My Little Pony Hates Men!”: A Short Look at Gender, Representation, and Cartoons

I’ve never seen an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I hear good things, though, and understand if people do like it [and they do] because Lauren Faust is the mind behind the show, and she was largely responsible for The Powerpuff Girls which I still think is one of the best things Cartoon Network has ever done. But again, I’ve never seen any MLP.

Anyway, bronies, right? My favourite go-to source for words you won’t find in Webster’s, Urban Dictionary defines the term as:

“A name typically given to the male viewers/fans (whether they are straight, gay, bisexual, etc.) of the My Little Pony show or franchise. They typically do not give in to the hype that males aren’t allowed to enjoy things that may be intended for females.”

Which, given that very broad description, sounds fine. A person viewing something that is ostensibly for male viewers only, something like . . . I don’t know . . . Lego Ninjago, is not something I think anyone would have a problem with. Anyway. just keep this reasonably sizable fanbase in mind as we move forward-

My Little Pony: Misandry is Magic

That’s the title of a post on tumblr a friend of mine linked me to two days ago. Two short bits of context, misandry is the flipside of misogyny, being the hatred of men instead, and this was originally posted by someone who went by nomisandryplease. I say “went by” because heading over to his site reveals what is seen below and absolutely nothing more:

nomisandryplease
To get to what exactly this guy was bullied for, and I actually don’t doubt that he was, to some extent, the main point to his post was that MLP is a show that, while enjoyable, ultimately treats males very poorly. 

Big Macintosh is another secondary male character in the show. He is shown as a shy young stallion who lives in a matriarchal family and can barely talk. See? Males are reduced to silence in My Little Pony.”

He has a lot of evidence to support this, but I don’t want to just copy and past his entire rant [and it is that a little bit] here. It all boils down to the fact that the show [emphasis his] “has no prominent male character.” Not only that, but the ones who do appear are either marginal or outright villains. Again, I haven’t seen the show and can’t comment to his accuracy.

Further stated is the fact that “every male cartoon or anime nowadays has a prominent female character,” which I can’t find fault in. I mean, I question his usage of “male cartoon or anime,” but it’s true that most kids’ shows have a female character who does whatever it is the guys do as well or better than them, etc.  For real, though, I had to rack my brain [and the Teletoon schedule] for a show that didn’t have one, and only settled on Lego Ninjago after checking Wikipedia.

Which is all to say that this guy, nomisandryplease or whatever his real name is, appears [according to what research he’s done that I’ve read] to have a point of some validity. Now the question of whether it is “okay” for a show like My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic to do something like this-

Girl Power [Said With A Raised Fist]

As mentioned, this person fled tumblr, or possibly just created another account to escape harassment. The following response [which quotes the very last line of his post] sums up the sentiment of many:

“It teaches feminism, female superiority and matriarchy.”

My goodness, let’s hope so.

Which, c’mon, I can’t really get behind. I most definitely get [though perhaps not one hundred percent, as I am not one] how women have been marginalized in the vastly male-targeted media; it’s an uphill battle in almost every way. On the flipside, I’ve always been a proponent of feminism being that “men and women are equal.” I don’t think that any form of media preaching female superiority is any better than the opposite, touting that men are the better sex.

MLP is far on one side of the spectrum, basically, when it comes to representation of male and female characters, etc. In answering the question “is it okay, etc.” though, I think we need to make it more specific and ask “is it okay, etc., now?” Given the decades leading up to this point [when we have been blessed with shows like Adventure Time, Gravity FallsTotal Drama All-Stars, and so on-] I think that having a show that caters almost specifically to young girls can’t be seen as a bad thing.

user61483_pic9044_1332960132

Years from now [and really, years] I’m sure someone will look back and find MLP and wonder why there’s such a slant present, and how different and wrong it is in the context of their perfect world of gender equality. Until then, however, maybe a show that is for little girls can feature almost one hundred percent female characters and be alright. Oh, and that leads us to our next and final point-

What Makes Complaints About Representation Valid?

