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. In respect to the guards, there’s also a fair number of white guards as well.
    In fact, the alleged “black” guards were not performing the hard labor of carrying the carriages that the white guards did. It’s also amazingly telling of how much of the show Richter even watched that her own evidence of racism was the “black” -royal guard-, which is a pretty high position, rather than the “evil” Nightmare Moon who is even closer to a black color.

    But one thing…
    “And though there is historical speculation that unicorn horns were indeed phallic symbols, I doubt that is making its way into anyone’s subconscious.”
    …Until now…
    *Never watching the show the same again*

    Regardless, you provided an amazing rebuttal (and on the same blog no less). Your intentions with the show are truly wonderful, and the quality of the show is awe-inspiring. There’s really no words more than “keep up the good work”.

    • *sigh* Now that you said it all that I’m going to be able to see is Celestia waving a giant phallus in everyone’s face. Still, a lovely argument, fantastic show, etc. Don’t let the haters keep you from doin’ your thang.

      • I know, it says something about the lady when she sees a phallus. I just saw a horn. How did she ever make her way through the last unicorn? People need to understand that horns existed before we associated them with dicks. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

    • twilight sparkle says:

      hi just wanted to say that i agree with all that you have said larren and i will watch the show. I love this show and its brilliantly written script i hope you never stiop writing this as taht will be a dark day for all bronykind

      i would still like to say however that i still dont see why rainbow dash or any of the ponys can be at least hinted that he/she is gay.

      I think it would make a good change from all the ordanary chariters.

      But thats just my opinion :)

      keep it real and never stop the journey not untill we have our cutie marks

      hope i got that right.

  2. You may be right, but still I don’t understand.

    ALL I THINK ABOUT ARE PONIES. WHY CAN’T I GET THE PONIES OUT OF MY HEAD?

  3. I think you’re doing a great job no matter what! The show is great and very popular and unique.
    I love the message you’re trying to get across.

    I can’t believe people try so hard to find someting wrong with the show
    that they’d resort to calling it racist and whatnot when it clearly isn’t.

  4. DavidReinold says:

    While I completely respect your intentions in this article, I believe the biggest accomplishment with your show is the fact that any and all demographics are able to enjoy it. The fact that a series which is part of the notorious My Little Pony franchise can attract an audience from men in their late teens, twenties, and early thirties (I’m a part of this demographic, BTW), while still maintaining a viewership from the originally intended audience, is a truly awesome thing.

    I also like that you acknowledge that the old series ran on the theory of “these kids’ll watch whatever we give ‘em, so let’s not put in any amount of effort whatsoever”, and I like that this series was made with the specific intention of having quality writing and well-developed plot elements, and as for characters, making every individual pony likeable, believable, and important. While in the old series, as you put it, you “couldn’t tell one girl character from another and they just had endless tea parties”, this new series as so many unique and important designs and personalities that not all of them can fit into the spotlight, and hence even the background ponies, such as (fan-given names) Derpy Hooves (now Ditsy Doo), Lyra, Bon-bon, and Dr. Whoof, have distinguishable traits and even though their stories, and even names, are not covered in the official series, the characters stand out enough that fans will give these nameless characters names and stories and personalities and all sorts of other important traits so that by the end of it you’d think they’re part of the lineup of protagonists.

    Kind of a long-winded comment, I know, but as someone with respect for your work, and who has seen a serious decline in American animation in recent years, I think you’re making a powerful and important contribution to an industry which is in need of some integrity. Recently, shows such as “Adventure Time” and “Phineas and Ferb” have done a similar thing, but the fact that My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has outshined both those shows despite being part of a franchise notorious for pathetic writing and awful stereotypes, is something to be proud of to say the least, and even though you’ve stepped down from writing the show, I hope you never forget how many people you’ve influenced, how many lives you’ve changed, and how many hearts and minds you’ve opened.

    That is all.

    • twilight sparkle says:

      SHE STEPPED DOWN!! WHAT WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN….. THIS CHANGES EVGERYTHING

      waht will they do??

      oh god i hope they dont screw it up

  5. SevenBegore says:

    This article says it all. Though I’d have to assume that the article that you’re rebutting was meant as a troll. I say this because I can’t imagine anyone actually being stupid enough to think any of that was true. Also, she was hating on Rainbow Dash, and anyone who hates on the Dash can die in a fire.

  6. Anonymous Brony says:

    Oh wow, you mean to say that Richter’s article WASN’T satire? It was so extremely uninformed, ridiculous, and used so many contrived arguments that I was SURE it was a parody. It was so ludicrous that it had me busting up laughing the whole time, and I thought all the comments taking it seriously just didn’t get it. I guess Poe’s Law reversed itself on me.

  7. About the “phallic” unicorn horns, I think you should also mention that many of the characters have them; it’s not just one central authority figure who carries it.

    I think your show in general highlights the need in society to value the simple, pure things in life like friendship, that have been pushed aside and subdued in all the “edgy”, gritty, chip-on-the-shoulder garbage that has come about since approximately the grunge era of music. Everybody does value these things, but society deems them unmentionable, too related to vulnerability to discuss. Your show dives right in and brings friendship as the core concept, without being saccharine schlock or trying to be so out-of-touch “hip” as to jump its own shark. That’s a highly commendable balance you’ve pulled off!

    Your show is incredibly refreshing and wholly enjoyable. If I had a daughter, I wouldn’t just watch it with her, I’d *make* her watch it. :-)

    (a 37 year old male business owner)

  8. I’m a 25-year old woman, and I love this show.

    Keep up the excellent work, my friends and I (mostly male 20-somethings) are waiting for Season 2. :)

    • Hi there, 25 year old male brony. Sup

      • Catbeastaisha says:

        I’m a 26 year old female who thought “Friendship is Magic” was a blatant and obnoxious titling (considering it is almost literal in many children shows) and had been boycotting watching this version of My Little Ponies (given the last two disastrous remakes). I started watching it thanks to one of my 26 year old MALE friend’s commenting on it, which made me decide to watch the first episode, then then next, then all season one… and wait anxiously for season two! I even got my 27 year old fiancée watching it with me! This show makes me smile and gives me something to look forward to talking about with my friends and other members of the herd!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wow. You made a funny, creative show with, as you pointed out, several individualized major female characters, and people still griped about little things like ponies being “butch” or “black.” Give a mouse a cookie and he’ll ask for a glass of milk. Quite frankly, I think this reflects on such people’s fixations.

    Lauren, always remember that these kinds of criticisms aren’t as meaningful as those from your more respectful critics. I’m not sure I agree that friendship is as necessary as you imply it to be, but at the same time, I’m not about to brand your message part of some big heteronormative conspiracy either.

