» Fixing The Problems Women Face in the MLP Fandom

Continuing our International Women’s Day week content is today’s editorial, written by forum members rudecyrus and ShieldedDiamond.

It’s hard to pin down why Friendship is Magic became so popular outside of its intended demographic of 6-10 year old girls. Perhaps the focus on character and not just marketability allowed the show to reach across generations. The internet certainly allowed fans to organize and communicate, but the surge of older, male fans was unprecedented. Suddenly, a large number of twenty-something men were willing to declare that they were fans of My Little Pony. At first, this crossing of age and gender boundaries was a positive thing—it allowed FiM to become more popular than it could have normally. However, the fandom has done some very questionable things that show it needs to change.

The fandom has exhibited sexist tendencies, which includes bullying and harassing women and making threats against those who try to change the status quo. Rape is seen as a joke. Femininity is frowned upon. The point of this article is to expose these practices and convince readers to fight them.  It’s possible the actions documented here are only representative of a small part of the fandom – or it may represent the majority. Either way, there is too much of this behaviour and not enough pushback against it. There needs to be a concentrated effort to curtail this kind of thing.

Attacks on PinkiePony

 One of the biggest issues in the fandom is the fighting over “Down With Molestia” and what is going on with PinkiePony. PinkiePony is the individual who organized the whole movement, and as a result, she has been the target of a lot of hate from the fandom. This is a seventeen year old girl who has had her personal information put up online as if it were some kind of joke. She receives countless threats on her own safety and well-being, and was followed at some point, which she recounted in a Tumblr post:

I went to the shopping center. I put all my hair up in a beanie and I have no makeup on, my eyebrows aren’t even pink and my hair kept slipping out and I have so much fucking hair and some guys were calling me pinkiepony, not Pinkie or April. It confused me and they kept bombarding me with DWM questions so I grabbed a random bra and went into the changing room (which they laughed about) and now I’m in a changing room with a bra I’m not even trying on because these men are really scary they’re like 6 feet tall and they think this is so amusing so I’m going to call my Dad.

Why is this behaviour acceptable to some people? This started because PinkiePony wanted to boycott a blog showcasing adult material that included Friendship is Magic characters, due to the fact that her younger sister discovered some of this material. One could argue that such images can be blocked, but even with filters it still crops up. For her attempts, she was sent graphic death threats and even has an entry on Encyclopedia Dramtica titled “How to Troll this Pony Weeaboo” (which includes joking about the rape of a family member).

Compare this reaction to the Michael Morones incident. Michael was a 10-year old child who attempted suicide after being bullied for being a My Little Pony fan.. He was subject of much concern from the fandom, which donated money to him over a period of time. Many members of the fandom would go on to use this to show why bullying is a terrible thing. In the midst of this, PinkiePony spoke out, saying, “I feel like bronies only care because he’s another brony.” She pointed out that when she attempted suicide, people dismissed it as attention seeking and even expressed disappointment.

It should be made clear that Michael Morones should be supported in whatever way possible, but the lack of action and bullying towards PinkiePony’s similar situation is hypocritical and in bad taste.

Women in the Fandom

Another noteworthy thing is that a good chunk of these people being target of criticism are women. Why is this? As pointed out, PinkiePony, Many other members of the My Little Pony community have been the targets of misogynistic insults and abuse. They certainly aren’t the only ones. This essay by Cuddlepug points out some disturbing trends emerging in the fandom, including the marginalization of female fans and the casual attitude towards rape. Many women have been victims of criticism, being referred to as “fake fans” or “attention whores”. When it comes to the term brony, there have been cases where some individuals say, “Women can’t be bronies, bro means guy.” Previous generations of My Little Pony are attacked for being “too feminine,” despite the fact that this is a show aimed at little girls. The attempt to redefine watching Friendship is Magic as “manly” threatens to turn anything female-oriented into a taboo. Sexual harassment is frequent at conventions. Lesbians are subjected to homophobic insults.

Ironically, “love and tolerance” is advertised as a key theme of the fandom, an important thing to follow, yet it’s not abided by its own community. Perhaps that is one reason why people look down on the fandom. People don’t give the fandom respect  because they don’t treat each other with respect. If everyone treated each other better inside the community, perhaps those outside the community will treat the fandom with understanding. The question is if the fandom is willing to make that change.

