Hello everybody. Two things to say before I start the actual article. First of all, thank you all for getting me to 100+ followers. I really do feel honored. Secondly, I’m sorry this article was late, something came up on Wednesday. So today, I’m doing two articles. This one is the celebration for making it to 100+ followers, and isn’t really about music at all. Instead, it’s about my other passion; kids shows that also appeal to adults. So, I present to you…
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and What it Means about Society
I’ll just come out and say it up front; I absolutely love this show. It’s probably my favorite show on TV until Community comes back. Maybe I love it because of its strong characters, tight writing, excellent animation, good message, and all around tight production. Or maybe I love it for the community that has taken over the internet for the time being, bronies.
There have always been fan bases for kids cartoons made of teenagers watching it completely unironically, ranging from action based shows that seemed to have this alternate audience partially in mind, like The Powerpuff Girls, to shows designed for toddlers to learn about shapes and colors, like Sesame Street or Yo Gabba Gabba. And recently, two channels have really taken advantage of this. One is Cartoon Network, with their trio of Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Gumball, all managing to become huge hits with older audiences. The other is The Hub, Hasbro’s television line primarily based on their licenses, with Transformers, and of course, My Little Pony.
But while most peripheral fan bases remain rather small from our point of view, bronies exploded on the internet, becoming one of the domineering forces in some sections. Just for reference, the popular pony blog Equestria Daily reached 100,000,000 page views two months ago, and is still climbing every day. clearly, this has become one of the biggest internet phenomenons we’ve seen in a long time. And with a fan base this big, it was clear of what would emerge, people who “hate” on the show and its fan base. But I think this one reveals something special about people, even after everything we’ve done to stop things like this.
Note: If you genuinely don’t like the show, as in, you dislike and have actually seen some of it, I am not talking about you. This is for people who hate the show based purely on the aesthetic. If you dislike the show on its own merits, more power to you.
1. Sexism is still prevalent in our society.
As said before, almost every kids show gets a fan base around it who genuinely love it for what it is. But really, this applies for two thirds of kids shows, shows aimed at young boys, or are asexual. Girls shows never get this kind of retroactive love. You hear people talk about how awesome Thundercats is, but never about Rainbow Brite or the like. To them, these shows are plain crap. But then comes along a show aimed at 7 year old girls, and guys like myself fall in love with it. And what happens then? People are called things like “faggot” for liking shows filled with pastel ponies who sing. And besides being homophobic, this just shows the prejudice on girl’s shows in our society. Because we love a girl’s show, we aren’t given the internet rights other fans get. If a brony writes fan fiction, it’s weird. If a brony creates artwork for a character, it’s weird. And that’s not even getting a weird stuff. People say that all bronies want to have sex with the characters, because there are a few vocal people on the internet who want to do this. You want to know what else has this? Every fan base in the history of pop culture. And it’s all because we watch a girl’s show.
2. People are afraid of what’s new.
Ever since the 80s, we have been given the idea that My Little Pony is something that should get nothing but contempt, as a lowest common denominator kids show that only the stupidest of girls would like. And now that we have a part of the series that has earned general acclaim from most viewers, the internet, of course, has to attack it as the end of the world as we know it. It’s because we’ve been hardwired in our heads to hate overtly girly shows, not based on the actual quality, but on what was already established to us. It’s because we’re afraid of having a new opinion put into our head, so we just stay with the status quo. When people bash this show online without actually watching, they’re actually bashing the continued perception of it, established by the previous generations. And if you haven’t watched the show yet, I recommend you do. And frankly, if this is the end of the world as we know, I feel fine.
"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."
— Lauren Faust
"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."
— Lauren Faust, on creating My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic