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I don't watch this show but someone told me you might like it.
January 23, 2011 8:57 PM   Subscribe

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. A toy shilling re-imagining of an 80's cartoon show for little girls. It is sexist, racist, and homophobic. Or maybe not. It seems to be finding an audience among a periphery demographic, which some people seem to find a bit odd.

It is a creation of Lauren Faust, who worked on The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends with her husband Craig McCracken.

Because of a focus on merchandising over ratings and an odd timeslot, episodes are freely available online.

Episode 1 Part 1. Part 2.
Episode 2 Part 1. Part 2.
Episode 3 Part 1. Part 2.
Episode 4 Part 1. Part 2.
posted by furiousxgeorge (88 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite

 
God I love the internet. This is so uncomfortable and challenging for people engrossed in the mainstream. It's breaking arbitrary, harmful barriers wrought by commercialization and enriching our culture.

All that aside, I'm still a little embarrassed that I'm about to watch My Little Pony.
posted by polyhedron at 9:10 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here is a useful reference photo for people who don't know what a "periphery demographic" is.
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2011 [29 favorites]


There are alot of people who do pretty insane modifications to the toys as well.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:11 PM on January 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I can't imagine the creators ever imagined fans would be doing MLP/Battlestar Galactica mashups...
posted by tim_in_oz at 9:12 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Point of order! The original post seems to imply that the original was NOT toy shilling. However, the original cartoon most certainly did shill for plastic ponies!

I'm inclined to allow some ca$hing in for Lauren Faust though, because The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's are excellent.

Omg, Spike looks like a toned down Spyro.
posted by Several Unnamed Sources at 9:13 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I saw that Tara Strong, who did the voices of Princess Clara and Toot Braunstein on Drawn Together, did some of the voice work, and immediately thought/hoped this was going to be something similarly twisted. But it isn't.
posted by Ritchie at 9:16 PM on January 23, 2011


"How can we expect kids to grow up rejecting racism when they watch shows like this?"

If someone's careful raising of their children to accept people of different races can be undone by the fact that a TV show has darker coloured animals as captives to lighter ones, I'd suggest the problem is the parenting, not the show. I would further suggest that the author was either (successfully) trolling or is a crank not worth listening to. (And I say that as someone who's written post-colonial critiques of Shakespeare.)
posted by Candleman at 9:17 PM on January 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Point of order! The original post seems to imply that the original was NOT toy shilling.

This implication was not my intention, trust me, I grew up in the 80's and have a sister who still asks for a real pony every Christmas.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:17 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you Metafilter for alerting me to this.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:21 PM on January 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like the "black slave ponies to the white pony overlord" link because quick, name a culture that gave their slaves armor (and one assumes weapons) and asked them to hang out in their throne room while they preened (and managed to maintain the aforementioned slave master relationship for long) as opposed to throwing them in a pit, then arming them and telling them that the one who came out alive got to live.

My Varangian Guard Ponies would probably only appeal to the daughters of people I hang out with though, and apart from having me tell them, is not an easy market share to reach.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:31 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If someone's careful raising of their children to accept people of different races can be undone by the fact that a TV show has darker coloured animals as captives to lighter ones, I'd suggest the problem is the parenting, not the show.

No one's worried about good parenting undone. If anything, it's about sending the message to children that in the adult world, certain antisocial ideas and stereotypes are not to be perpetuated.

This show was made by adults. Those adults are responsible for what they made -- not for their own amusement, but for that of others. Children, even. If they portray a big white queen pony with black pony slave/soldiers, they ought to be able to explain why that's so, what it contributes to their creation. If they have an answer, I'd like to hear it. But I bet they don't, and honestly I think it is pretty lazy/stupid/disgusting. If anything, THEY'RE the ones trolling.
posted by hermitosis at 9:36 PM on January 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Lauren was my roommate at CalArts- I am soooo proud of her!!!
posted by cherryflute at 9:37 PM on January 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Ah - in her rebuttal she explains the black ponies thus:

"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."

