Is 'My Little Pony' Setting A Bad Example For Children? - Dadstractions

Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

Jun 20, 13 Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

On episode two of the Dadstractions podcast, I briefly discuss the upcoming “My Little Pony: Equestria Girls” movie that is creeping me coming out this summer. I question why they felt it was necessary to have the ponies turn into humans in an alternate universe and WHY THE HELL ARE THEY SO CREEPY!?!

Seriously, look at this picture:


Pinky Pie looks like a Grey!

Dear God, why?!?

Dear God, why?!?

Well, The Daily News recently published an article where they asked “Gen-X” moms in New York City what they thought of the pony-to-human metamorphosis the girls go through in the upcoming film. Beside the ham-fisted dozen or so equestrian-related jokes throughout the article, The Daily News offered up the typical fair I’ve come to expect whenever any iconic female character goes through a re-imagining.

Comparisons to Barbie, complaints of the ponies-turned-human looking anorexic, dressing in mini-skirts and hooker boots and setting a bad example for young girls everywhere all sound very similar to the complaints about other major iconic female characters that have undergone changes in recent years. The 2009 confusing change to Dora The Explorer and the Minnie Mouse super model makeover in 2012 both garnered similar outrage from the public.

Is this really an issue?

Do kids really try to model themselves after the cartoons they watch? Are they really trying to compare themselves to Dora, or Minnie, Barbie or Ponies? I grew up watching He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers and I never felt I needed to get all crazy muscular, run around shooting guns and, I don’t know… transform?

There was that time the Decepticons got wasted on Energon though…

These characters are the property of their owners and they will do with them as they wish. They’re nothing but a giant marketing ploy designed to sell toys to kids anyway. And, if your kids look up to these characters as role models, help your kids to know the difference between emulating the behavior these characters portray versus trying to model themselves after the characters’ clothing or physical appearance.

I’m against the MLP movie not because the characters (as humans) are setting a bad body-type example for my kids but BECAUSE THEY LOOK CREEPY.  Still, regardless of how terrible I think it looks, my kids might like it. And, I have to agree with Lyss Stern, a mother and founder of DivaLysscious Moms (who was quoted in Daily News article), “As long as it shares the same positive message, I am fine with modernization … If there’s something you think is too risqué, then don’t have your child watch it.”

One of the reasons I love MLP is because of the positive messages it sends about female empowerment and, of course, it has very smart writing and a lot of pop culture references that appeal to me. If those messages continue to stay the same in the movie, regardless of what it looks like, I would consider taking my kids to see it.

How do you feel about kids looking to cartoons as role models? What about when a company changes the way a cartoon character looks? Please feel free to comment below!



  • Joseph Beirau

    I’m used to the geek blogosphere and have been a pop culture blogger for a few years now but I’m very new to the world of dad blogging. My wife is due in June so I’ve been kind of using dad blogs/podcasts as a way to “cram” haha.

    We watch a lot of cartoons and that tends to be what my blogs cover and yes we are fans of MLP. As you said, smart humor, great writing and pop culture references galore!

    And I totally agree with you about the ponyteenmutants. Very disturbing. At best it is a homogenization in an effort to get some of that “bratz mojo” of those crazy bobbleheaded dolls the kids love so much that, were they real people, would have their necks snapped by the first stiff wind that blew threw if they didn’t first run into their house on there 10ft long twig-legs.

    It doesn’t seem like entertainment companies think kids these day can understand or enjoy a show without a distinct POV character. We can’t have Duke or He-Man or Optimus Prime nowadays as our hero because kids aren’t adults or mythical warriors and (very rarely) transforming robots.There has to be a kid at, or just about the target demo of the show. I’m 33 and I can tell you I loved, LOVED the entertainment of the 80’s and I could, apparently by way of my unnatural, super-human imagination; pretend I was Trap-Jaw despite the fact that he wasn’t a skinny freckled 8 year old from Ohio!

    So in order to help girls relate to and enjoy My Little Pony you obviously have to make them 40% less little and 97% less pony (actual figures that I just made up!) They had to make these changes despite the fact that the kids already loved the show and that’s the part I don’t understand. When I was a kid they just tried to make cool shows that they could make cool toys for and kids got into it because they were cool.

    Now it seems like they have to talk down to the kids at every level, tell them which character they will be identifying with and then the kid can use it as a template for the way they act and dress. It’s already leading to the properties themselves imitating each other at a feverish rate. First Bratz. Then Monster High came along in the same style (with a monster twist!) Then Bratz created actual Bratz with a monster twist to imitate monster high’s imitation of them and it will probably just continue that way, free-falling into some insane mobius strip of huge eyed, giant headed dolls.

    And that’s just the toys, who knows what kind of effect it’s going to have on the imagination and originality of kids!

    • Mac Harmon

      They made them human so kids would copy their behaviour even more. Kids especially toddlers have a hard time differentiating between tv and reality. Humans as awhole are so susceptible to sublimals kids even more so. with all the ponies bowing down to the pov main character twilight its no wonder every little girl wants to be a princess now a days. its teaches kids that you have to be a ‘princess’ to gain respect which is not the case in reality. whether the kids dont recall the sayings from the ponies consciously the words go to their subconcious It teaches kids to habitually think nonsence like “lifes never fair” ive heard the ponies say something along this line one too many times “things will always go wrong for me” whenever the ponies try to do something good something ALWAYS goes wrong and overall the show boosts your kids insecurities, or causes them to have a big ego and too much pride disconnecting them from living joyously in the present.

  • illentia

    I am not sure I would let my girls watch the latest season of my little pony to be honest, season 5 I think. The shows antagonist was far too violent, and the conclusion was handled poorly, almost to the point of glorifying bullying. Equestria Girls is just a play by Hasbro to grab market share from Bratz and and Monster Hi. While I don’t like Bratz, Monster Hi has some merit.