Feminism in My Little Pony

The Mane Six Hugs

Make no mistake: Friendship is Magic is a feminist show. The main cast is female, most of the supporting cast is female, and most episode plots focus on self-improvement and how to be a good person. “Suited for Success,” for example, while ostensibly about colorful ponies trying out dresses for a formal event, is actually about not placing unwieldy demands on a friend. There are no endless tea parties, no episodes where everyone sits around and is nice to each other all the time — there’s conflict and excitement, which is in stark contrast to most media aimed at young girls. In addition, the Mane Six each have their own unique personalities and flaws:

Twilight Sparkle: The most cerebral of the Six, she loves to read and study magic. She has a knack for organization and takes a rational approach to problems, although she can lose her mind when it comes to certain situations (usually impressing Princess Celestia), like in “Swarm of the Century” or “Lesson Zero.” Twilight has done a lot of growing over the course of the series, from someone who sees friendship as unimportant to someone who values it highly, but she still has a way to go.

Pinkie Pie: Bubbly and optimistic, Pinkie likes to make her friends smile and loves to throw parties. While she may seem endlessly happy, she has an insecure side, which manifests whenever she feels doubtful about herself or her friends, as showcased in “Party of One” and the more recent “Pinkie Pride.” It’s easy to dismiss Pinkie as an airhead, and she can be oblivious to her friends’ emotions at times, but it’s out of ignorance than stupidity. She’s capable of deeper thought, but that can be hard to see because Pinkie is…eccentric.

Fluttershy: As her name implies, she’s timid and soft-spoken, preferring to keep her hooves on the ground despite being a Pegasus and she has a natural rapport with animals. Fluttershy may be the most stereotypically feminine of the group, but her traits are both a weakness and a strength. Her kindness makes her sympathetic to those in need and allows her to achieve things the others can’t. In spite of her shy nature (which can be crippling), she can be counted on to stand up for her friends.

Rainbow Dash: She is the polar opposite of Fluttershy. Rainbow Dash is brash, cocky, loves winning, and almost never has her hooves on the ground. Her tendency to act before thinking can get her in trouble and she can be tactless, but she’s never malicious. While she displays more masculine traits than the others (sometimes interrupting an emotional moment by calling it “sappy”), she likes to dress up with the rest of them, sees certain things as cute (“Swarm of the Century”), and has taken on a big sister role with Scootaloo.

Rarity: With an eye for detail and a love of fashion, Rarity is determined to make her dresses known throughout Equestria, which makes her the most entrepreneurial of the Mane Six. She can be vain and melodramatic, but she also puts other ponies’ needs ahead of her own, like when she crafts new dresses for all of her friends (“Suited for Success”), or spends time with Sweetie Belle.

Applejack: Applejack is strong, hard-working and reliable. She can be stubborn at times, but she’s also the most mature, having to balance taking care of a large family with working on a farm. Applejack’s biggest flaw is that she places a lot of pressure on herself to succeed, whether in farm work (“Applebuck Season”) or in competition (“The Last Roundup”), but that same drive makes her a dedicated friend.

Faust wrote, “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.” She lamented once that girls’ shows based on toys were boring and nonsensical, filled with one-dimensional characters. She set out to change this by creating a cast with vibrant personalities, as you can see above.

What do all of the Mane Six have in common? They feel real. They all have positive traits and flaws, like real people. They have different interests, likes and dislikes. They also exemplify the different ways to be a girl. This show says, “If you like to read a book, that’s okay! If you prefer playing sports, that’s okay too!” The show manages to represent unique personalities without making them cookie-cutter. The Mane Six aren’t focused on one aspect in their lives, but many, from family to competitive events to personal problems.

lauren faust

If Lauren Faust hadn’t been involved in the show’s creation, would these characters have been this strong? It’s hard to say. Without Faust and the other creative people behind her, this show would’ve probably ended up like most other girl-focused media: bland, boring, and one-dimensional. It was Faust’s drive to create something as good as or better than boy-focused media that resulted in Friendship is Magic.

Lauren Faust wrote about she was trying to accomplish by creating Friendship is Magic:

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.

Sadly, it looks like the girls and women Faust was reaching out for have been alienated — not by an overbearing corporate mandate, but by a fandom that makes them feel unwelcome.

Fighting Back

Ready to rumble

It is sad that there is so much misogyny in the fandom and so many women have been alienated. Fans need to fight against this sort of thing, and here some suggestions:

  1. Whenever you see or hear something misogynistic or sexist, speak up. Staying silent allows these attitudes to thrive.
  2. Realize that the show was created with little girls in mind. It’s fine for men to watch the show, but they are not the primary demographic. Acting otherwise goes against Faust’s vision and the spirit of the show.
  3. What happened to PinkiePony was abhorrent and should serve as a lesson: it’s fine to have disagreements, but gendered insults and threats are out of line.
  4. Realize that it’s okay if something is “girly” or “feminine.” There are attempts to downplay the femininity of the show, and that it’s “manly” to watch the show, but that tells girls “This isn’t really your show.”