Which I find sort of comical. I'm not saying that she's a huge racist, but certainly, if you pick something ARBITRARILY out of thin air and it just happens to line up with a certain stereotype your mind has been bathed in since you were in Pull-Ups -- however you may have consciously rejected it -- it's a little willfully dense to imagine that the racism accusations are coming out of left field.
posted by hermitosis at 9:44 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is some saccharine bullshit.
posted by kernel_sander at 9:48 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude, they're secret service agents for God, not butlers. So I am told by people who watch this show anyway.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:49 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I skimmed the entire first episode and didn't see one example of offensive sexism, racisim, or homophobia. I want my money back.

I do see this as a cavity-inducing version of Jung's model of the unconscious repressed: the irrational anxiety it causes and its rebellious manifestation as a terrifying Anima... but someone should be paying me to say that.
posted by clarknova at 10:07 PM on January 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


So, this is pretty much My Little Beanplate, then?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:10 PM on January 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


No one's worried about good parenting undone.

That was certainly the implication of the line I quoted. What do you think has more effect on children growing up in the US - the colour tone of peripheral characters in a cartoon or the fact something like 96% of the Senate is white?

The colours of the two good darker ponies in the title screen are 222,190,222 and 222,190,214. The colour of the guard on the left is 173,174,173. Put those three colours in here (set the rule to custom, otherwise it'll change previous entries as you go):

http://kuler.adobe.com/

Then put in 255,255,255 into the forth. Which one is black? Which one (if any) would a child associate with the concept of "black people?"

In the context of the room they're in, I'd say they look purple or lavender; - at worst, gray. I don't know what other shots they appear in, but if I were a director of animation, I'd go with a light gray based on the scene the article offered.

They're on a white floor, so if they were white, they'd blend too much. The room's colour scheme is various shades of purple and blue. Something too colourful would clash with the room and be distracting. So a nice shade of gray it is.

If someone wants to be offended, they can find something to offend them. For example, the first part of your name is a Greek statue that dictionary.com helpfully explains, "those of hermes usually had an erect penis, which passersby stroked for luck."

How can we expect kids to grow up rejecting sexual fondling when people use names like this?
posted by Candleman at 10:30 PM on January 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


When you work in kids' TV, regardless of your job-- I was a sort of advanced IT minion--you will have a lot of discussions about the sociology of the stuff you're handling. Is the boisterous green kid dogwhistling for African-American, since everyone else is some shade of magenta and somewhat more reserved? Are the dogs accurately representing issues of class in American society?

(Someone will always argue that They Are Just Dogs, And You Are Taking This Too Seriously. They tend to think that this makes them a free thinker, because that's kinder to their self-image than "person who can't/ won't engage in a serious discussion in good faith.")

You will occasionally not believe that you're having those discussions, or that you could have those discussions and then find your coworkers laughing hilariously an hour later at a rendering error that's made your main protagonist appear to be wearing blackface, but you will. It's kind of a surreal environment.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:38 PM on January 23, 2011 [21 favorites]


Here's a YouTube link pulled from commentor Viewers Like Me on the Something Awful link above.

For some reason this tickled my funny bone. God, I hope that doesn't sound like it does as I re-read that. Ah well, it's hard to follow up after sebastienbailard's periphery demographic photo.

Anyway, I love when ideas get reappropriated in unexpected ways.
posted by Xoebe at 10:39 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see the free association method of detecting homophobia and racismis being employed.
posted by Artw at 10:43 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok listen, I've talked to the people I know who watch this show, they have informed me that all the boy ponies are drawn in a darker color scheme than the pastel girl ponies. These are the only black ones because the boys in the show are rare tokens. If anything this presentation is sexist, not racist, since otherwise color has no bearing on anything in the show. However, I doubt we would consider token female characters in a boy's show to be sexist rather than just doing the bare minimum of representation we expect from any show.

