings, but not at the expense of your own goals and dreams.
  • You can be friends with people who are vastly different from you. And even though all friendships have their share of disagreements and moments when you don’t get along, that does not mean that your friendship has to end.
  • Cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness. Girls like stories with real conflict; girls are smart enough to understand complex plots; girls aren’t as easily frightened as everyone seems to think. Girls are complex human beings, and they can be brave, strong, kind and independent–but they can also be uncertain, awkward, silly, arrogant or stubborn. They shouldn’t have to succumb to pressure to be perfect.

Yes, My Little Pony is riddled with pink, the leader is a Princess instead of a Queen and there probably aren’t enough boys around to portray a realistic society. These decisions were not entirely up to me.  It has been a challenge to balance my personal ideals with my bosses’ needs for toy sales and good ratings. I do my best to incorporate their needs in an acceptable way, so when we are asked to portray a certain toy or playset, my team and I work to put it in a place that makes sense within the story. There is also a need to incorporate fashion play into the show, but only one character is interested in it and she is not a trend follower but a designer who sells her own creations from her own store. We portray her not as a shopaholic but as an artist.

I never expected to work on a show based on a toy line, but I accepted the project based on my sincere childhood love of the toy and Hasbro’s desire to create an entertaining show that is not just a long toy commercial. When I took the job, I braced myself for criticism, expecting many people–without even watching the show–to instantly label it girly, stupid, cheap, for babies or an evil corporate commercial. I encourage skeptics like this to watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with an open mind. If I’m doing my job right, I think you’ll be surprised.

Lauren Faust is creative steward/executive producer of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

Top: Original drawings of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic characters by Lauren Faust.

Comments

  1. Faust, you're amazing. I especially like how you get out on the web and communicate even somewhat with the fans, AND YER AWARE OF THE MEMES! Which reminds me; you should try and get Hasbro on marketing Mens MLP: FiM t-shirts if you haven't already. We need ones with the /co/ined "Bronies," some featuring "Derpy Hooves" and other memetic characters, and a t-shirt featuring Rainbow Dash that's "20% cooler," I could go on, but i think you get it. I'd buy several.

    In closing (is this guy still talking?) SHUT UP, I have nothing better to do at the moment. Anyway, awesome show, and if you'll pardon the awful pun; I think this show will go down in history as a "Colt" Classic.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am a 23 year old male, and I love this show. It's pure awesome. Keep up the good work.

    • Anonymous says:

      Calling all bronies. I will personally fight against anyone that tries to shut down this show. Who the hell is Pinkie Pie? WHO THE HELL ARE YOU!?

  3. Faust,

    I have been an admirer of your work for a while, and i must say that you have created an beautiful, entertaining, educational, and brilliant show that is so fun, it has become enjoyable for more then just young girls. as you have said in your rebuttal, most TV shows aimed towards girls are often cliche, boring, and filled with characters that are easily forgettable, your show in that case is a breath of fresh air. your rebuttal, although unneeded due to the fact that nobody could take that article seriously anyway, was well done. it served to be not just an rebuttal to an ludicrous attack, but also a statement of your philosophy and the thought processes that went into the shows making. i too am committed to breaking stereotypes and i bear no shame in admitting i am a fan of this show and i implore you to keep up the splendid work. looking forward to the future episodes.

    sincerely,

    an 20 year old pre law student

  4. I'm 22, and am absolutely LOVING Friendship is Magic. It's a stunningly well-written and girl-empowering cartoon, and it's allowed me to bond with my 5-year-old niece; she loves to watch the ponies just because ponies are awesome, and I love to watch it because it's one of the most female-positive children's shows I've ever seen (the only other I can really think of off the top of my head is Sailor Moon). I'm glad that she can grow up with such a cool show; it's teaching her great things about diversity and confidence and problem-solving.

    (Her favorite is Rarity, by the way.)

    I enjoy it because it's so girl-power-positive and because it's genuinely funny. The characters are solid, the plots are fun, and the animation is just too doggone adorable. It's truly an all-ages, all-genders show (have you SEEN the internet response? XD It's always "I'm a 27-year-old guy and this is awesome! Real men watch My Little Pony!")