The main reason this article was written was because the fandom has a lot of misogyny and sexism running through it, and that is unacceptable, especially since My Little Pony is aimed at little girls. Some of the things that go on in the fandom are disgusting and have no place. If the fandom wants to improve its image, it should fight against such problems and allow women to participate without fear of threats or bullying. 

Share your thoughts

  1. I’ll bite and try to stay neutral, please don’t feel attacked by this.

    While I do agree that mysoginy can be a problem in a lot of fandom, and I’m sure this fandom has its share, especially towards female fans at cons, you can’t depict the whole thing like that without some setback.

    There’s “feminist” and “feminist”. Yes, My Little Pony is a feminist show led by a feminist, but you forget that , in 2010, the show was ATTACKED by another Feminist, on MSMagasine for not being feminist enough. Apparently she thought Twilight’s depiction was “smart shaming”, for exmaple. And it is the Reactions from MALE fans in the comments (from /co/ back then) which caused the magazine to actually allow Faust a rebuttal.

    This is a problem that we see more and more often with the internet: While there are real problems in the world worthy to fight for, some prefer to focus on problems that THEY see “offensive” but, in the end, is very minor and might cause more BACKLASH from the removal than improvement in the collective consciousness. (Note that this is not in reference to rape culture, but more the situation with Derpy.)

    And a good example of that is PinkiePony. While it is true that mocking her in that way is shameful, I can hardly say that this isn’ also related to Pinkie’s own attitude. You may have not realized that she herself often goes on rants on her website. She Often attack bronies openly, insult them, taunt the people who attack them (instead of ignoring it) or taunted them when she succeded. She even claim that Rainbow Dash is the worst pony, despite her being in my opinion bein of the strongest example of feminism in the show as her brash and tomboyish archetype breaks all stereotypes about characters in girl cartoons.

    And while she might be right about the Morones situation, the fact that she HAS to point it out like that only make the situation worse, because to an outsider like me it feels like she didn’t really take the situation seriously and really DID it for attention. The reaction she received (and the fact that she was called PinkiePony) seems more to be a retaliation for her attitude. Not as the article subject, because she’s a woman, but more a “politician”, who hide behind her status of 17 years old girl to make herself look like a “young victim” despite dealing with mature subjects.

    If you shift the blame of the reactions PinkiePony gets on something that can’t be changed (her status of a woman) instead of something that can and IS the more probable cause (her importance for politics and the aggressive way she express her opinion) then the situation can only get worse. Since her opponents are anonymous and numerous, any changes can only come from her direction.

    YES, those guys ARE morons, just like the guys who are insulting her, but hiding behind something unrelated to the debate only makes it looks cheap for the opponent because it looks like an “free comeback” card for them, which allow her to deviate the gravity of her own action. And the frustration make them worse. This I feel is the same problem that causes the current Situation with Anita Sarkeesian.

    • There is a lot that could be said and as much as I’d like to address the issue of victim blaming here, I’ll keep this short: you agree that this fandom has its share of misogyny, and you agree that PinkiePony’s abusers are in the wrong. Then, why do you focus on PinkiePony (just one example to help make some of the bigger points of this article), on pointing out the faults you see in her, and on explaining exactly how and why she shares the blame according to you? Why is it important to mention that a feminist can be blamed for attacking the show, and that male fans can be praised for defending it?

      The title of this article is “Fixing The Problems Women Face in the MLP Fandom”. It’s not an attack on the fandom, it’s not an attack on men, it’s not an essay on PinkiePony, and it’s not interested in playing the blame game. This a My Little Pony fan site. Maybe other fandoms have the same problems. Female genital mutilation is certainly a bigger problem. But again, this is a My Little Pony fan site, with a voice in the My Little Pony fandom. This fandom has problems. It seems we both agree on that. Then, maybe we should be more concerned with fixing those problems than trying to downplay them or shift the blame to defend our image whenever they come up.

      Keep in mind that people can have lives outside of My Little Pony, interact with other people, and may one day raise children. Improving attitudes within the fandom has an effect not only on the very real lives of its members who won’t forget their harassment and abuse the second they step out of BronyCon or log out of Tumblr, but also on each of their social circles. It matters.