  10. Nightwatchstate says:

    Hi, I’m an anti-feminist because I think women should not rate themselves in comparison to men but instead accept gender differences and celebrate being women for being women. I love your show because it’s great to see positive female portrayals that don’t centre around domination of men and Fighting The Patriarchy etc. it’s also more realistic about female characters than most hollywood films (ie, woman is superhacker/drills in the desert for oil/hardbitten marine) etc.

    Gender politics aside I think the character design and expressiveness of the animation is involving and exciting; it’s a really enjoyable watch. MLP:FiM shows feminism how it needs to exist: as Girl Power centered around womens natural strengths, like cooperation and reconciliation, rather than the “whatever men can do, we can do better” agro attitude that’s dominated cultural discourse for decades. I hope young girls who see it learn from it they can be happy in themselves without resenting the men around them for having different sets of strengths.

    NWS

    • StylusPick says:

      5 words.

      The Great and Powerful Trixie

      :P

    • I disagree with you – that’s gender essentialism. I do not think that “cooperation and reconciliation” ARE natural strengths women possess necessarily. What are you arguing this from? Where do you get this idea? I know many very cooperative men and also many very assertive women. I think women have been acculturated to display those traits. I do agree that we should celebrate women for being women, but it is precisely because such traits are seen as feminine that women are seen as inferior. Those traits are seen as inferior.

      Maybe it’s a chicken-or-the-egg situation. But traditionally feminine traits (such as those you’ve mentioned) are looked down upon. They aren’t valued as much as traditionally masculine traits.

      And I think it’s strange that you compliment this show with that as your opening argument. Rainbow Dash, for instance, is very non-cooperative. She is fiercely competitive. She has many traditionally masculine traits. So should young girls accept the other ponies but not her? Your argument just seems flawed to me.

      I definitely agree that this show is good. I even agree with your reasoning: so that “young girls who see it learn from it they can be happy in themselves.” But I hope they can be happy with themselves regardless of whether they possess such traditionally feminine traits or now.

    • @Nightwatchstate says:

      “as Girl Power centered around womens natural strengths, like cooperation and reconciliation”

      no. cooperation and reconciliation is not women’s natural strength. it’s humans natural strengths and women are humans. so some women are naturally strong in cooperation and reconciliation and some are NOT ! ho and yes some men are naturally good for cooperation and reconciliation, because men are PEOPLE TOO !

      Twilight is strong in cooperation because she is Twilight. Rainbow Dash is NOT because she IS Rainbow Dash, she has OTHERS strengths (being 20% more awesome than everyone).

      the point of the show is you don’t need to define girls with whatever girly positive or negative sexism you want. These are interesting girls characters because they are simply interesting characters, there are no need for complex justification. They don’t need to be defined by men, they don’t need to be all positive or all negative, they are themselves and they do their best.

      True feminism is essential, it’s to let women/people live their life as they want AND to STOP to annoy PEOPLE with your preconceived ideas and bigotry !

      -

      yes the show is nice and entertaining. people doing that show for kids should be very proud.

    • As a female in the tech industry, I’d like to know why you think portraying a woman as a hacker is “unrealistic.” That’s incredibly sexist and, frankly, shows how completely you are missing the point of this show.

  11. Castellan says:

    I think it’s a little sad that you actually have to defend yourself against claims like these; try as hard as I might, I can’t take Kathleen Richter seriously for even a second. I mean, we all draw our own lines in the sand – we’ve all got our treshold for when and where we cry foul with regards to taking offense.

    But this? My Little Pony?

    I’ve watched every single episode twice, proud brony etc, but I like to think I’m not such a blindly adoring fan that my words are emtpy. MLP:FiM has no discernable racist, homophobic or smart-shaming traits, and even when I try hard to look for – and at – it, I just can’t see it.

    For what it’s worth, I believe you’ve done a good job of what you here state as your intent. While you’d be silly not to notice the gender population issue – the male to female ratio – it’s done for a reason, I suppose.

    Thank you for making the show, and please, bring on S2 and more Luna exposition!

  12. Hello! I just recently turned 16 years old and I felt compelled to comment on this article as I am a huge fan of this show.

    As a female and a lesbian, there are very few role models for people like me to focus on while growing up. There is just nothing for us out there. I’m not a tomboy by any means, but I’m more or less just a strong willed female. Any positive lesbian characters today are usually just a token character that aren’t fleshed out enough for anyone to remember or idolize.

    My hope is that either Rainbow Dash doesn’t come out and state her sexuality, or she might just come out in general. She would be an amazing role model because there are some seriously grim slim pickings for gals like me. At the very least, leaving her speculatively ambiguous would be just fine.

    I’m going to cringe when or if there is suddenly an episode where R.D. crushes on a male character that can do all of the things she can do, but better. Or just a male in general. Plenty of other characters (Rarity) that can carry the heterosexual torch for society.

    My two cents! Hope I didn’t sound too overly pro-gay, but in a show with so many diverse personalities for girls and women, I can’t help but hope there is at least one amazingly awesome character that might just happen to be gay and happy! How rare and memorable that would be! =)

    • Actually, wouldn’t it be MORE progressive for one of the other characters to come out? Especially since they don’t display stereotypically masculine traits. Rainbow Dash sez: STOP TRYING TO CRAM ME INTO YOUR LITTLE LABEL BOX, I CAN’T EVEN FLY THERE!

      Although the most progressive thing I think would be for Rarity to carry BOTH torches, and sometimes stumble and mix them up.

      “W-w-wait a second…you’re a GIRL pony?”
      “Shor am sugah. Evrythin’ on me works like evrythin’ on a lady should!”
      “I-i-i…hah, well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Now let me size you up for a new dress daaahling!”

      also in response to pony for life, ponies make everything better, even tyranny! Click name plz.

      • Agreed. If Rarity or Twilight Sparkle or Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy came out, that’d be fine. But honestly this show leaves sexuality out of it (except for s/m spike references but that’s spike being spike….) and I like that. :/ Not introducing the subject of a crush would be the best route. If they did, they SHOULD make it be Rainbow because it would show it’s cool to be a tomboy and straight. :/ Rarity has crushes, but that’s Rarity and she’s different, ahaha.

        I feel like it WOULD be more progressive…so if love ever comes into an episode, someone BESIDES Applejack and Rainbow should come out. I say Applejack because she’s also more on the masculine side, in some ways moreso than Rainbow Dash. She’d be such a stereotype.

        • I think it should be like, rather than being hetero, Rainbow Dash is kinda asexual and mostly disinterested in stuff like that (too busy going at high velocities) and might get surprised and awkward if someone advanced on her (kind of like that fan art where Twilight kisses her during wrestling and she gets a wingboner).