    • Rarity is the best pony of the mane cast. I was afraid from the first couple lines I heard (“even though I love these boots, this fashion’s getting old..”) that she would be a rather shallow character. I have been pleasantly surprised, thankfully.

      Your niece has good taste in ponies.

  5. 14 year old brony says:

    I love this show. thats all i can say.

  6. wonderwoman1100 says:

    As a feminist, I love this show & what it portrays to my daughters. I have a tomboy & a princess on my hands & both of them love this show because of the message that there are lots of different ways to be girly. I applaud this rebuttal & the show.

  7. Lapasaiza says:

    Hi,
    I'm a 21year old, female, german history student and I absolutly love this show. It is so wonderful. I started with the prejudice of watching a stereotypical pink overdosed cartoon, but after a few minutes, I loved it.
    My favorite Pony is Big Macintosh. He is awesome, and damn xD I whould buy a Puppet of him, standing on my bookshelf watching me working and Yupp-ing here or there. That whould be gorgeous.
    =) I recommend it to my friends, too.
    The first reaction "WTF is this?" but after a few minutes, they're all like "Wow. I want to watch it. It is awesome"
    Keep going on

  8. I love the show. The episode on the buffalo and Zecora were, imo, in the "right place". Don't be mean to people for how they look, trying to educate kids on the stealing of First Nation's land. I think it could have been handled better, but it's still going in the right direction. That said, I do hope we get more "ethnic" ponies because as much as people would like to disbelieve, children DO pick up on hints in tv shows. My 5 and 6 year old cousin have already noticed why ponies like Zecora were treated different because it is something that they themselves have experienced. I think it can help other children cope with those feelings of "otherness" as well.

  9. theskepkitty says:

    I'm a sixteen-year-old girl. I am and have always been on the tomboyish side; also on the book-loving, introverted side. Needless to say, I'm not the type who seeks out "girly pony shows", but after hearing good things about MLP all over the place, I decided to watch some, and… wow.

    The animation is stunning. The characters have diverse personalities. The plots are engaging and original, and the jokes often made me laugh out loud. I can see why this show is so beloved by the Internet. Anyway, I'm a big fan. Great work.

  10. Lauren, thank you for not living behind the editorial wall. Thank you for engaging with your audience–and listening to them!

    My first thought on seeing the ponies was that it had gone all hyper-anime-trying-too-hard-to-be-hip. But I quickly saw that it was much, much better than that. I really appreciate that the ponies have such distinct personalities and that they interact in realistic ways–poor Rainbow Dash, trying to avoid Pinkie Pie!

    None of the concerns Kathleen Richler wrote about occurred to me at all. Frankly, I see that sort of criticism as feeding the stereotypes. Are we now saying that gay characters are not allowed to portrayed in any stereotypical way? What does that do to gay people who actually behave that way? THAT is spreading shame.

    Here's what has been bothering me: all the boy ponies (save Mac) are silent workers. They don't speak. They just do tasks. They plow fields and stand as silent guards. They don't participate in crowd scenes. They feel like cardboard standups, smiling benignly until they're ordered elsewhere.

    I never liked the male-ensemble shows and their token females. There are female ensemble casts that don't have any males, or who have males in their worlds doing ordinary things (classmates, teachers, police men, fathers). But I don't see the bronies having their own lives. They are barely even 'there.' There's a lot to be said for creating an all-female 'safe space', but every time I see a too-cheerful, silent male nodding along, I cringe.

    I understand the strictures placed by Hasbro, but I urge them to study this wider market you've opened up. Grown men love your ponies. If dad and sisters and moms are watching, if the plots are exciting enough, little boys will watch as well. And then brothers and sisters can actually have something to play together!

    Hasbro: Trust Lauren.

    Lauren: Do that thing you do that you do so well. We are rooting for you.

    • Save for the Buffalo episode with AppleJack’s Cousin. but I do agree. They’re all so quiet. :C

    • Draco Dei says:

      As regards the above… well, I think Fluttershy said it best:

      “woohoo”

      The following demographic information may be relevant to your interests:

      32 year old brony here. Georgia Tech Mechanical Engineering graduate with a 3.4 final GPA. So bad with networking and interviews, I ended up walking into a jewelry store and saying “I would like to work for you, you don’t have to bother paying me.”*

      …Why yes, I sorta identify with Twilight Sparkle, why do you ask?