      • “The title of this article is “Fixing The Problems Women Face in the MLP Fandom”. It’s not an attack on the fandom, it’s not an attack on men, it’s not an essay on PinkiePony, and it’s not interested in playing the blame game.”

        it could’ve fooled me, especially because some of the comments that were rejected were trying to bring in more context, especially to the PinkiePony areas, which are a bit one-sided (although for the record, I agree that gendered insults and threats are out of line)

        • If those comments were written in a not-lousy manner and/or were not obvious 4chan trolls, they wouldn’t have been screened. Anyone who says “PinkiePony was doing it for attention!” is pretty much an insta-reject, cause, c’mon. Even then, the deluge of rape threats and everything else sent at her was so out of line that it’s not very defensible. Speaking personally (since I am not the author of this piece), I’ve had many other women friends who are fans of the show (and other shows) face a similar deluge (often from anons) for simply daring to question the problems of the fandom. It’s a common refrain and a bit saddening.

          But PinkiePony is only one small part and example of the issues, so focusing on her misses the point of the article.

          • one thing I tried to mention is that the statement “PinkiePony wanted to boycott a blog showcasing adult material that included Friendship is Magic characters” is ironic because her own blog also has adult material of Friendship is Magic characters that she drew herself. maybe it was rejected because I pointed out WHERE on her blog it can be found (I not linking it here if that was the case). adding to the irony is that the blog she wanted shut down wasn’t any worse than a comic she herself drew. despite the word “Molest” being used, there were no rape jokes. rather, it was using the somewhat archaic definition, which makes it synonymous with “bother” or “harass”

          • ‘Anyone who says “PinkiePony was doing it for attention!” is pretty much an insta-reject, cause, c’mon.’

            So anyone who reckons PP was…let’s say untruthful…about her situation isn’t allowed to express that opinion (based on her demeanour) in a comment?

            Particularly as her potentially dishonest spectacle was compared to a 10-year-old’s proven attempted suicide (which there were also skeptics about, myself included) and then used as an example of “problems women face” when there are several unrelated factors left unaddressed.

            Not to mention the fact that bringing feminist politics into Morones’ unrelated suicide attempt is in just as bad a taste as the confirmed online bullying directed at PP. It’s reminiscent of the British Muslim protests surrounding Remembrance Day back in 2010 for an unrelated issue; admittedly an extreme comparison, but hopefully it’ll show you why it gets a negative response.

            I have to agree with Max and Reader that PP’s problems stem from her attitude, not her gender. She wasn’t the best example to base an entire section of the article about and putting it first clouds people’s opinion of the rest, given its lack of adequate citations.

            ‘Lesbians are subjected to homophobic insults.’
            Examples? And can you confirm that homosexual males don’t experience the same thing?

            ‘Ironically, “love and tolerance” is advertised as a key theme of the fandom, an important thing to follow, yet it’s not abided by its own community.’
            If you look up it’s origins, you’d see that the phrase (full: “I’m going to love and tolerate the s**t out of you”) was an ironic comeback to 4chan trolls and the people who later took it seriously are seen as oddities (because noone truly follows it).

            ‘Many women have been victims of criticism, being referred to as “fake fans” or “attention whores”.’
            Examples that aren’t PP-related?

            ‘When it comes to the term brony, there have been cases where some individuals say, “Women can’t be bronies, bro means guy.”’
            That’s a brony/pegasister terminology argument. It’s commonly accepted that “Brony” is used for both genders and “Pegasister” can sometimes be used for female fans that prefer that term, though some believe differently. See Tara Strong’s section of the BronyDoc documentary.

            • Since I’m not the author, I can’t speak for them, I’m just responding since you responded to me.

              So anyone who reckons PP was…let’s say untruthful…about her situation isn’t allowed to express that opinion (based on her demeanour) in a comment?

              Anons drivebying with a link to horse news going “PinkiePony is the REAL villain here” are not comments, they are noise and a distraction. They’re free to comment on their own platforms. Ignoring the rest of the article to just go “But what about PinkiePony?” misses the point. This isn’t Equestria Daily where it’s an unmoderated free-for-all, the front page (and forums) are moderated and a certain level of discourse is expected.

              On the subject of Morones, I think the point was more that it seems women are given much less benefit of the doubt; that people attack them on their gender far more than boys and men, that they are more likely to be labeled as “attention seekers” instead of given help.

              If you look up it’s origins, you’d see that the phrase (full: “I’m going to love and tolerate the s**t out of you”) was an ironic comeback to 4chan trolls and the people who later took it seriously are seen as oddities (because noone truly follows it).

              Yes, but it’s grown so far beyond its roots and taken up by so many people that it’s kind of ironic that a show based upon self-improvement and being a better person seems to be lost on a vast portion of its fanbase.

              Examples that aren’t PP-related?

              Several of my own female friends (Steve Holt, Ponywise, Hollow and Pineapple from here on the forums to name a few) have faced extreme wrongful reaction for daring to say “Hey, the fandom has problems.” Even then, go read that linked DA journal, it has tons of sources that are perfectly valid.