          I don’t think anyone necessarily needs to be fully monosexual though. If Rainbow or whoever turns out to like girls had crushed on a guy, it doesn’t prevent her from liking girls. That’s why Twilight and Rarity are good candidates for it.

          Or shocker: Spike. Lol. His pining for that plot is just a cover.

  13. I just want to say that Kathleen Richter was clearly looking for things to criticize. A diverse fan-base, including homosexuals, geeks, non-whites, and even adult men, as well as many who are a mix of those, has taken to the show. That should be telling enough. The reason for this is something you hinted at in your post; you’ve set out to fix everything that’s wrong with cartoons, especially those for girls, which is that they’re infuriatingly patronizing. If you take out the patronizing that girls for so many centuries have been trained to accept, and replace it with the assumption that the viewers understand what you’re saying and are capable individuals like the men of the recent centuries have been expected to be, what’s the result? You get social misfits, tom-boys, beauties, etc. saving the world because of, not in spite of, their embracing of their true selves and talents. This kind of message is positive and appealing to any sane person.

    The one misconception that annoys me the most is the “smart-shaming,” probably because your depiction of Twilight made me more proud than ever to be a geek(although Dash is still my favorite for reasons I’ll elaborate on later). If she’d payed attention, Kathleen would have noticed that Twilight’s new friends have a very deep respect and appreciation for her intelligence. The fact that everyone turned to her for answers and subsequently risked their lives fighting hard along side her shows this very clearly. Further, she’s shown using her knowledge to save her country. How much more positive can a show be toward nerds?

    The reason Rainbow Dash is my favorite is that she is the least offensive tom-boyish television character I’ve ever seen. In fact, she seems to be extremely positive. This appeals to me because I’m one of the least gender-conforming people you would ever meet. Even as a male-to-female transsexual, I’m a feminist and a tom-boy. I’d love nothing more than to be respected as a woman without having to resort to expressing myself with stereotypes. I’ve been known to be athletic(before being run over by a car), cocky, thrill-seeking, and just about everything else a human can have in common with her. I’m not willing to give up my love for leather, power tools, stainless steel decor, and motorcycles to get respect, just like her. She embodies everything feminism is. She doesn’t conform to the gender roles and doesn’t give a f***. She just demands respect, and gets it easily by being whoever she wants to be. Conversely, the simple fact that Kathleen had assumed that Dash is homosexual based solely on gender stereotypes is among the most homophobic and anti-feminist thing I can think of. A real feminist would let her be a tom-boy without assuming anything else. Even if Dash turns out to want nothing more than an intimate moment with Fluttershy, who cares? She loves herself and others love her for it. That’s what really matters.

    The accusations of racism are also pretty fantastic. Kathleen picked out two grey ponies in high-paying cushy jobs as royal guards trusted with the task of protecting a millenia-old magical princess, rather than robbing liquor stores as a racist stereotype would depict. To make matters worse, racism and cultural diversity was directly addressed when Zecora visits and everypony learns that she’s a very friendly Zebra with unique talents, not a bad or scary monster simply because she’s different or comes from far away.

    In light of all of this, I want to personally thank you for what you’ve done for the world with this. You’ve had a huge influence in out development as a society and civilization. I’ve read many accounts of lives even being saved by this show. Even adult male tough-guys have watched and learned to improve themselves. Some have quit drugs and alcohol after learning to turn to their friends for help. Some learned to get new friends who wouldn’t treat them as badly as their predecessor. Others who were on a suicidal downward spiral learned to enjoy life and take pride in themselves. People(although obviously not all of them) of all ages and genders everywhere are putting aside their bias and enjoying a cartoon marketed for little girls. You’ve succeeded in exactly what you’ve set out to do and far more. I sincerely hope that you take pride in this accomplishment.

  14. Paul Prescod says:

    I just watched the episode “Feeling Pinkie Keen. It is extremely anti-intellectual and anti-scientific. This show has a problem with anti-intellectualism and it’s very worrisome when that kind of tripe is pushed at young girls. The problem is not so much that the one pony has the ability to predict the future, but that the show says that its wrong and silly to try and understand the phenomenon. Better to just “believe” rather than try to “understand”. Ugh. This is the same anti-intellectualism that gives rise to creationism and auras and astrology and crystals.

    • Shutterfly says:

      Twilight DID try to understand it. The fact of the matter was that she COULDN’T. There was an observed cause and an observed effect. You can’t spend all the time it would require to go into the great depth of the scientific process (nor does anyone watching the show care to) in the course of 22 minutes.

      The idea is that you’ve got a theoretical situation in which you have exhausted every resource you can, and you STILL can’t “understand the phenomenon.” What do you do then?

      In the grand scheme of things though, this is easily the most controversial episode in the season, and it’s the one everyone whines and argues about on every pony-discussing forum out there.

      If what you consider to be the one unpopped kernel in your bag of the popcorn is really so appalling that you can’t enjoy the rest of the bag, then quit whining and go get a different bag.

      • See the problem is that even if the viewers are supposed to believe that Twilight tried everything she could, and was “scientific”, the fact is she wasn’t. Twilight explicitly admits being biased and says she wants to disprove the pinkie sense because she doesn’t understand it, which is hardly a scientific stance. Understanding the mechanisms behind a phenomenon is the LAST step in the scientific process, not the first. All a scientific experiment does in and of itself is tell you if your idea is true or false. It requires no knowledge of “why” a phenomenon happens, nor does it necessarily give you any. If Twilight were being scientific then meticulous recording of times of prediction and times of predictions being fulfilled, along with proof that Pinkie Pie did not cause or have prior knowledge of these events herself, would be enough to demonstrate scientifically that her “Pinkie Sense” was a real phenomenon. She still wouldn’t know why it happens, but she’d at least know it’s real. Of course that’s really boring, but nevertheless the fact remains that Twilight wasn’t out of options.

    • Lauren Faust pointed out on her Deviantart that the moral of that episode went a bit awry and she did not intend it to come of as “thinking bad, blind faith good” and that she regrets how the message wound up being delivered.

    • Yeahhhh….this episode really bothered me too, but in the end I decided maybe it’s saying that if you still want to believe in something, you can, and you can have your science AND your auras if you want. People can believe what they want as long as no one gets hurt and they’re willing to accept science, too. Honestly I think it was SUPPOSED to say “be open minded” originally if I read right, but some poor wording ended up in there.

      As far as anti-intellectualism goes, Twilight DID, in the episode’s defense, do research and observation and DID prove that pinkie’s twitches were right, as weird as they were.

      I can see how you were offended. I still wish they worded the end differently myself, but honestly the show’s not crap because of one sub-par episode.