      *(He said yes, in case that wasn’t obvious).

  11. Esteban says:

    "…and there probably aren’t enough boys around to portray a realistic society."

    I'm currently developing a story with an overwhelmingly male cast but which does NOT have a "boss" female (i.e. Hermione, etc.) who's smarter, stronger, faster, and generally better than all the boys. And in doing so, I'm committing social treason. I *adore* being an iconoclast!

  12. I can always gauge the relative success or failure of a media event by the amount of fan art it generates on a social networking site for people with creative interests, such as the oddly-named "DeviantART." The recent animated show "The Loonatics" has never generated much fanart on the site, but My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has EXPLODED on the scene like a animated atomic bomb. Suddenly artists who've always posted goth vampires, space aliens, or superheroes are publishing their own renditions of the Little Ponies, or their own original characters (OCs) in the MLP house style.

    The creative community gives MLP FIM two thumbs up (and two claws up, and two tentacles up, and two pseudopods up, and etc.).
    http://browse.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&am

  13. I'm a 37 year old male, and think the show is great. I would probably watch it without my daughter.

    But it's because of my daughter that I *love* the show. Because these are strong female characters who are not obsessed with boys – I will be really disheartened if that aspect ever creeps in as anything more than a throwaway single episode plot point. I think it's good and healthy that the male ponies are coming out from the background a little more, but please don't go far into romance.

    The original article was the sort of nitpicky ridiculousness that causes people to roll their eyes whenever the topic of equal rights comes up. I realize that as a white hetero male it's an easy statement to make, but I truly believe it does no good to go looking for problems when there are none (if you want to read an amusing over-analysis of the show, check out http://www.overthinkingit.com/2011/02/24/my-littl… ). I will however say that I was a little uneasy when I first saw Zecora, as it seemed a little too "lol voodoo lady talks funny" until the message of that episode sank in and I thought of how I've struggled to explain cultural differences to my children.

    PS – it sucks that Hasbro made Princess Celestia pink in the toy line.

  14. Mrs. Faust

    I am a 34 year old male who enjoys MLP very much. Its fun to watch while I'm doing the dishes. The character design and animation are fantastic.

  15. I'm 16 and personally I like the show it sort of fresh and warm, like fleshly baked loaf bread. The character are just unforgettable, the animation smooth and the story is fluid. i just can't seem to get enough of it the characters are just so fantastic and plot is great. I just can't wait to see more.

  16. 22 year old guy and my whole flat of students 18-22 LOVE my little pony Please Please Keep up the wonderful work!

    i know ill be showing this my little pony to my kids !

  17. Zackery Moor says:

    im 23 yr old male and i love MLP: FiM im a huge fan of cartoons for kids, and this tops the list :)

  18. thefireandthehearth says:

    You know, I've been a bit hesitant about this show, seeing as how all the internet seems worship at the moment. To be honest, that's not always a good sign.

    And then I ended up at this article. Still not sure how- TV Tropes was probably involved- but I'm glad. This is an excellence bit of writing, even if I don't know much about the series. That bit about how there are so many different ways to be a girl? It's wonderful. Ms. Faust, if you're involved with this show, I think I'll have to check it out.

  19. Random Person says:

    I've been practically waiting my whole life (almost 22 years) for a "girl's show" that wasn't a horrible mushy mess wherein all the female characters were too obsessed with boys and clothes and cooking. When I was a kid, I used to take my brother's Mighty Max playsets and my Polly Pocket and send Polly and her friends into strange new worlds where they were terrified and eviscerated by monsters. Sometimes, the monsters would invade Pocket Town and it was up to Polly and her friends to find a way to stop them (unfortunately, they never did thanks to their lack of weapons and the fact that no one was able to research the creatures before they destroyed everything).

    I was never into MLP like some of my friends. It was a month ago or so that a friend of mine (a 21 year old male) told me about Friendship is Magic and how awesome it was. It was My Little Pony so I assumed he was being sarcastic. After watching the pilot episode, I pleasantly discovered that it was something to keep my eye on. Sure, it was silly and rather pastel, but it was more "real" and a lot easier to stomach than many terrible shows I've seen appear on TV.