The God pony that represents the night and the moon is purple, the main character is purple. That is a far more obvious message than any other dog whistle you could find in the show.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:46 PM on January 23, 2011


V is straight up all about Obamacare and how atheists want to exterminate your soul though.
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on January 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


BTW, at this moment Chris Sims of Comics Alliance appears to be live tweeting a viewing of this.
posted by Artw at 10:53 PM on January 23, 2011


Kid Charlemagne - Jannisary ponies.
posted by Artw at 11:00 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watching this triggered some buried memory in my brain of what those plastic ponies smell like. Memory is a funny, stupid thing sometimes.
posted by girih knot at 11:05 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


OMG television is racist?!
posted by Brocktoon at 11:06 PM on January 23, 2011


Fuel for the fire

On casual viewing - Are there not a shitload of white soldier ponies in this too?
posted by Artw at 11:08 PM on January 23, 2011


Those "slave ponies" are grey, not black.

Wait, why am I even arguing this. Surely the Ms. article was a joke.

“There aren’t any black ponies. Why aren’t there any brothas on the wall?”

They're PONIES.
posted by unigolyn at 11:11 PM on January 23, 2011


The black night pony gets defeated by a rainbow love ray - What does it mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Is it... is it about DADT?
posted by Artw at 11:14 PM on January 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


unigolyn: “There aren’t any black ponies. Why aren’t there any brothas on the wall?”

They're PONIES.


So…no such thing as a black horse? No brown horses?

I'm not going to click through to any links tonight, but them being ponies is a weak argument.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:24 PM on January 23, 2011


Artw: The black night pony gets defeated by a rainbow love ray

Hey, spoilers!
posted by chmmr at 11:26 PM on January 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


The black night pony gets defeated by a rainbow love ray - What does it mean? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Is it... is it about DADT?


It's a commentary on the Prop-8 vote in California which was caused by black voters. It posits that more friendship among California's citizens will lead to the redemption of these misguided voters.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:29 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That the rainbow (SPOILER: powered by love) is a double helix clearly shows that magical sparkle ponies believe genetics and not choice controls matters of sexuality.
posted by Artw at 11:31 PM on January 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Enough of that. Look, ponies.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:33 PM on January 23, 2011


So…no such thing as a black horse? No brown horses?

I'm not going to click through to any links tonight, but them being ponies is a weak argument.


It's not an argument. The fact that you think there needs to be an argument is shocking.

They're PONIES.
posted by unigolyn at 11:37 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]




Wow, about halfway through that ms. article I had to check the URL because I had become convinced it was a misogynistic fabrication of an over-the-top feminist stereotype.
posted by Jezztek at 11:45 PM on January 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I've only watched bits of the show, not looked at the webiste then imagined what the show might be like. Maybe the website is really racist?
posted by Artw at 11:52 PM on January 23, 2011


Please leave my childhood alone. Rainbow Brite isn't gay and My Little Ponies are not racist, homophobic, or anything else. (I'll grant you the toy shilling.)
posted by IndigoRain at 12:05 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm all about discussing the -isms in things I love, and I love Friendship with Magic, but as far as discussing racism in the show I don't think pony color is the place to start given the complete lack of association with colors that can be found on either humans or mammals in nature. MLPs come in implausible shades of pastel, the more highly-saturated and stereotypically feminine the better, with the occasional bright white thrown in -- so lots of pinks, purples, and blues, sometimes white, yellow, orange, green. Then you hit the "boy pony" part of the spectrum, where you get reds, beiges, and greys, but boy ponies are all background characters, which is why when you see those colors at all they're on bit players like the Royal Guard.

I do think there's a definite "light = good, dark = evil" vibe, but it's not something MLP leans on with any more emphasis than, oh, the entire rest of western, white-dominated culture. And at least in what little of the fandom I've seen, the associations between pony colors and human races are pretty fast and loose -- I recall fanart which portrayed Twilight Sparkle (the main character) and Rarity (the white, purple-haired unicorn who loves fashion) as dark-skinned human girls.

Which is not to say that FIM is free of racism. I was really taken aback by the inevitable "don't be prejudiced about other people's cultural practices!" episode, which featured ... Zecora, a zebra pony who speaks in rhyme with a heavy, generic African accent. And is a herbalist-witch. Who lives in a tribal-decorated hut in the middle of the Everfree Forest, which scares the residents of Ponyville because of its untamed wildness. Wow. I get that the point of the episode was that Zecora is a great person ... er, pony ... unfairly prejudged by the ponies of Ponyville because she's different from them, but why exactly is the outsider pony the one who's a passel of generic stereotypes about people from Africa? Talk about mixed messages to teach your children.