    • DavidReinold says:

      That was a Dave Polsky episode though. His episodes don’t count, because frankly, they’re the only thing keeping this show from becoming god-tier. He writes crap episodes and then the rest of the staff takes crap for his nonsense.

      Honestly, if you use Feeling Pinkie Keen as your logic for pigeon-holing this show as “anti-intellectual” you need to watch another episode and re-think your statement.

    • While I agree that Feeling Pinkie Keen made me feel a little uneasy, I’ll bring it a bit of defence.

      I gathered that the point of the episode was that Twilight Sparkle wasn’t trying to understand it, she was trying to disprove it. And THAT is what she was doing wrong. She was disrespecting Pinkie Pie by going on the assumption that the little jitters meant nothing, rather than considering the possibility that they meant something.

      • Joel Morrow says:

        I for one thought that Feeling Pinkie Keen was a great episode. I think what they were trying to get across to people was the fact we should both respect peoples faiths even if we see absolutely nothing logical with it. Faith is a good thing! Anti-Intellectualism is not!

  15. Straker says:

    As a fan of the show, I have to say that I do love it. I love the characters and the setting and the universe they inhabit and look forward to the creators of the show to expand on it. I do agree with all of Laurens counter arguments but, the show is far from being NOT sexist and NOT racist.

    I have to ask…is Spike the token black friend here? The token male character for radical feminists to use as a punching bag? Cause I’m having a hard time telling.

    Now before I get into this I have to explain that where I’m aware there’s no races as defined by color but by type amongst the ponies and that yes, they are all equals amongst themselves, I can’t help but notice that the only main character that is a completely different species/race or gender from the main character ponies is basically the “house elf” type slave/servant even though he is treated as a friend to the main characters.

    There’s three ways I can see this. One is that because he’s a dragon he’s a pet though his intelligence seems to negate that. Or it’s because he’s a dragon that he’s seen as a lower class creature to be used as a servant. You could say it’s because he’s a male but that would be sexist on top of racist because no other males are shown in the show to be an under aged servant (remember he’s only a few years younger than Twilight Sparkle)and even if he’s getting an education from the Ponies and Celestia that would imply that he’s a special case but not why he isn’t treated as an equal but as a servant.. You telling me that other students of magic have classmates be their servants and butlers and house maids? Or do they all get a dragon to treat as a servant an email provider to Celestia?

    Or is it the third option, that it’s both.

    I have to think it is both because we have seen NO evidence in 26 episodes of other males being trated as servants that aren’t a waiter or a work pony like Big Macintosh but at the same time you CERTAINLY don’t see any girl treated like Spike either and definitely no ponies the same age as Spike. At the same time as one of the only three examples of a dragon on the show and being the youngest and smallest one of the three, he’s the only example that is used almost exclusively as a servant.Again, there are no ponies in the position he is in.

    Let’s talk about the character as the only lead, male character.

    If the gender roles were reversed and Spike was the under aged, female servant of Twilight Sparkle, would there be an outcry of sexism? I think we know the answer is a resounding yes. So what then are we teaching children, and especially girls about gender equality?

    I can recall the final episode of the season with the Grand Galloping Gala where the first thing the main characters do is ditch spike, have a bad time and then later the lesson is that you should stick by your friends…but no apology is made to Spike, no admission that “Oh, we’re sorry we ditched you Spike” they don’t even acknowledge his feelings. Why not?

    I can recall other times he’s been used with little regard to his feelings. What are we saying about this character? WHY are we saying it about this character and how does it relate to his gender or race?

    Next let’s talk about the race aspect. He’s the only male that is treated as a servant, is under age, a different species from the ponies and no reason is given for why any of this is the case.

    He’s used to send messages back and forth, cleans up after Twilight Sparkle, acts as a butler and does manual labor. There’s no hint that he’s being educated along side Twilight Sparkle as a classmate or equal and seeing as how he’s her servant this observation is supported. Is he even getting paid outside a roof over his head and food? Sure he’s not badly mistreated (outside of being used as a pin cushion, but that’s OK cause he says he can’t feel it?) but considering the other times we see Dragons they are being treated with a little more respect due to their size and power, it seems to me that Spike is being taken advantage of for being small, a dragon, a different race than the ponies and is not being treated as an equal despite the apparent friendships with said ponies.

    Is the only argument then that the character as a servant is better off than being a wild dragon? If so better be careful because that’s what slave owners used to say about slaves, even when the slave owners that were nice and paid their slaves or treated their slaves like “friends” rather than property but even then the statement would imply that Dragons are a sort of lesser creature that’s better off being a servant to ponies which in itself is racist.

    So, what is the reason Spike is treated the way he is? Because he’s a servant? A slave? A friend? A different race? A MAAAAAAALE? Which of these justifies the way the character is written and treated that couldn’t be construed as either based on the characters apparent race or gender?

    • Daredevil says:

      I think you may be attributing more of a servant’s role to Spike than is warranted. The only thing he does that could be construed as servant-like is taking dictation and sending/receiving letters from the Princess. Whenever Spike is “cleaning up after Twilight”, she is also cleaning up and always thanks him for his help. In fact, everyone thanks him for his help whenever he is helping them. Aside from the letters, I’ve yet to see him help someone in a way one of the other characters hasn’t done also (with the exception of “driving” the coach to the gala, which really amounted to him unnecessarily holding the reigns. He is the only one with hands, though). The time he was a pincushion, the other ponies were concerned about it (“Doesn’t that hurt?”) and he is the one who told them not to worry, that it didn’t hurt. No one asked him to do that and Rarity has actual pincushions, he did it to himself (a silly gesture, meant to amuse children. You know, the audience?). After the huge mess that was made of the Grand Gala, Twilight does, indeed, tell Spike he was right all along. Not to mention Spike is not the only one who is ignored, only to be vindicated at the end of an episode (the same happens to Pinkie Pie in Swarm of the Century and Applebloom in Bridle Gossip).

      I would assume the reason he lives with Twilight has nothing to do with gaining an education. In The Cutie Mark Chronicles, the episode where all the older ponies tell the story of how they gained their cutie marks, Twilight’s story involves her using magic to hatch a dragon egg. One would connect those dots that she hatched a dragon egg and now is the caretaker of a baby dragon.

      • Pyrite Foolsgold says:

        It seemed pretty obvious to me, a recently adolescent male, that spike’s acting as a pincushion was an attempt to impress and be useful/close to Rarity, who he has a crush on.

        Also, it does seem that having a baby dragon as an assistant that one is expected to take care of is a part of being admitted to the magical academy that Twilight was taking the entrance exam for when she met Princess Celestia, since said entrance exam involves magically opening such an egg.