    Hopefully this show won't be canceled or screwed over by the network like so many good cartoon series have been.

  20. The thing that makes any story great is authentic characters and a well-thought-out plot. There is an unfortunate tendency for people making children's shows (and girl shows in particular) to think that kids can't handle tough issues, that they need 'perfect' role models or that if kids think about something this is a BAD THING. I applaud your efforts to make a girl's show that can be watched without shame by a person of any age or gender. We need more of them.

  21. Well said Mrs. Faust!
    To be fair, "Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps" has a little of the "token girl" syndrome but it shows the main character following her dreams

    I enjoy My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic but My Brother and My Mom are puzzled as to why i watch it in the first place as my brother tends to believe that it's "a show for little girls"

    Congrats on making My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and taking part of breaking down the demographic wall that dictates who are these cartoons aimed at and whom should be watching it.

    I salute you! :3

  22. I REALLY like this show. It surprised me in every good way, and for the first time in my WHOLE LIFE (at age 23) I absolutely enjoy watching a show made specifically for girls. This, after a lifetime of being a tomboy, is no small feat. Again, I have really liked this show.

    But I feel like the racial commentary was pretty poorly taken. The Zecora episode and the Apple-loosa episode contained some racially hurtful things. I know that they were not from a place of hatred, not even a little, but criticisms of this aspect should be HEARD and not just bashed by commentators, mercilessly downvoted, and silenced. People– specifically, I'm thinking, the little girls who are black/brown/native who want to enjoy this show as much as their white counterparts– can be damaged by these unintended messages. Feminism is about ALL women, and we should really listen when women of other colors say "this is damaging." White people don't get to decide what is or isn't racially hurtful– we're not the ones who have to live with that reality every day. We need to listen.

    A stronger presence of writers of color would really benefit this show– like it would any show! I would just be tickled if these issues were tackled with the help of writers of color in coming seasons.

    That said– keep up the great work. You're an inspiration, Ms. Faust!!

  23. I love the show and I’m 18. Its very well made and written better than most trash kids watch these days. They need more shows like this

  24. I’m a 21 year old female accounting student and I am absolutely obsessed with this show! I love it, and all the characters. One of the reasons why is that the characters are always annoying me with their character flaws…but at the end of the day it’s so realistic and portrays something very real about girls – they can be flawed and different, and it’s fine! Keep up the lovely work!

  25. One of the guys says:

    Faust, all of us absolutely love you. Keep up the good work!

  26. RandomGuy says:

    Lauren – I read the other article, and I was absolutely shocked. Kathleen isn’t unintelligent, but she was lazy. When laziness and opinionatedness join forces, you get a massive reaction that results in stupidity, and that’s what I saw there.

    I wanted you to know that even as a guy (a proud “brony”) I really love your show and what it teaches. I’m of the firm belief that guys and girls really shouldn’t be as segregated as they are in today’s society. I’ve never been a fan of the “battle of the sexes” where the two fight each other or look down upon one another because of their differences instead of working together. I think even little boys who happen to like the show (and their parents let them watch) can learn good lessons from this.

    You’re a hero in your own rite, and despite the show’s season taking a break for the summer, I’m really looking forward to its return. Please keep on with the show, and don’t let opinionated people who are too short-sighted and ill-mannered to research their “opinions” properly get to you too much. I hope Kathleen learns a lesson from this.

  27. Ms. Faust
    I’m a 23 year old male who loves MLP:FiM, i was hooked after the first two episodes, and frankly think its awsome what you’re doing. I do not see much problem with the show, the only thing im scratching my head about is, What happed to poor little Luna?! After episode two she just kind of disapears into the eather. I know shes slated for more screen time in S2 (or at least thats whats been floating around ponychan) but I’m intrested in how. (obviously i dont expect an awnser till S2 actualy starts airing) Thats really my only one compaint, I can see ware everyone else is comeing from, but the morals at the end of the episodes are so clear cut i do not see how one could confuse them. Love the show, needs more Luna.

    A big fan
    From the New Lunar Republic

  28. Peppermint Mocha says:

    L Faust.