Note that the only other ponies explicitly associated with a real-life cultural group are Applejack and her family, who are farming/herding ponies with Southern accents. Applejack is a main character, and her Southern mannerisms are never used to differentiate her from the other ponies -- it's just part of who she is.
posted by bettafish at 12:27 AM on January 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


My Little Phony amirite?!
posted by orme at 12:55 AM on January 24, 2011


A new My Little Pony, huh? Man, I remember this show from when I was little...

*click*

Well, the characters look totally redesigned. Oh hey, and look, there's Spike the baby dragon. Hmm, nice redesign! Seems he's more important this time around.

*click*

Lauren Faust? Alright, I'll give one episode a try.

*click*

Wow, the designs are really expressive! The animation and voice acting are pretty good. The writing doesn't want to make me tear my hair out!

*click* Nothing else to do... I guess I can watch one more....

*click click click*

GUYS SEND HELP
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:49 AM on January 24, 2011 [31 favorites]


oh dear god the show is not racist castle guards are not slaves and the co-ruler of the ponies is dark purple I can't even believe I have to point this out what the HELL
posted by kyrademon at 3:05 AM on January 24, 2011


(Or, as my gf more succintly put it, regarding the Ms article: "That was seriously one of the stupidest things I've ever read.")
posted by kyrademon at 3:11 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought that 'My Little Pony' was the name of the band and/or song in the Father Ted episode 'A Song for Europe'.
posted by ovvl at 4:22 AM on January 24, 2011


A toy shilling re-imagining of an 80's cartoon show for little girls.

Is the implication here that the 80's cartoon show was not toy shilling?
posted by DU at 4:23 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Ms. article left me confused. Is she for real? Does it matter? Why does this not interest me one whit?
posted by eeeeeez at 4:31 AM on January 24, 2011


I was a huge My Little Pony fan growing up in the 80s. Looking back, it was really nice to play with figures who were "pretty" without being thin, blonde, and tan, and whose accessories weren't signifiers of wealth like Ferraris and dream mansions. I guess you could buy a castle for the ponies, but it was sorta everyone's castle.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:37 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rats, I thought it was about SE Hinton.
posted by jenkinsEar at 4:53 AM on January 24, 2011


And here I thought the major failing of the post was its over reliance on Wikipedia. Silly me.
posted by scalefree at 5:27 AM on January 24, 2011


Porn star or My Little Pony quiz (an oldie but a goodie from The Brunching Shuttlecocks).
posted by TedW at 5:45 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would it be an abusive pony request to ask that every word in this thread be in a different color? And sparkle?
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:58 AM on January 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rats, I thought it was about SE Hinton.

Stay gold, ponyboy. If you go black, you'll never go back.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:50 AM on January 24, 2011


I guess you could buy a castle for the ponies, but it was sorta everyone's castle.

So, these ponies live in some kind of communist society?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:15 AM on January 24, 2011


It seems to be finding an audience among a periphery demographic, which some people seem to find a bit odd.

Last weekend I helped a friend who is moving sort through her collection of original and third generation ponies. There is a MLP fandom so large that there are yearly fairs in the UK and US where collectors can meet and greet...they're just not kid's toys. I collect model horses and I was quite envious of my friend that the ponies could just be bagged and boxed without having to be wrapped in tissue paper and bubble wrap and carefully arranged to avoid chipping. I suppose some people may find it odd, but for those who enjoy collecting toys, there's nothing odd about it at all. It's actually quite fun and the friendship that collectors find offline and online is indeed magic :-)
posted by Calzephyr at 7:28 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


name a culture that gave their slaves armor (and one assumes weapons) and asked them to hang out in their throne room while they preened

There's the Mamluks.
posted by electroboy at 7:43 AM on January 24, 2011


Seriously? People are ok with pink and blue and purple ponies, but you get some grey ponies and suddenly those are the ones representing black people? What race, exactly, do the pink and blue and purple ponies represent?
posted by antifuse at 8:08 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are the Chan and SomethingAwful links SFW?
posted by pxe2000 at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2011


The chan link is. I can't check SA.
posted by zarq at 8:17 AM on January 24, 2011


I "accidentally" amassed a mammoth collection of the original ponies growing up (accidentally because I never set out to. I would pick them up at garage sales, then friends would give them to me as they outgrew them. Pretty soon if you saw a MLP, you'd give it to windigo).