      • SpikesBigSister says:

        Not to mention, people are missing out on one big thing. Maybe I only see it because I’m a big sister to a little brother, but… the interactions between Spike and Twilight Sparkle are that of siblings. The gentle teasing, the helping out each other, the frustration and overall love, all of it I’ve seen between me and my own younger brother.

    • MeanMrsMustard says:

      Wow.

      First of all, I love Spike. I’ve never seen him as the “token black character” or “punching bag.” I’ve also never seen him treated as a “house elf.” He’s not compelled to follow orders. He’s free to say what he wants. When he runs away, Twilight goes looking for him because she *cares about him,* not because she needs him to send scrolls to Celestia or tidy up the books. I should have mentioned this earlier, but he’s also free to lie to Twilight, and the only consequences are what you’d expect if you lied to a friend.

      About the age thing: I think dragons age differently than ponies. Spike’s a baby dragon, and he’s hundreds of times smaller than the dragon in “Dragonshy.” He hasn’t grown much in size since he hatched, and remember when it was mentioned that dragons take 100-year-long naps? I’m pretty sure that not only will Spike outlive Twilight, I think he’ll outlive several generations of the Sparkle family. Just a side note, though. ^_^

      When is Spike “used with little or no regard to his feelings”? Everyone loves to use the pincushion example, but Spike was the one who told everypony that it was no big deal and he had no feeling in his scales. It’s quite obvious that he was trying to impress Rarity.

      You say that adult dragons are treated with more respect because of their size and power. TBH, I don’t see it as respect as much as fear. Rainbow Dash is the only one who doesn’t admit that she’s afraid of the dragon.

      I don’t know about the pony monetary system, really. The only pony I’ve seen deal with money is Applejack. I think that most ponies don’t need money, and Spike doesn’t either.

      Finally, I think I know why no other character is treated like Spike. Remember when Fluttershy says, “I’ve never seen a baby dragon before”? I think that most of Celestia’s students live in Canterlot, so you don’t see their dragon assistants. Twilight is probably the only attendee of whatever school she goes to in Ponyville. My best guess about the other students is that they have dragon assistants: Remember the entrance exam? The egg? Spike hatching?

      TL;DR:

      I’ve always seen Spike as a mix of intern, best friend, and ward to Twilight. (I couldn’t think of a better word. Let’s just say that Twilight is like his boss, best friend, and caretaker.) We don’t see anyone like Spike because all the examples live in Canterlot. The ponies respect dragons, big and small.

      Rant over. Let’s go watch more ponies!

      • We don’t know the pony lifespan, keep in mind that nopony in FiM is a ‘normal’ pony. You’re either a pegasus, a unicorn of an ‘earth’ pony. If we look at Celestia, clearly it’s possible to live a thousand years. She is dragonlike and the others could have that potential, especially those versed in magic study as her apprentice like twilight.

    • to be honest….
      the most worrying thing about Spike and the main reason he can be seen as a “slave” is really his love for Rarity causing him to act in-CREDIBLY masochistic and to do too much for her. Needle play, anyone? Green Isn’t Your Color pretty much sums up when his character was taken too far for a children’s show. (although to be honest it probably went over kids’ heads and wasn’t intended that way…I only noticed because of my sickening interests/TMI knowledge)
      Most of the time however, Spike’s the, well, the baby. He’s a little boy, but he’s still part of the group–they include him in all their activities and fairly at that, and the reason why he helps Twilight Sparkle in her studies is because he’s her apprentice/assistant and she’s raising him. They are his CHORES. Little kids have chores at home, too. :/ And as Daredevil says, Spike’s opinion actually matters to the girls, as seen in the Grand Galloping Gala. Spike’s not exactly enrolled in school, he has to do something with his life. He probably DOES learn being around Twilight, but think about it, there’s no other baby dragons for him to play with and no baby dragon school, so his education comes from helping Twilight, and his chores. Chores are fine. XP

      I mean, goodness, Owl’s Well that Ends Well is the “Spike Appreciation Episode.” He is an assistant, nothing more.

      As to ponies Spike’s age…ahem, Cutie Mark Crusaders?

    • DavidReinold says:

      He’s not a servant. Twilight is practically his quasi-mother/sister. No way can you just pass him off as a servant.

      Not to mention he probably gets paid off-screen. They have half an hour a week to tell a story, I don’t think the lack of a “Spike getting paid” sequence is any significant indication that it doesn’t happen. There has just never been any need to mention money.

    • Cerulean Warp says:

      First of all, Spike likes his job. This should be obvious. I refer to Owl’s Well that Ends Well, in which Spike runs away from home because he believes that Twilight Sparkle hates him and is trying to replace him with Owlowiscious. He didn’t want to escape, and he didn’t want to lose his job. I see it as a sort of “you can’t fire me, I quit” situation. Spike is an assistant. He doesn’t obey Twilight’s every whim, he doesn’t get physically abused by any stretch of the imagination, and he is treated like a person. Here, I refer to A Dog and Pony Show, in which Spike is “used” for digging up gems that Rarity finds. However, Rarity is putting out effort as well. Magic is demonstrated to be just as hard work as an earthpony’s physical work, and Rarity is using magic to detect the gems. This is another point: Spike is not told “there may or may not be gems here, now dig blindly until you find some.” Rarity makes the job as easy as possible by finding the gems and letting Spike, who is much better at digging than her, to dig them up. He is even paid by Rarity, given a share of the gems to eat them as a reward for his patience and helpfulness.

  16. I also love, in the series, how the “Mane Six” characters aren’t even girl-based characters either. With a minor tweak here and there, they’re basically capable of being either gender.

    You have Twilight, the scholar and somewhat of a nerd

    You have Applejack, the workaholic

    You have Rarity, the “Social Butterfly” and Designer (Which is commonly filled by both gender IRL, or she could just be an “artist”)

    You have Fluttershy, the animal lover and generally shy pony

    You have Rainbow Dash, the athlete and competitive pony

    And you have Pinkie Pie, the party-holic and happy-go-lucky pony

    It’s difficult to create a cast of characters that can be related to by both males and females.

    And I DO wish that they would put some more males in main or recurring secondary rolls. The only speaking rolls I can think of for male ponies are Mr. Cake and a few scattered single lines.

  17. New Brony Brandon says:

    I just started watching this and I love it! I’ve made it to Episode 11 right now. I agree with all this, but I gotta admit, the metaphor in episode 9 was quite thick: The ponies fearing an African zebra because of her strange rituals. Just glad it a happy ending for everyone. Can’t wait to see what else is in store.

  18. Desert Rose says:

    Lauren, I don’t think I could have said what you did any better. Kathleen’s article is simply turning everybody into victims: another person obsessed with finding offense and issues in everything.