    I am a male fan of your shows, though I am by no means a feminist. I must say from what I’ve seen so far of your rendition of My Little Pony that this is a cartoon that I happily allow my daughter to watch, I even enjoy it along with her. You and your team display great skill in creating a cartoon that avoids those stereotypes you’ve mentioned, as well as having a genuine, rich entertainment value for people of all ages. Not just little girls. For all of your hard work and dedication, I thank you.

    – Life time Faust fan.

  29. Pokémon Loving Hello Kitty :) says:

    Over perfection shouldn’t even be CALLLED ‘cute’. XD Cute=innocent, child-like. I like cute desions, because, yes, they look cheerfull and nice. And youth-like. But Mary sue plots are lame…and really aren’t innocent at all *cough*

    This show is more what i’d call ‘cute’ overall, though. :P No back stabbing, Touhru-Soma-ish (ugh, that creep..) plotline. Cute, cheerfull looking charictors that can be just as independant and hardcore as any man, and every bit of being intelectual as any nerd, if not more-so. All while still looking every bit as cute and innocent as Hello Kitty or Strawberry Shortcake, and still managing to keep a cheerfull outlook on life as well. :) And absolutely no weakness. This show is all about believing in yourself, the world, your abilities. I feel all children should watch this one!^^

    By the way, I like Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie a lot =) And The Cutie Mark Crusaders are epic x) <3 Great job mate!^^

    (by the way, my childhood was all about watching preschool programs XD; they aren't as 'mary sue' as your typical 'girl' shows, yet every bit as adorable looking, and the innocence they portray is actually real. i'm concidering watching some preschool programs again, but now they're like trying to make more shows follow the dumbing down of Dora the Explorer and none of them really seem as innocent as Cailou or Dragontales anymore…ahh, my childhood was fun XD)

    By the way, do you like Pokémon? :) I think the series might suit your tastes^^ Not all the cuter ones are weak either (though, the stronger cute ones can be hard to get ahold of…but.you.would.ADORE.Jirachi. hands down :P x) <3 x3 and Creselia. GIRL POWER FOREVER!)

    ~Your pal, Pokémon Loving Hello Kitty <3 x)

  30. Kathleen says:

    I’m 21 year old feminist, and I adore this cartoon. It’s such a change from the vapid cartoons that my three year old niece normally watches. The only other interesting cartoons center around male characters. I’m very much looking forward to a second season.

  31. Thanks for writing this! I watched FIM with an extremely closed mind, assuming it was just going to be another stupid girls show that was going to raise another generation of girls all wrong. By the end of the first episode, I loved it. I have watched every episode since. I, a guy in his 20s, love this show. I am typically cynical and pessimistic when it comes to animated show, but this new MLP is really something spectacular. Why? Because it’s a damn good show. For girls, for boys, for everyone.

    If I ever have kids, I hope for their sake more children’s entertainment follows in your footsteps. Because that will mean I can happily watch it with them! :D

  32. For the sake of preserving honesty, I thought I WOULD hate this “new generation” of MLP, seeing as I grew up with G2 and G3. But compared to MLP:FIM, G3 looks to be exactly what you said; a puddle of smooshy, goodie-two-shoes, gigly, hot-air silliness.

    I did watch MLP:FIM with an open mind, and it ended up entertaining me and stroking my visual and auditory senses. I noticed NO homophobic, racist, or smart-shaming elements.

    • I thought a zebra-pony would be a good candidate for a voodoo type pony before I heard her accent. I thought “ohp, shady mysterious zebra character, preparing for voodoo pony comparable to that lady who gave Jack Sparrow the jar of dirt.” But if people think that voodoo lady = all black people = zebra, shitestorm-a-comin’ from every side of the internet. Sapphire shoes sounded blackish as well, and she was a regular yellow pony, the second lightest color a pony can be. A zebra can make a good native African pony, a Camargue can make a good native French horse/pony, a Dülmen Pony can make a good native German pony, a Hackney pony can be a good native English pony, and so on. But ponyville ponies are just ponyville ponies. “Derpy hooves” (I call her Bubbles) could be Polish or Cuban for all we know, she looks like a regular Pegasus pony.

    Like you said, there are no “races”, just Earth, Pega, and Uni.

    The same way a Camargue would make a good native French horse/pony, a Dülmen Pony would make a good native German pony, a Hackney pony would be a good native English pony, and so on. But Not black, not a zebra, yellow. She looked like an Equestrian Earth pony, not an African.