I would clean them up, pop them into a plastic sammich bag, and toss them into a box in my closet. I never gave it much thought what I was doing, or what my plan was. Well, nearly 15 years later I was preparing for an expensive move from NC to Chicago. I had the boxes (yes, boxes) mailed to me. I sold those suckers on ebay, came away with a few thousand, and funded my move. Serendipity.

Seriously, people will pay a hundred bucks for some of them.
posted by Windigo at 8:41 AM on January 24, 2011


And oh, yeah, this was before a "fandom" grew. I had no idea they would be worth anything! You could pick them up at garage sales for 25 cents. I wish the net had been around when I was collecting them - I think I might have actually gotten into it actively, instead of the passive "oh hey, pony, might as well grab it" mentality I had. I think it's really cool, I remember looking at the endless websites and forums when I was getting ready to sell them and doing research and being agog at it all.
posted by Windigo at 8:47 AM on January 24, 2011


Man, I look at Rainbow Dash, and all I can think of is Robot Unicorn Attack.
posted by xedrik at 9:04 AM on January 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh, there's a pony with a magical book-finding horn! That's great.
posted by redsparkler at 10:14 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, these ponies live in some kind of communist society?

I'm actually watching the most recent episode right now and did a double-take at a scene which revealed that not only do the ponies have money, but credit cards. (Okay, the reference to credit was a throwaway gag, but still.)
posted by bettafish at 10:28 AM on January 24, 2011


Seriously, people will pay a hundred bucks for some of them.

Wow, that brings me back. I used to watch My Little Pony auctions on eBay in the late 90s, and some of the rarer ponies sold for crazy amounts. The one thing that surprised me was how much the Flutter Pony wings would go for. These were a limited edition of ponies with delicate detachable iridescent wings, with a tab to insert them into a spot on the pony's back, and you could press a button to make the wings flutter up and down. Problem was, whoever designed the ponies seemed to have forgotten that they were meant to be played with, and the wings broke off from the tab at the slightest pressure, and there was just no goddamn way you could put them back in after that. You could try, with several layers of Scotch tape, but it wasn't sturdy and it didn't look the same. Replacement wings were unavailable. Ten years later, intact sets of Flutter Pony wings were selling for $50 or so. Just the wings, no pony attached.

It made me really happy to see the wings going for so much, because it meant that breaking the wings was normal. See, one particularly good Christmas/birthday, I got two Flutter Ponies, and their wings didn't last till the new year. Once the first wing snapped, I was hyperprotective of the other three, but I couldn't save my fragile ponies from the fate of having to walk everywhere. I remember the very last wing snapping off in my mom's car, and how disappointed I was in myself. I may have cried. I was a failure at grace, pony care, and nice-things-having.

When I was little, I had a lot of trust in the world as it was presented to me. Parents and teachers were infallible, President Reagan had our best interests at heart, advertisements were authoritative, and toys sprang into being in shiny automated factories. If my Makit-Bakit suncatchers and Easy-Bake brownies fell short of the examples on the box, it was my fault. I must not have followed the directions correctly, or, more likely, my making and baking skills were just subpar. But I figured out the truth eventually, through experience and Consumer Reports and $50 flutter wings on eBay.

Sometimes I think about the things I'd tell my younger self if I'd went back in time, like the value of hard work or how it's okay to ask for help. "Don't beat yourself up over the Flutter Ponies, they're crappily designed and everyone breaks them" would be up there on the list. (Or, if I travel back a few extra days, it would be "Keep those wings in a safe place, and in ten years you can have a hundred dollars.")
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:38 AM on January 24, 2011 [19 favorites]


Metroid, you're not alone with the flutter ponies! I was never hard on my ponies but they just broke so easily. I repaired mine with Scotch tape. The smaller ones that came out later - can't remember off the top of my head - are quite indestructible. I had a sea pony rust and she never went in water.