  19. Rainbow Dash is about 20% cooler as a lesbian though

  20. I just want to congratulate you. I loved the series and I do think that your efforts show through.

    It just happened that a friend of mine and I (both of us from the sociology and philosophy field) were discussing things about role models for girls and what does it mean to be a woman, or if it has to actually “mean something” to be a woman.

    We shudder at a lot of the ways in which society tells girls what they have to be, so seeing your show actually made me have a smile ant hink: “there are people out there trying their best… great ^_^”

    PS: And about the criticism… I think that in such a rich world like ours (more so thanks to globalization) it is impossible to do something “correct”. Still, this article helps to clarify your point. Thanks again for your efforts.

  21. Rabbertarian says:

    I’m just glad to see someone shedding some real light on the entire show. Though I have to ask; In Equestria, is Princess the only symbol of rule, or is there a king and/or queen living outside of that world–ruling over it and other planets in some kind of Pony-Landsraad type of deal? Do I have to wait for season two for that answer? :^/

    • According to Ms. Faust, Celestia is the highest authority in Equestria. Technically speaking, that makes Equestria a principality rather than a true “kingdom.”

  22. Pony For Life says:

    Bronies, join me.

    Join me in the quest to educate and understand pointless haters.

    There are always going to be pointless haters.

    But maybe we can make more establishment of the the true meaning of a brony…unconditional love for the world, the ability to accept and forgive all, and to resolve conflict in a rational, unarguable way.

    Dear haters,

    This can’t be made any clearer.

    Going on YouTube videos simply to hate benefits neither side. You abuse them and they abuse you right back. Or you are ignored.

    If you are a troll…why do you waste your time trying to anger other people?

    If abusing other peoples’ interest and happiness makes you happy…There is nothing to say except that you have to go and reflect on your own life. Discover what had happened in your life that made you this way…only getting happiness from being a cruel person.

    Cruel people destroyed what made people happy…in history. For example, military dictator Oliver Cromwell tried to ruin other peoples’ happiness. He banned Christmas and others’ religions and dance theaters and football games and even fancy clothes.

    But if you’ve studied…Cromwell grew up under people who have done the same to him. He grew up without fun. Without rainbows and enjoyment.

    Try to find what has made you bitter toward other people…that makes you the same way.

    How can I even hate you anymore?

    In fact, why did we hate haters to begin with?

    It doesn’t even make sense…as if we are giving haters justification to hate us back.

    That’s not the way of a Brony…a Brony understands you and tries to create a compromise that satisfies everyone.

    To make everyone happy without hurting people…it is a goal to keep striving for.

    Hate cannot be eliminated. But…

    There is no way to keep fighting fire with fire without people getting abused.

    We can balance it…just like Princess Celestia did with Nightmare Moon.

    Let us treat ignorance and hate with education an love.

    I am not Ghandi.

    I am just a regular person who is tired of the hate…and what kind of pathetic society we have been all these years…hating other cultures because we don’t understand them.

    In fact, it’s not just about ponies. It’s about a greater picture here.

    You may say, tl;dr.

    It does not matter.

    So if you are another hater, so what?

    I have a wish that you will learn eventually.

  23. fluttershy says:

    TBH i didn’t find the original cartoon to feminine at all, particularly not the pilot. and for the longest while i assumed that wind whistler was transgendered

    megan wasn’t to girly for me and had a younger sister and brother, they did go on all kinds of adventures, some of which were frankly dumb, but most of which were epic, imho

    i know that some of the aspect were frankly hilarious – the back card stories, the obsession with pony ballet – but considering the nature and age of the show, they were and still are pretty amazing in my book. i -cough- still take my ponies on all kinds of adventures that i guess are applicable to my interests

    also, a curtain amount of FiM cartoons end with the ponies giggling at something, at least twice at the word “yes”

    if your talking about the G2 and G3 line, i couldn’t agree more ^^ i still love though, because i’m satens child

    just to add, i love almost everything to do with fiM. i love classic animation, ponies and philosophy -and psychology – and this show supplies so much more, and i’m a fan of laurens work in general. so i hope i don’t come across as a dick, but we’re all entitled to our opinions, no? :p

  24. >> She is a tomboy, but nowhere in the show is her sexual orientation ever referenced.

    That didn’t sound like a “no” to me. Is she or is she not a lesbian? :P

    • fluttershy says:

      fluttershy and rainbow, inas a tree O.o

    • I thing that was the point of that, it shouldn’t matter whether or not Rainbow Dash is a lesbian. No matter if you’re gay or straight, purple, pink, or black and white striped, a pony is a pony and should be treated like one.

    • Doesn’t sound like a “yes”, either.

      Just because she’s a tomboy doesn’t make her a lesbian. Did you read that part?

      I’d prefer if orientation didn’t come up at all. And, if you notice, NONE of the Mane Cast, or any of the characters (besides, Rarity, I guess) talk and giggle over boys or whoever it is that they’re crushing on. And I’d like it to stay that way.

    • DavidReinold says:

      I think RD would actually make a much better gay role model if it was NEVER officially confirmed. Just sayin’.

  25. TheBeatlesPkmnFan42 says:

    Thank you so much for telling that woman the truth, Mrs. Faust. Now maybe she’ll try watching an episode for once. ;)

  26. Anon 8R0N135! says:

    This rebutle was well written and heartfelt and I think it struck just the right tone, not making the criticisms into a personal attack and not resorting to attacking the author of the original article.

    That said, I was kind of hoping for a full on verbal thrashing of the original author, who’s research into the show seems to have, in its entirety, included half of one episode.

    THAT said, good on Ms. Magazine for hosting this response to their own article.

  27. I found a link to this on TVtropes, and I must say first that I have always respected you. You’ve worked on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Cats Don’t Dance, and The Powerpuff Girls–all things that I am a huge fan of. This article had me look into My Little Pony, and I’m definitely adding it to the list.

    After reading this, my admiration for you has increased at least 100% percent. As an aspiring animator, I hope that I will be able to respond to negative criticism and hatred in such a mature way. Wonderful response.

  28. DJ Dastardly Tomas IV Jr. Sr. says:

    It was a little unusual seeing racism listed as a complaint with something other than the zebrapony used as explanation. I mean, you’d think that would be the obvious thing since you have a bunch of ponies with European hair texture (unless there’s curly or nappy headed ponies I missed) who will be read as white by default, and then the show introduces a distinctive African “other” who fits the magical negro archetype to a T.

    • Aeon Blue says:

      I thought the point of the episode with Zecora was that she was being viewed as a magical negro, but turned out to be a normal person with a knowledge of medicine. But that may be wishful thinking on my part.