    And about those guards, they were gray. And like

    • At the beginning, Twilight wasn’t “well-read”, she was an antisocial shut in. It’s not smart-shaming, it’s desolate hermit shaming. Going out and making friends it part of being human, or pony in this case. If urging someone to get their social life in order to balance out their life is “smart-shaming”, then my folks must support computer-illiteracy by telling me I should go get some sun instead of staying on the computer all day. Really, it’s not healthy to stay in all day.

    • I don’t associate rainbows with homosexuality. I never have, and I never will. I associate it with luck, love between friends/family, and beauty. Despite being into ponies, I was VERY tomboyish at a young age. And like you said, automatically assuming a tomboy is a lesbian is extremely unfair to both straight and lesbian tomboys. And to combat what the critic said, Rainbow Dash doesn’t look “mean” or “angry”, she looks tough. She reminds me of Buttercup, whom I don’t remember wearing any LGBT T-shirts.

    • That critic sounds like JUST the type who would support having the government tell people what to do. While they pretend to support minorities by bashing television shows and racial stereotypes in a magazine, all they really do is bitch and moan about what the government and media tells them is politically incorrect. Is listening to your mother-figure really that bad? Besides, Twilight doesn’t live to take orders, she wants the princess to be proud of her. She wants to be smiled upon, you know.

    And that is the 565 word essay I decided to post today. ;D

  33. I’m so pleased that there is a cartoon for girls with such a vast difference in character personalities, and that those different personalities remain close friends who help each other, care about each other, and even balance each other out. =]
    Also, I know a lot of guys who watch the show too. ;)

  34. Fembrony (is that a word?) here. This show is pro. It’s the first kid’s show that I’ve been able to tolerate, let alone like, since I left the target demographic.

    Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Faust. C:

    • Draco Dei says:

      Hmmm… you raise an interesting point… I don’t like it, it is all wrong etymologically.
      Dunno if the fandom has really figured this one out yet. If not, here are my contributions.

      Mare?
      Bleh… “The Old Grey Mare Ain’t What She Used To Be”… much as I think “Filly” would be/is a good bit of jargon for the target audience.

      Sisony?
      Same portmanteau as Brony, but with “Sis” sub-ed for “Bro”. Too hard to pronounce.

      Sis Pony / Sis-Pony?
      I think this is the best I got for the moment…

  35. Blackbird says:

    Hello, Ms. Faust! I’m disappointed to see these sorts of criticisms brought against your show. It is shameful when people try to apply racial politics to a context where they simply don’t exist. I honestly find it baffling that they would try to look for it in a show about ponies. This sort of hyper-sensitivity just feels detrimental and counterproductive to me.

    Rainbow Dash is my favorite character, and I think labeling her as the token butch girl is really unfair to her. Her orientation isn’t addressed in the show, so it seems unfair to jump to the conclusion that she’s gay. Even if she were gay, I think she would be an extremely positive example of being a good person, particularly when homosexual role models are rare in mainstream media. Rainbow Dash is consistently presented as being strong, ambitious, brave, and loyal, if a little prideful and headstrong. I’d be really proud to have a friend like Rainbow Dash, regardless of that person’s orientation.

  36. Well, if part of the purpose of the show is to sell toys, I must say its working. I think Hasbro will find that if you make an enjoyable show with likable characters, people will want to buy toys of those characters, even if they’re not the intended age group or gender.

    Now if only we can get some more show-faithful renditions of the characters in toy form. (i.e. Why is the Celestia figure pink?)

  37. Just think, the point of the show is to market its toys and brands, which is happening if the sensation of this show is an indicator. As to people raising up criticism about it, just think how sad they are to get worked up over a cartoon show.

    It’s like the people who had a go at the nursery rhyme “Ba Ba Black Sheep” to become the ill-fitting “Ba Ba Rainbow Sheep”.

  38. Bob Barker says:

    Do you know how many women I know in their 20′s and 30′s that religiously watch this show? These women are accomplished professionals and they watch this show religiously. There will always be those people that can find something out of nothing. It gets them attention where they otherwise would not have a platform.