              The issue is that, when presented with a problem, the fandom often hides behind “But we’re not all like that!” or attempts to ignore it, or pivots to personally attacking the person, blaming victims, or trying to obfuscate the problem. This reaction isn’t exclusive to the pony fandom, I’ve seen it in gaming communities, the Penny Arcade situation, Republican politicians, and on and on and on. Instead of wanting to actually address the problems (Because it might mean that people have to do things differently or they can no longer behave like 4chan extends to the real world), they’d rather just shout people down. Which is their wont, I suppose, but it basically solidifies the general opinion of the fandom as a hostile place to be unless you fit a certain type of person… again, pretty ironic.

              Sexual harassment and safety at cons is a real issue (just as one example) and while Pony cons aren’t alone from suffering from these problems, they could have taken a lead to try to make things safe for everybody. Some took more steps than others, and it’s always an ongoing struggle, but the fandom had an opportunity to set a higher bar and seems to have lost it.

              That’s a brony/pegasister terminology argument. It’s commonly accepted that “Brony” is used for both genders and “Pegasister” can sometimes be used for female fans that prefer that term, though some believe differently. See Tara Strong’s section of the BronyDoc documentary.

              There shouldn’t even be a need for gendered nouns to begin with. Brony is inherently male, it’s from “bro/brother.” Then again I’ve never liked the term “brony” outside of gendering issues (even though they exist) but because people often use it in extremely lousy ways and trying to paint the fandom of the show as some kind of movement for the poor, “discriminated” adult male fans of the show, when what the fans should be REALLY doing is championing the original cause of the show to begin with—making high quality entertainment tarageted towards girls.

              My opinions on this stuff are too varied for this comment, suffice to say that if the fandom is not willing to be a welcoming place that treats the target audience and women with respect, then it has lost. Why not approach it from a “how can we make things better” way when presented with criticism? Look at Travis Beacham, the writer of Pacific Rim, when he was presented with the fact that Gipsy Danger, while a completely innocent name based on historical things, was also related to a slur. He apologized (and not in a “I’m sorry you were offended” way) and I’m sure if he had the chance, he might have picked a different name, or will keep that in mind the next time he names something.

              • On the subject of Morones, I think the point was more that it seems women are given much less benefit of the doubt; that people attack them on their gender far more than boys and men, that they are more likely to be labeled as “attention seekers” instead of given help.

                While the point is valid, I’d like to add that there seems to be some additional evidence against PP.

                The break in her tumblr posts during which her attempt took place was maybe 12 hours, tops. A photo showing a hospital bracelet proves she was in a hospital, but not what for. If she had attempted suicide, she would have been involuntarily held on a “legal hold” or “psychiatric hold” for 72 hours, as is standard procedure in the United States. Even if there were circumstances under which she would have been released earlier, she would not have been allowed the use of electronic devices so shortly afterwards.

                Based on that, I can see reasonable doubt, but it’s drowned out by those who were calling her out for the wrong reasons.

  2. Yes there is a problem with misogyny. That Is not reason Pinkiepony got infamous, as you seem to paint it. A guy could have done it and people would be just as mad for how it was done and how it seemed more like something to bash a fandom than seek change. You could have shown both sides of the coin while getting your point across or used a more innocent girl as an example. The Bronies for Good article on bullying, which mentioned her did a better job of this without the bias. Aside from that bias this article is on the spot.

    • As the writer of that Bronies for Good article, thank you but I have to disagree. Women typically suffer a much worse backlash for calling out sexism than men do, as the latter are more likely to be derided as “white knights” rather than receive a deluge of gendered insults, death threats and graphic depictions of themselves being raped. Every individual I know of who suffered heavy harassment from the fandom is female, while male fans that are unpopular in the fandom at large or even the 4chan crowd are mocked or given a stern talking to at worst. A male fan can trick and humiliate an autistic kid on a livestream after already being the center of much drama and still not be nearly as hated in the fandom as a woman who dared to call out misogyny, among other female fans who attracted the fandom’s hate.

      It’s also worth noting that so far, every single comment on this article is about PinkiePony despite her being simply mentioned once as a mere example, and that the previous article received a comment about PinkiePony despite not mentioning her or Molestia even once. The hate she receives effectively silences discussion on feminist issues and even if you truly believe that her actions were only motivated by a malicious desire to harm the fandom, fighting misogyny takes precedence over hating on an underage blogger.

      You can disagree with PinkiePony while taking a very strong stance against the harassment, misogynistic slurs and rape threats she receive. You can disagree with her for reasons that you consider to be valid, while recognizing that the extent of the backlash was heightened by the misogyny that you already acknowledge.