  29. coolman229 says:

    I love My Little Pony Friendship is magic. When I first heard of it, I thought “Pffft yah. Another little girl’s show.” Then I saw Ponycraft II.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJbAT1wzS8U

    I recently started watching it, and it’s FREAKING AWESOME. Even being a guy in college (several of my friends have been swept up in the Ponymania, too), I can say that the show is well written, excellently animated, and utter hilarious. I fully endorse ponies. Way to go, Ms. Faust.

  30. Seriously, I hope that your able to keep your creation up and running for a looooong time, I’m also hoping that you can maintain direction in the show, it would be a travesty if someone were to come along and pull another spongebob. I, and the Millions of other bronies out there love what you have done with the show, and I’m glad that you have, for once in a long time, made a show that is excellent in all aspects, with beautiful artistic direction, music, and FANTASTIC use of subtlety (A very hard thing to do). Thank you, from all the bronies. you have done ART.

  31. Though I adore the show and this article, I think I would really enjoy it if there WERE a gay pony in the mane six. This is the new age, and all around us equality is spreading. I think we should teach the new generation that not all girls like boys; not all boys like girls. We should teach them to not be hateful towards these people just because they like other things than us. They’re still the same person, are they not?
    Huh, just my thoughts on the matter.

    • twilight sparkle says:

      i think you are right on so many levels and you explaned it better than i did

    • Andrew P. says:

      You know what? Lyra and Bon-Bon are perhaps perfect for that job. They’re not main characters, so it wouldn’t seem too blatant. But simply having their continued presence and perhaps referencing it in-show would really help solidify that exact point.

  32. Asexual 18-yo male says:

    I love the show precisely because it’s unlike the unending tea parties you see in most cartoons made for little girls, and that fascinates me. Besides that, the show is in many ways more realistic (as far as characters go) and entertaining than more popular shows such as SpongeBob SquarePants. In many, many ways…

    As far as characters’ sexuality goes, I think that it should be left up to individual fans to decide for themselves. Sexuality doesn’t belong in a children’s cartoon, so the show itself shouldn’t decide characters’ sexuality. Older fans should be able to decide for themselves what sexuality they want the characters to be, but I still hate slash fiction and arguing over characters’ sexuality.

    • Aeon Blue says:

      Sexuality is already in the cartoon. When Spike gossips about his crush on Rarity and, later, fantasizes that he earns a kiss from her after saving her from her captors, that’s heterosexuality at work. It’s just harder to see because we’re used to thinking of it as normal.

  33. Chihirolee3 says:

    I really like this show, and what I’ve read in blogs and articles bashing this show is just nonsense. People hate things that ain’t of the norm, and this show stands out because it does not follow the typical girl cartoon format. If it wasn’t for R. Dash, I wouldn’t watch it (I’m like her). My husband thinks I’m weird for liking this show, but after all the stupid internet memes I’ve been seeing, I got curious.

  34. Excellent article. As a middle-aged female with a lot of “boyish” interests, the thing that drew me to the show (besides the Internet fervor) was the depth of character portrayed by each pony. Each one has a complex and multi-faceted personality rather than being a simple stereotype (Rarity and Rainbow Dash are great examples of this), each has realistic flaws, and each has the ability to learn from their mistakes. I am so tired of female children’s icons in games and books and media being one-dimensional.

    When I was young I didn’t have nearly as many female friends as male friends, and it took me a long time to realize the simple idea that “girls are people”, plain and simple. That probably sounds really stupid, but it’s a simple message you can miss when the female characters in fighting games and TV shows etc. are just feminized templates with breasts and emotional dependence issues.

    • I can relate to that. Because of a lack of good role models in my life and nothing but vacant projections of male desire to represent women in the media, I still have trouble believing women are people. My feminism is, in part, an extension of this desire to seek out stories of real women to convince myself of their existence and importance, and, consequently, my own.

      I started watching MLP: FIM to see why it was an internet craze. I continue watching it because of its positive role models for girls and strong moral lessons. Even at my age, even if it is a children’s show featuring ponies, it is healing to see such a wonderful representation of women.

  35. MagmarFire says:

    Don’t listen to that drivel of an article, Ms. Faust! (Well, of course you’re not, which is why you provided a well-deserved “take that!”) Richter resorted to affirming the consequent (a logical fallacy!) for practically her first argument, meaning it’s practically impossible to take her seriously. According to her, your show is following a particular, yet realistically false, stereotype; and she pieces together her “argument” as follows:

    Argument P: “There is a false stereotype that all feminists are angry, tomboyish lesbians.”

    Argument Q: “Rainbow Dash is an angry, tomboyish lesbian.” (May or may not be true in the eyes of some fans, but that’s not relevant in this analysis.)

    Conclusion: “Rainbow Dash was written to be a feminist and, therefore, upholds the stereotype summarized by Argument P.”

    Um, HELLO!? Modus ponens does not work that way! You, Ms. Richter, FAIL LOGIC FOREVER!

    And apparently, African-and-European race squabble is a very important factor when creating characters of a completely different species. Go figure.

    Sorry to rant about this in your own blog, but criticizers of a genuinely good show without any good, logical arguments to back them up need to be sporked accordingly. Anyway, even though you’ve stepped down from your position, I hope you continue to be a positive driving force toward the show! Keep it up, Ms. Faust!

  36. This show literally changed my life.

    When I first heard about My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, I dismissed it as, of course, another icky girly show. Then I started seeing it everywhere. Message boards, memes, deviantart. Figured it might be one of those “god, this is so bad, LET’S PROPOGATE IT” things. Eventually, a good friend of mine (whose judgment I trust) mentioned that she really liked it. I gave up and searched it on youtube.

    I sat there for a few minutes wondering “Why. Why am I watching this.” (In hindsight I think it was the crisp animation and believable voice acting that kept me interested enough to give it a fair chance.) As I continued watching, I really took a liking to the characters. Having ADHD, I identified with Pinkie Pie’s randomness and seemingly short attention span. Twilight’s knowledge of everything except social interaction hit pretty close to home. Being highly gender confused, I found comfort in the tomboyish Rainbow Dash. (Which had nothing to to with the rainbow connotations.) I respected Rarity for her passion for her art (I draw, among other things). I understood Fluttershy’s timidness around ponyfolk but ease around other animals. And Applejack’s devotion to her family only served to remind me of how much I love mine.

    These weren’t just ponies… they were people. I cared about them. I worried for Twilight and Applejack at the edge of the cliff. I winced for Rarity when she chopped off her tail. I was relieved when Rainbow Dash returned to help the others, proud of Pinkie Pie for facing fear with a smile, touched by Fluttershy’s concern for a fearsome enemy. My heart sank when the Element stones crumbled, and rose again when Twilight realized she didn’t need them.

