Thing I love #32: My Little Ponies
My Little Ponies are the ultimate little girl plaything.
Because many years ago, some genius figured out how to combine the separate elements of female make-believe/fantasy into one glorious figurine. A figurine that that gives little girls lady boners. A figurine that transcends Barbie, and American Girl Dolls, and those creepy heads that you put makeup on.
And that figurine is the My Litte Pony.
And I will tell you why.
Because I’m kind of an expert.
It is a well known fact that little girls love horses. Scores of tween-age books, movies and yes, toys, illustrate this fact. My Friend Flicka (the link points to the movie, but obviously I know it was a book first), anything written by the genius who was Marguerite Henry and Breyer Horses all played very important roles in my – and most other little girls’ – childhood. Horses are the tits because they can run fast, they have long hair and pretty eyes. Also, ownership of a horse represents a pretty idyllic combination of freedom (because you can run away from things and go fast and jump over stuff) and communing with nature (because every little girl knows that when you have a horse the two of your are soul mates). Plus, control over an animal many, many times larger than you is a heady prospect to anyone who wears Strawberry Shortcake underwear and only ever gets to boss around younger siblings.
And MLPs are just that: Horses.
No, wait. They’re the smaller, cuter version of horses: PONIES.
2. Color / Racial Diversity
Austin ampersand Zak/Flickr
The color spectrum that attracts little girls goes something like this, in order of most-attention-grabbing to still-awesome-but-not-as-awesome-as-hot-pink:
Rainbow (Yes. This is a shade.)
All shades of neon
All of the above, but with glitter
The brilliant minds over at MLP headquarters found a way to work at least five of those into each and every pony, making one hell of a color selection when it comes to picking one out. I’d also like to take a moment to appreciate the variety that comes within the My Little Pony spectrum. It’s like a not-so-subtle commentary on accepting differences in the real world. As stated previously, MLPs come in literally every color. Most have a unique birthmark on their hindquarters that they have had to live with their entire life. Granted, this is often in the shape of a charming bouquet or starburst or cupcake or something, but still. Some have special abilities (flying, pointing their horn at things, floating in bathtubs). Some have freckles. Some are midgets (or babies, probably). They also come in different poses that speak to the wide range of personalities of the My Little Pony population: One hoof raised (bold), arched neck (saucy!), head up and forward (confident). If My Little Ponies don’t teach us about accepting each other’s differences, then what the hell are they for?
3. Size, Construction and Body Confidence
merwing little dear/Flickr
My Little Ponies are the perfect size. They’re little (per the second word of their name), without being insubstantial. An MLP won’t blow over in the wind, nor will it take up too much space in your backpack. And it won’t get sucked up in the vacuum like shitty, tiny Polly Pockets. You can take My Little Pony out for a romp in the mud and just rinse her off in the sink afterward, no harm done. You can brush her name or tail without the fear of snarling it (like you do with Barbie). And you don’t have to worry about putting her in the right outfit because, let’s face it, she looks pretty good naked.
Also, My Little Ponies don’t force little girls to constantly think about tiny waists and monster boobs and feet that only fit into high heels. They have legs, bodies and pretty generous rumps. They’re not supposed to be sexy because they’re busy being themselves, and having magical adventures. Not getting tarted up for a genital-less Ken doll.
4. The Names
This is possibly the most brilliant part of the My Little Pony enterprise. The company looked at how little girls name themselves when they play Princess/Fairy/Queen/Stranded Orphan Who Is Secretly A Fairy Princess… and applied it to their toys. This naming strategy is usually just a string of nouns or adjectives describing things that little girls love. Like, “Princess Lollipop Sparkle Castle” or “Rainbow Glitter Fairy Heart” or “Cherry.” Following are examples of honest-to-goodness My Little Pony names:
merwing little dear/Flickr
If there’s anything cooler than a hot pink horse you can fit in a lunchbox, it’s one that also does magic. And it’s pretty clear that MLPs are some magical beings. First off, the color. That shit doesn’t occur in nature, so clearly these horses come from some wonderful land where it is recognized that pastels and glittery decals are way, way better than browns and greys. Also, sometimes they have unicorn horns or wings. That’s right: wings. So you can understand the appeal when the power of flight and of pointy horns comes baked into special MLP models.
6. The Faces
My Little Ponies are designed with incredibly intelligent, beautiful faces. They manage to be cute, wise and sexy all at once, and fuck if I know how. But they are. I think it’s the eyes and the gentle, all-knowing smiles.
Somewhat unfortunately, today’s My Little Ponies are a less-wonderful version of the ones from my childhood. The same way that Bratz dolls are a big-headed, cheaper version of Barbies, so are current My Little Ponies. Their heads are inflated, their eyes are bigger and their colors are a little more garish. I am in no way saying that the original MLPs were proportionally accurate or used tasteful color palettes, but I am saying they were better. And anyone who grew up with me will agree.
Featured photo courtesy of Austin ampersand Zak/Flickr