      • Pinkiepony and Yac’s situations are apples and oranges however. He got called out and the post got reblogged by many music and. No one collabs with him anymore and I dont recall him releasing music for the longest time. Pinkiepony on the other hand constantly gets responses out of people by constantly throwing the antagonistic bait out there. You can’t be surprised every one is getting agitated when they keep being poked at. Not to mention throwing around rape apologist accusations at anyone who doesn’t follow her. If anyone Yac’s tried to take down a website and call everyone rape supporters then people would be even more prised.

        Anyway I agree with everything else one hundred percent so there wasn’t really anything else to be disputed aside from that whole section that basically claims she has done no wrong Its bias and as such is being called out. Again your Bullying article at least seemed to acknowledge that she was no saint. I do already agree that she should not be getting rape threats and the like. But that doesn’t mean that part of this article isn’t painting her as someone who does nothing wrong.

      • The reason I and people target PinkiePony is that you dedicated an entire paragraph to her.

        Even if it is “an example” it is quite possibly the WORST example imaginable for this situation (she joked about killing bronies on her twitter). It would’ve been far more better and fair to pick an instance of misoginy or persecution from someone who from a neutral point of view did nothing wrong.

        You are taking the lowest hanging fruit and using it to illustrate your point. It would be the equivalent of a website doing a report on Christian and quoting westboro’s baptist church. And for me it feels that it undermine the entire article.

  3. Minor gripe here. MLP isn’t girly for the same reason that having a job or something isn’t manly. This gendered language is one of my pet peeves. No, it isn’t fine to like a girly show, because there isn’t such a thing as a girly show.

    You can say it was targetted toward girls, sure, that’s absolutely true. But if you then say that male fans shouldn’t attempt to make the show all about them, you invite the obvious counterpoint that misogynists will use that
    “Well, why wont feminists shut the fuck up about changing OUR shows then? Stop whining about damsels in distress, or women being underrepresented it isn’t targetted at you. It’s OUR show.”
    If you allow one, you have to allow the other.

    Fans are completely entitled to try and steer a work of fiction in a direction they want it to go, etc. It may be ill advised, but it’s not misogynistic.

    As for the pinkiepony shenanigans, I think she’s mistaken in her criticism of Molestia, and there should have been a civil discussion as to the reasons why. That didn’t happen, and that’s a problem. Part of the reason for that is, I suspect, the accusatory nature of what she was arguing. That doesn’t excuse how people reacted, it just explains why they felt angry. If someone insinuates you are supporting rape, that can be seen as an insult instead of an argument and a suggestion to change your attitude. From the perspective of the people who attacked PP, she “Started” it.

    Finally, i’ll once again re-iterate that it isn’t ok when something is girly or feminine. Because those categories are nonsensical, arbitrary, and sexist by nature.
    Something is pink. That doesn’t make it girly. It makes it pink.
    Something is sweet. That doesn’t make it feminine. It makes it sweet.
    (Yes, for the record, this obviously applies to manly/masculine too.)

    • MLP is very much girly, and that is not something that should be denied, it should be embraced. Faust intended it to be girly, feminine, and feminist, and it is something built into the very fabric of the show.

      What you’re missing is that the whole point of MLP is to show that a lot of things, and traits, that we do not see as girly, can be. And that traditionally girly does not have to mean “bad”, and does not have to be denied.

      There is such a thing as gendered media, and FiM is one of them. You may personally want these categories to stop existing, but you have to acknowledge that we live in a culture where these categories are very much omnipresent.

      You’re making a false equivalency. Firstly, your statement kind of relies on the idea that media on a whole is equivalent, which it isn’t. Within a media age where male representation is largely favoured over female representation, change needs to happen in order to move toward equality. Female-oriented media needs to be embraced, and media on a whole needs to change toward depicting women more equally.

      That’s not to say that male-oriented media should stop existing, just as female-media should not stop existing. It just means the ratio needs to move closer to 1:1, and media needs to stop over-simplifying characters with gender stereotypes.

      They really have no entitlement to try and steer a show toward a different direction, especially when that work of fiction is really not meant to cater toward their interests.

      Trying to ignore gender categories exist is similar to trying to pretend race doesn’t exist, and that you’re not racist because you don’t see race. Sex categories exist, and ignoring that existence ignores the very real struggles that women face, and the very real nature of our patriarchal society that places man above women.

      Whether or not these categories should exist, and whether our categories should be more expansive, is a different level of discussion than our content this week. If you want to discuss the nature of these categories, that may be a worthwhile discussion, but that is an entirely separate discussion. Do not try to ignore these categories, as they exist right now, and they are a significant part of a lot of people’s identities.