    That moment was beautiful. I cried. Shamelessly.

    And when Luna was freed from the darkness of Nightmare Moon, Celestia didn’t punish her… She warmly accepted her sister back into her life. I realized then how wise Celestia was, knowing that kindness would speak volumes over hostility.

    I vowed then to become a better person.

    All because of a bunch of ponies.

    • Who are you and why does your story (and self-description) sound exactly like me/mine.

      I’m both intrigued and creeped out by the similarities…

  37. Fotohunter says:

    I am really glad to see this carefully constructed replay to such an unnecessary criticism. The show you created Mrs. Faust, although based on a toy, is what many shows should aspire: Their very best!

    I’d like to add to help in your Rainbow Dash problem by pointing that Rainbow Dash is a very accurate character in the relationship with her personality and activities. I myself have seen and befriended people that have practiced sports even to the point of perfection and usually their personalities end up being bounded to the sport they practice.

  38. I’ve been a feminist since I had the capacity to think about abstract ideas like societal roles and gender and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is

    1.) One of the best shows (at all) out there today

    2.) One of the best shows “for girls” ever

    MLP:FIM is hilarious and incredibly entertaining. I see a little bit of all of the mane six in me. I love books like Twilight Sparkle, I care about animals like Fluttershy, I’m practical like Apple Jack, I take joy in my moments of “girly-ness” like Rarity, I don’t let anyone walk all over me like Rainbow Dash, and I’m goofy like Pinkie Pie.

    My 20 year old brother introduced me to this show and he’s more into it than even I am. Just the fact that there ARE bronies is, I think, huge! What a way to help destroy the idea that femininity is shameful! There are grown men who love this show and are proud of it. The fear of being feminine is being challenged by this show and that’s extremely important when there are insults like “You throw like a girl” and worse out there.

    I’m a MLP:FIM filly! A pegasister for life!

  39. I agree with everyone who posted above me, but I think if there is a lesbian character, then it should not be Rainbow Dash. It’s too stereotypical and I cannot imagine her as a lesbian.

    I love the show. I took a quiz and I am just like TS. I look up to RD because she is my dream personality. I see a part of me in each character. I’m booky like Twilight, Love animals and shy around people other than my friends like Fluttershy, Random like Pinkie Pie (around friends, of course) artistic (advanced art class, love to draw) like Rarity, Brave like Rainbow Dash (My sisters usually send me to do things they are too shy to do, even though I’m the shy one), and Practical and Hard working like Applejack.

  40. Please explain why any guy would like this at all? Give me full detail because I have watched the show and its creepy. All you bronies need to grow up and get a life!!!!

    • Well, I’ll give you the short version: it’s a well-made cartoon with likeable characters and plenty of well-timed self-referential humor.

      It’s really the same thing behind anyone enjoying Animaniacs, Powerpuff Girls, Spongebob, or Adventure Time. If it’s good, then no matter the target demographic, the show will draw fans from all over the spectrum.

  41. Thanks for writing this article, it was really refreshing in comparison to the one that attacked your show.

    I really hope Kathleen Richter is embarrassed now. Her articles don’t seem well researched or professional enough to be shown on this website.

    • Hey Hannah,

      Just because Kathleen might have missed the target on this pony thing doesn’t mean that there’s anything resembling poor quality in her other articles. She consistently writes about topics that other blogs/magazines aren’t picking up on as often as they should and yet she’s taking flack for messing up on an analysis about f***ing ponies. So yeah, go right ahead and continue to fetishize a 10 month old article. It’s tired and irrelevant. Time to move on.

      Meanwhile, in the land of topics that actually matter, Ms. Richter continues to deliver content

      (and FYI it’s no coincidence that her stuff is CHOSEN to be posted here) that isn’t just pop culture based to this outstanding source of feminist news/material.

      Elsewhere, the rest of us will continue to laugh at the fact that this comment thread is still alive.

      Ciao,

      Me

  42. Why can’t people simply take a boundary-trancending slice of wholesome adorableness, without injecting their own personal issues upon it? Perhaps the following link may help some of you understand why things like Friendship is Magic draws such absurdly far-fetched criticism :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

  43. This is amazing! As a child, I grew up watching My Little Pony, and I didn’t think it was the best show ever. While I was browsing the TV I found My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. At first I thought it would be boring, but when I watched it, I really enjoyed it. (I’m 13) I really love this and your doing a wonderful job, Lauren!

  44. Carlos the Hedgehog says:

    You know, it’s almost been a year since this was posted, and yet, we are still supporting Lauren Faust’s amazing rebuttal. Lauren, you are amazing, as I have never seen anyone reply to another’s review like this. -Like a Faust-

  45. As a 40-year old man and proud father of a wonderful girl, I have but one thing to say:

    Bravo, Ms. Faust. Bravo!

  46. I know I’m supposed to love and tolerate and all, but…

    I kind of hope this was a kick in Kathleen’s pants.

    Maybe she’s written a letter to Celestia by now.

  47. For Laurent Faust :

    +10000000000000000000000000000000000000 !

  48. Shows for kids these days aren’t what they used to be. I remember growing up watching quality stuff like Captain Planet, Arthur, Spongebob, etc. Shows today suck, except for the occasional few. Lauren Faust’s My Little Pony is one of the few shows aimed at kids that I actually enjoy myself. It has something that every other program lacks, and that is depth.

    The story line is interesting, the animation is fun and quirky, and the jokes are actually things I can laugh along to, instead of the really immature humour found in a lot of other shows. I’m 20 years old btw, and I find myself waiting for the next episode of My Little Pony every time it’s ready to air.

    Besides, I read Kathleen’s review, it looks like she just watched a clip of the intro and based her argument off that. Haters gonna hate.

    • “Shows for kids these days aren’t what they used to be. I remember growing up watching quality stuff like Captain Planet, Arthur, Spongebob, etc”

      You used “quality” and “Captain Planet” in the same varblenecking sentence.

      I am a dedicated brony, a twenty-three-year-old man, and an ardent feminist.

      …my brain broke reading that. <_o

  49. HappyKiwi says:

    I always love reading this. You inspire me so much Lauren. Keep up the amazing work!

  50. I’ve only started watching the show recently, but, as a 19 year old woman, it had me thinking, why didn’t I have something like this when I was a kid. I’m used to typical “girly” shows being utter saccharine laced crap, with bland characters and only the vaguest sense of plot or character development.

    But, this show has real plot and real, believable, dynamic characters, and I can understand entirely why the the show reaches way outside it’s target demographic.

    Thanks from everypony

Speak Your Mind

*