  39. Where are the DVDs!? I’m 24, but I grew up with My Little Pony and still have a few of the original toys — very well-worn — somewhere in storage. My friends and I put them through death-defying adventures, epic quests, personal dramas, and all sorts of pony badassery. MLP was a huge part of my childhood, so when I heard the show had been revamped to much acclaim, nostalgia kicked into overdrive and I finally checked out the first episode. With a week I’d watched ALL of them! The ponies are charming, diverse, and refreshingly upbeat in a world where cynicism has become shorthand for cool.

    My second thought was that I had to give this to my cousins for their birthday — they’re six-year-old twins who couldn’t be more different, but MLP is a fun, pretty show with characters like Rainbow Dash and Rarity that they can *both* relate to, a rare thing in most girls’ media. Come on Hasbro/Hub/Lauren! I WANT to give you my money.

  40. Anonbrony says:

    I’m 19 and male.
    I am utterly obsessed with this show. I was raised to be pretty impartial to gender stereotypes. I watched Dragon Ball Z, Powerpuff Girls, Sailor Moon, and basically whatever else I wanted as a kid with no concern from my parents. I played with dolls and Hot Wheels alike without a care in the world. Being a bit older now, I see how parents raise their kids in “gender-typical” households, and it’s no surprise to me that there’s still intolerance to people who are “different,” like effeminate men or tomboy women, LGBTI or not. I’m straight, but I feel very strongly about the tolerance issues this generation and our next faces.

    That said, Friendship is Magic does an excellent job of establishing non-stereotypical female roles. It’s also something that I would show my children, boy or girl, simply because I think it’s equally important for boys to see this show to gain an understanding of girls and how they aren’t all like Barbie (and better off for it!) The same reasoning applies for girls.

    I think that’s why this show is so popular with adult men: in addition to being an awesome show, it gives incite into the mind of a gender we weren’t really raised to understand, and we like what we see! (BOCTAOE)

  41. Another male adult fan of MLP:FiM here. I have no idea what Kathleen Richter was talking about. Maybe she watched MLP series before FiM? Haters gonna hate, ignore her. Ms. Faust, please keep FiM as funny, entertaining, and meaningful as it was in the first season. If I had kids, I’d definitely put this series on the whitelist for them to watch. Thank you for this gift you have given the world.

  42. hey, Faust, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but…I for one am a girl that never liked to play with dolls and ‘girly’ things, I preferred dinosaurs and bugs. I found all “girl’s” cartoons to be just as uninteresting as the toys.

    But with that said, here I am at 18 years old, watching this show and enjoying it thoroughly. Despite all the pink, big, cute eyes and Disney-style singing, the characters and writing have pulled me in to actually really enjoy all of these things I was never a fan of, and the much, much more that FiM has to offer.

    Since starting watching FiM, I have fallen in love with the art and virtually every aspect, I feel no shame watching a cartoon that is not only made for girls, but young children. My 15 year old brother will even watch it with me.

    When I think of other ‘girl driven’ cartoons I used to love, the only real example honestly that comes to mind is the Powerpuff Girls..how interesting, considering your involvement, yeah?

    I wanted to thank you for not only a fantastic cartoon, but also a step in the right direction for shows made for girls. I always loved cartoons, I still do and I know that if more shows like this existed girls would watch more, or girls like myself wouldn’t end up watching shows entirely designed for boys, as they were generally more wholesome. This show hasn’t just made girls young and old feel comfortable in it watching it, but a large (maybe majority) male, adult audience has defended this show through and through.

    Even though your involvement in later seasons will be less than in 1, I believe you’ve set the groundwork for a great show. Thank you!

  43. oh and I forgot one thing, I am going to make a guess that more MLP toys have been sold in this generation than in a long time with the exclusion of long time collectors- the reason being not only children seem to be buying them, but many adults seem to be hoarding them in large quantities hahaha

  44. Ellen M. says:

    Lauren,

    Thank you so much for all your hard work on MLP. As someone who is biologically female but struggling with gender issues, it felt like my entire life shows and toys made for girls were limited, dull, and never encapsulated my own experience. Now, as a 21-year-old introduced to MLP:FiM less than a week ago, I’ve nearly watched every episode and found myself delighted at the high levels of quality and love present in every episode. I’ve found myself identifying with each of the main cast members – impressive, as I was quick originally to brush off both Pinkie Pie and Rarity for being “too girly”. Now, however, I find it hard to choose one favorite because each pony is so complex and likeable. I wish I had shows like this when I was a kid, because I never got to see just how diverse a girl’s experience could be.