Hindsight is always 20/20 - don't feel bad. My Breyers used to be worth something, but once eBay came along, the prices dropped fantastically. I gave a bunch of boxed models to Toy Mountain this past Christmas. It was easier to give them away than go through the hassle of try to sell them for a pittance. That's why in collecting, collect what you like or you may end up with stuff you can't give away.
posted by Calzephyr at 1:36 PM on January 24, 2011


I remember reading about how the difference between the 80s My Little Ponies and the incarnations were that they had bigger heads, thinner/longer necks, longer hair, bigger eyes, and were narrower/thinner. I can't find where I originally read it, but here's a similar observation on Sexy Toy Makeovers.
posted by anniecat at 2:01 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


My cousin (younger than me by a few years) was obsessed with My Little Pony in the 80s. She kept watching this one that takes place in a castle and the story and quality of the animation was really different. It starred Sandy Duncan's voice (though I could not identify it) and Tony Randall. I still remember that line in the opening, "Starring Sandy Duncan....and Tony Randall."


I found it on YouTube!!!! Oh my god she will be so excited. My aunt taped it off the television and it was the only thing that kept my little cousin from following us around everywhere demanding attention. OMG it says the line STARRING SANDY DUNCAN AND TONY RANDALL.
posted by anniecat at 2:09 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thank you for the excuse to link to this brilliant rpg.net forum thread.

"So, I'm going to be running my first FATE game in a few weeks and need to familiarize myself with the rules. For that purpose, I have been futzing around with them and making characters.

Since the game is going to be a (non-)survival horror one-shot set in the science fiction/alien conspiracy setting of X-com, naturally my first thought of sample characters was to create Twilight Sparkle of MLP:FiM." posted by Zed at 3:48 PM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't know if the new incarnation is sexist, racist, or homophobic, but they sure aren't the My Little Ponies in knew and loved in the 80s. Honestly, I saw the new designs of the dolls, and they looked like pony versions of those hideous Bratz dolls. They look both a little anorexic AND whorish. How the hell do you make a toy horse look anorexic and whorish?!

(note: Of course, the originals were all about toy shilling. Pretty much everything from the 80s was about toy shilling. Most popular cartoons of the decade came about to sell the toys. But the toys were cute and age appropriate. None of my dolls looked like they were getting ready to walk the streets, as it were..)
posted by Mael Oui at 9:57 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


They look both a little anorexic AND whorish. How the hell do you make a toy horse look anorexic and whorish?!

Uh.. are we looking at the same ponies? I think if you see "anorexic whore" in that toy, it's a problem with the lens, not the landscape.

I mean they're comparatively thinner, but both are pretty stylized versions of a real pony.
posted by girih knot at 10:31 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't care what you see in the toys, whatever lens you use the characters in the show cannot possibly be considered as being characterized as whorish or anorexic in any way. I'm told.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:49 PM on January 24, 2011


Hang on, for this to be racist, wouldn't each pony colour have to correlate clearly with one in the human world (IANA furry)? Or is this akin to trying to work out what colour Marge Simpson would be dying her hair if she were a real person where blue hair isn't so common?

(I mean, it's obviously the Van Houten's natural colour, whatever it is. Red?)
posted by mippy at 6:59 AM on January 25, 2011


I had... uhh.. say, 40 or so horses during the years that I played with them (early 80s to early 90s), and I have kept up-to-date with the different incarnations of the series since then. I purchased some a few years ago (they didn't look too bad then, actually), and I have seen them in person in quite a few stores as recently as this past winter. So, I'm up-to-date on what they look like now and what they used to look like when the show and products were first popular. I can definitely say that Hasbro 'updated' the looks of the horses and the update makes them look like they have more in common with fashion dolls, and, specifically, the current spate of fashion dolls (from Bratz, Barbie, LIV, and that Horror High one are... dubious). Also, I watched the cartoon/movies when I was a kid, and I have seen the new television series. So, my comments come from a person familiar with what they look like now and what they used to like, okay?