      Yes, certain things can stand to be de-gendered, and we can work toward that. Trying to de-gender the entire world is a much more extensive challenge.

      FiM and feminist efforts work toward a world where both men and women (particularly women as they experience more disadvantage) can be and do what they want to be, without their sex being a hindrance. It works to challenge ideas that place traits and other things in one category or another, when they should exist in both. Trying to remove the gender binary altogether is a somewhat different challenge, that some feminism engages with, but isn’t necessarily apart of every feminist discussion. Right now, when people hold their gender identity as an important part of them, it is insulting and insensitive to attempt to pretend that gender doesn’t exist.

      I probably haven’t done this counter justice, so I encourage others to step in on the problems with this line of reasoning.

      • Well, I deny it’s girly. There isn’t anything inherently girly about it, and that’s a sexist outlook to take. I don’t particularly care what she intended, you can intend to make a show girly but in the end it’s just pink and sweet, neither of which are girly. They are perceived to be girly by some people, which is a different matter.
        Frankly I don’t care if peoples identities are wrapped up in nonsense, it’s their problem if they’ve managed to delude themselves into investing so heavily in arbitrary and sexist categorizations. Their feelings get hurt because someone points out their sexism and seeks to de-gender the categorizations?
        Well, sucks for them. I don’t particularly care.
        You want to sugar-coat it for effectiveness purposes so they listen? Sure. I can get behind that. No sense alienating people if we can phrase it nicer. But shutting up about it altogether to protect their feelings? Fuck that.

        I’m aware it’s a false equivalency, nonetheless it’s an argument they will make and will sound convincing to a great many people.

        Sure. Sex categories exist. That doesn’t make basketball a “Blackish.” sport, and it would be incredibly racist to insinuate otherwise like people constantly do for “Girly” and “Manly” and such.
        People whining about how race categories exist and we need to accept that Basketball is a Blackish sport would be rightly regarded as massive racists. And yet this infection within feminism is widespread of people doing pretty much the same thing.
        Pink is not girly. Sweet is not girly. FIM is not girly. It’s perceived that way by bigots, and it’s something we need to regularly challenge.

        Aw. Are they insulted that I point out they are being sexists? Boohoo. How insensitive of me. I guess I should shut up about it. That you unironically use a silencing tactic that misogynists use without any sense of introspection should prompt you to realizing that maybe you should re-evaluate your position on this issue. Feminists are not immune to internalized sexism.
        I realize I may come across as hostile on this issue. It’s because it’s something I see crippling the feminist movement on a regular basis.
        A bunch of people marching around declaring that it’s ok to have cooties and it’s acceptable to have cooties are missing the obvious point. Cooties aren’t real.
        It isn’t fine for a show to be girly. It isn’t acceptable. Because there isn’t such a thing as a girly show. Spending so much of our time repeating an ultimately nonsense message gets on my nerves.
        For one thing, it also casually repeats over and over the incredibly irritating infantilization of women with the use of “Girly” despite the fact that the opposite term is “Manly.”

        • I’ll start with an apology. I did use a silencing tactic, and that was wrong of me. This is a difficult argument for me to engage with; that’s not an excuse, just an explanation. I am sorry.

          I can recognize the appeal of the idea of a genderless society, and it could lead to the ending of gender-based oppression. It’s just a goal I can’t see as feasible personally.

          I’m invested in the narratives of too many people to which their gender identity is at such a core to really work from your hard-line approach.

          Your position is an interesting one, and has got me thinking about these things. Your argument is certainly sound enough to really consider, and I’m not sure how to rebuttal the rest of it.

          Once again, I apologize. I hope this rebuttal was sufficient.

          • You don’t need to apologize. It’s fine, everyone does it occasionally. I’m sorry for coming across pretty strong on this though.
            It’s a difficult argument for me too, so that’s why I’m probably being a little insulting.

            I’m aware it’s a hardliner approach, and that makes it an alienating one. To be honest, i’m fairly sure that a syncretic approach is probably the right one. No single philosophy is all-encompassing, and areas where gender abolition is simply infeasible are areas where other branches could easily pick up the slack, and visa versa, but despite that acknowledgement i’m never quite sure WHICH areas G.A wouldn’t work, so on any single issue i’m going to say “Ofcourse it’s appropriate here.” despite acknowledging that somewhere, it probably isn’t.
            In addition to that, the presence of a hardline ideology is useful for what i’ve heard called the Ratchet effect. It makes the new “Middle ground” shift dramatically, which draws in people who are compromisers by nature.
            I’d like to reiterate once again that it was a good article, and that’s why I was drawn in to discuss it with you.

            • The pitfalls of discourse are many.