  45. I have never watched this show, but assuming that the tomboy is a lesbian IS HOMOPHOBIC. It’s MORE homophobic than representing a tomboy who happens to be a lesbian. There are many gay women who like ‘tomboy’ things. There are many who don’t. Just as there are may straight women with varying interests. It seems like the person who was slamming this show completely missed the point of her own argument.

    From what I’ve seen and heard, this is a very thoughtful and dynamic show. I might even give it a try now :)

  46. Ms. Faust,

    The way in which you thoughtfully and intelligently defended you work against baseless, ill researched accusations is truly heartening and only deepens my respect for you as an artist and as a person. My daughter and I watch the show together but what’s funny is that she has never said to me that she wants to be like any of the characters. She wants to be her own person and I truly believe your show has helped her with that. The fact that her fifteen year old brother and Forty-Five year old father can watch it with her has deepened our bonds as a family and I am truly angered when people attack it based on shallow observations and offensive stereotypes. Thank you and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors

  47. IAmTheHammer says:

    Dear Miss Faust

    I absolutely LOVE your work! Can’t wait for the 2nd season!!!

    P.S. My favourite pony is Rainbow Dash because she reminds me so much of my little sister! XD

    Best Regards

    28 year old bronie who recently joined the herd

  48. I wish that this show had been around when I was growing up, but I know that there is hope for this generation yet. It’s sickening how much filth young kids (girls especially) are subjected to. Girls are being pushed to grow up faster and faster as time has been going on, but with more questionable material leaking into kids shows and not many truly good female role models around, things like girls as young as 5 are already miserable with how their body looks.

    But with your show, you give girls something good to relate to. It’s not at all about having a crush on some boy; essentially the “girl story line.” I am a 19 year old girl and I still learn a few things while watching the show. You do incredible work and Iam eagerly waiting for season two.

  49. Let me preface my comment by saying I’m a guy, and a adult well past the age to buy beer, so my views are from the perspective far removed of the target demographic.

    Let me also say I didn’t even know MLP:FIM was a new show, I thought the internet memes and fan art were related to the 80′s cartoon.

    Eventually though I watched the show, and while the opening is something of a pink overload I found the characters very engaging, even the “girliest” ponies proved to be more then tropes, Rarity in particular surprised me with her dept of character, and i even grew to like Pinky Pie, at least after seeing her origin, while the character is way to caffeinated for me someone so dedicated to brining joy is just heart warming, even if she is off her nut.

    MLP:FiM is actually hitting a lot of the same marks I have tried to do with my own Wonderverse IP, there are differences to be sure considering the target genres but the idea of a all girl cast who are more then sacrin sweet love love doves and have real personalities and flaws is quite amazing.

    Keep up the good work Ms. Faust

  50. Y’know, I’m shamed to admit I started out as one of the people who disliked MLP:FiM on principle. I didn’t spout hate about it or anything, I just ignored it under the assumption it was going to be a half-hour commercial every episode…

    And then a friend insisted I watch it. I’m not ashamed to say I was enthralled after the pilot and hooked by the second episode. Why? Because the characters have rounded personalities. They have strengths and talents that they enjoy and unashamed of. They have flaws that they struggle with, but work to overcome. They learn, they grow. Why are they relate-able to such a wide variety of demographics? Because they’re PEOPLE.

    Which is why I’ve become such a fan of your work, Faust. There are so many shows aimed at mature, intelligent adults that lack characters with depth, characters that behave like real people.

    Plenty of people in the entertainment industry would be happy and more than willing to just shill toys with “Look! Ponies! …I got nothing else.” if offered the job. I admire and respect you because you took that shifted it into “Look! Realistic, relate-able people! We even have plot!” The show isn’t some weak gimmick cartoon. It could depict ponies, humans or flying monkeys, be animated or live action, and the story and characters genuinely wouldn’t lose anything, because of the writing. It’s the writing that sells the show, not the premise.

    I wish more people in the industry understood that. But, well, I’m glad to see you’ve made an excellent example for them to follow.

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