First, the 'whorishness' is in the makeup.. I mean, their look seems over-sexualized, or, if you prefer, more grown up. When I used to play with MLPs, they were just cute little toys. They were more 80s Boy George or Cyndi Lauper than Madonna. The flashiness was really more in its mane. It didn't look as if it was getting ready for a night of debauchery. Now it seems like they're taking on the traits of the big-eyed, overly made-up Bratz dolls and.. even Barbie doesn't look as good as she used to in the 80s. And, they ARE way thinner than they used to be. Unnecessarily so. This certainly doesn't make them cuter OR look more like real horses. They look as if they're designed to look like equine versions of the aforementioned human dolls. I'm not saying that the characters actions on the show are whorish or otherwise. I'm saying the horses' original designs were updated and the updates are creepy. Like it or not, I stand by my original descriptive terms. And, if there's one thing I take seriously, it's toys.
posted by Mael Oui at 8:22 PM on January 29, 2011


I, um, needed something to placate my daughter with on Youtube for 10 minutes, and, um... Well, now she demands the bloody thing. I am a bad parent.
posted by Artw at 8:31 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am a...great...parent.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:01 PM on January 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Her mum did pop her head in at one point and say "this isn't anti-book is it?"
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on January 29, 2011


I just really hate the description of "whorish" for the amount of makeup illustrated onto a plastic pony. I don't think Bratz dolls are more "whorish" than Barbie dolls of any era, and I don't think the new MLP are any more "whorish" than the old MLP. Seriously, these are toys, and the only values they have are the ones you place on them.

Really, I think the trend of stylization makes these toys less "whorish" because they become less obviously like any kind of real sexualized form -- the new toys seem to have a sort of cutesy innocence to them. And I say this as someone who grew up playing with the old MLP, too. If you're characterizing a certain way that these toys look as "whorish", that's a value that you, individually, are assigning to them. They are just toys.
posted by girih knot at 2:35 AM on January 30, 2011


I don't much love the 'whorish' framing, but i find it hard to believe that anyone could really deny that Bratz dolls aren't, on the whole, going for a distinctly more mature, 'video vixen' vibe than the Barbies I grew up playing with (although those had their own separate body image-related issues).

These all popped up in a fairly casual Google Image Search.

And hey, topical bonus: a (thankfully quickly-discontinued) line of really creepy ponies.
posted by pseudonymph at 7:19 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]




Her mum did pop her head in at one point and say "this isn't anti-book is it?"


Print this out for her.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:20 PM on January 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


a (thankfully quickly-discontinued) line of really creepy ponies.

Dear god...
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on January 30, 2011


Incidentally, my gf and I have been watching the show in the wake of all this. It's really quite good, as shows aimed at young children go. A lot of that is clearly the influence of Lauren Faust, as there is a definite Powerpuff Girls "feel" to some of the characters. The humor is also often fairly clever, and the characters have distinct personalities (even if they're broadly drawn, this is a big step forward for MLP shows.) I've also noticed little homages to other cartoons -- Warner Brothers cartoon and Pinky and the Brain references have both made an appearance.

... Huh. We appear to have become part of the periphery demographic.
posted by kyrademon at 3:15 AM on January 31, 2011


Pic related.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:48 AM on January 31, 2011


I don't even know if the Bratz dolls are supposed to be more "mature"... I always got the impression that they were reflecting a newer, more cutting edge fashion sense. It's not all that dissimilar from vintage Barbie dolls, but with contemporary fashion.

Tight pants, short skirts and eyeshadow don't equal sexual maturity by themselves.
posted by girih knot at 5:02 PM on January 31, 2011


Also, I want one of those creepy ponies.
posted by girih knot at 5:03 PM on January 31, 2011


The original Something Awful thread I linked got trolled and closed, but came back and the resurgence is...well...you just have to read it. Something Awful is becoming Ponyville.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:14 PM on February 12, 2011


annnnnnnnnnnnd met the same fate. Oh well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:02 PM on February 13, 2011


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