              I think that’s a pretty good perspective, and it’s certainly true that no singular philosophy, or feminism, can encompass everything. The backlash that feminism has kind of received within the internet has, I think, created some need for solidarity, but if that comes, it should come with the allowance for multiple and diverse perspectives. As difficult as that can be to manage.

              Haven’t heard of that concept (and Google is a bit unhelpful on it), but it sounds interesting enough. Effective on me, I suppose. Though the flip-side is the alienation you speak of.

              And yours have been great comments. A lot of the feedback has appeared to miss the point or else try to boil the position of our writers down to a single issue (PinkiePony, namely), so it’s a refreshing challenge to see a different feminist perspective that better acknowledges the perspectives of our writers, as it disagrees with some them.

              I’ll note that we do have an extensive feminism thread on our forum, though I can’t honestly say I’m sure how well your perspective would be received. But this conversation has been interesting and rewarding, and I like having discussions like this happen, even if it can ruffle my feathers.

              • Good points. Masculinity and femininity are meaningless concepts in themselves, only given meaning by how a culture applies them, which has varied greatly throughout history. Like pink once being a boys color and blue a girls. They’re just labels.
                Brony is also a label, because social groups do not actually exist. People may share an interest, but beyond that, they hardly have anything in common. Trying to enforce an attitude like “love and tolerate” or create a public image

                • (accidentally hit submit. wish we could just edit our own replies)

                  Trying to enforce an attitude like “love and tolerate” or create a public image for a group of people is impossible, and to believe that these things exist is to ignore some people in favor of others. And for what? Catering to the ignorance of the media or general public to try to portray people a certain way is just as ignorant in itself.

                  A TV show isn’t going to change people. Someone who was a jerk before liking the show is likely going to stay that way. Trying to change a social group is trying to change reality. Is it a problem that people are bullying and harassing others? Yes. Recognize that they’re jerks, that they’re individuals, and that they only represent themselves. Don’t try to make everyone who likes a TV show act the same way, and don’t try to make everyone share the responsibility. That’s just diverting the real issues, which are personal conflicts that have nothing to do with My Little Pony.

                  This wasn’t directed at you, Discord, just a general followup.

      • >Faust intended it to be girly

        her aim was to be cute… but not “cutesy,” which is what makes shows typically made for girls stick to such a low bar for quality

        >and feminist

        even more debatable
        go find me a five-ten year old that actually cares about feminism

        sure you can incorporate traits of “feminism,” but that’s about it before you make something that could become uninteresting to the target audience

        • The five-year-olds don’t have to care about feminism, but showing them that girls are just as capable of doing things as boys are won’t hurt anybody. If you’re going to make a cute cartoon about strong independent female protagonists for five-year-olds, might as well break some gender roles, right? ;) Children are never too young to learn about stuff like that, even if they’re not old enough to really care about it yet. They’ll care later.

          And Faust actually *did* mention – on numerous occasions – that she wanted to break gender roles and that her show was intended for little girls and their parents, but that it’s great that it exceeds the target audience.

  4. I tend to hang around in more… sane places than where those people seem to crop up. But I just can’t wrap my head around people’s logic, that they can sit and watch a sweet and charming show for girls, with feminist values (constructive feminist I might add, not “man hater” feminist, so it’s not like they’re being nasty to us males), listen to all the nice things it teaches us… and then turn around and become sexist bullies. How does anyone’s mind even work like that?

    The bit of hope I think is that if they’re sitting down watching a show like this, the effort suggests that deep down a brain and a heart may exist. Don’t get me wrong, the show doesn’t make us special, that is clear, but it just makes even less sense for a deeply nasty individual to be sat there watching a sweet cartoon about ponies and friendship (more than maybe once just to laugh at it, anyway). It’s too much time and effort that could be spent trolling. I don’t know if people are scared that they’ll be seen as weak if they’re nice to people or something, but perhaps there’s more to it than them just being nasty individuals, and perhaps one day they’ll come to their senses.

    That’s why I thoroughly agree, stand up to them and point out their hypocrisy in no uncertain terms, and that it makes no sense whatsoever to be celebrating this show while being misogynistic and sexist. But I also think, rise above it, be the better person, stay constructive and reasonable about it. Don’t spew hate at them, as hating people just makes them more stubborn and often pushes them further down the path of being a jerk as they figure “everyone hates me anyway”. Point out the error of their ways, suggest that they improve their attitudes, and report them if the site they’re posting on has rules against hate/bullying/-isms so the mods can help demonstrate that it’s matter to be taken seriously. Perhaps one day they’ll think “I was being a jerk, and I don’t know why. I’ll stop now.”
    Optimistic, I know.