Yes, this is a man, presumably full grown, who is commenting about and critiquing a show that is, as I just said, made for little girls. I think it’s fair to say that he’s not the target audience here. Which begs the question as to whether or not those not being targeted deserve the right to speak up when it comes to seeing more of themselves represented.

I used to love The Proud Family, a Disney cartoon about a Black family. I used to love it, and I still do, too. When I was a younger person, though, would it have been fair for me to ask where the Asian character was? The show was for children, but clearly aimed a fair amount at African-Americans given its country of origin. Was it their voice that mattered the most?

According to this one article I found “between 4.0% and 6.8% of the internet-using US population strongly identify as bronies, or approximately 7 to 12.4 million people.” If there are enough audience members would that then be enough to tip the scales?

I don’t have a rigid response for this question, but at the very minimum I feel like male adults shouldn’t be in the top ten voices to listen to when it comes to what should be present in a cartoon for young girls. A final thought, from a friend with whom I was discussing all of this:

“At the same time though, you have to consider the person asking for representation.
If they already monopolize what’s out there, do they really need even more of the pool?”

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12 responses to “My Little Pony Hates Men!”: A Short Look at Gender, Representation, and Cartoons

  1. I certainly don’t think MLP owes it to the world to have more male characters, though if what this nomysandryplease says is true, and males are almost exclusively portrayed as villains, I could see that as being unhealthy. If you want to exclude a given demographic, that really is fine, but if you’re going to include them at all, I’d say it’s worth it to be fair.

  2. I think you should look into this show a little more before you be so quick to judge. Spike, a male baby dragon, is in nearly every single episode and offers a lot of support for the other characters. Big Macintosh is very shy, as is his personality. There are many well-to-do male unicorns living in Canterlot and genders transpose in roles all the time.

    Also, I’m a brony, if you were wondering.

    • I tried to mention as often as I could that a) I’ve never personally seen the show and b) that nomisandryplease’s observations and points were his own. I’ve edited the post a little to make that more clear.

      Really glad you’ve chimed in as a brony yourself. I didn’t think that Spike’s [see, I didn’t even know the dragon’s name] role was really as marginal as all that, but I suppose this guy was observing and really searching for a specific theme.

      Thanks a lot for your feedback!

    • yeah and spike is an idiot completely controled by women to the point he is forced to remain a kid forever because all men apparentky are evil.

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  4. Of course it’s okay for a show to cater to a specific audience, and it’s kind of stupid for a fan of the show to start complaining about something that (I assume) the show has done all along.
    It’d be like if I really got into Star Trek, and then started complaining that they had to have aliens and space travel in every episode.
    Well, it’s not quite like that. But I had a feeling this “brony” started into the subculture to push his agenda. While I could empathize with his agenda, I think he went about it in an underhanded or mistaken way.

  5. I love mlp, I don’t really care that there aren’t any males. Being a straight white male, I believe there’s already too much of the majority of the population, (straight, white, males) in the media, I’m glad to see a show in which there is very little representation of such. Also, there is Spike. A male character that has grown a bit in the last season, who is a protagonist who works alongside the ponies. Being not of their species, (a dragon,) and still receiving the same recognition as the mane6 also /*somewhat*/ promotes anti-racism.

  6. When the show was set up nobody had any idea that full grown males were gonna be watching this. The target audience was young girls. What do young girls like? RIGHT! IT’S NOT BOY STUFF
    You’re like the male equivalent of a ‘modern’ feminist. God damn you’re a retarded faggot.

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  8. Panait Ciprian

    to be fair they are portrayed as villains or dumb. And this can be seen also in PPG although only to some extend. Unlike MLP the show PPG does not make its misandry shown blatently perhaps due to the fact that it was meant for a mixed audience. But with MLP the man hating Laura Faust let her rage and hate towards men get full blown. And irronically despite hating men she managed to get married to one the poor bastard. About feminism it was always a culture of lies and hate towards men to explicitely destoy the bonds between a man and a woman.

  9. Panait Ciprian

    Jimmy regardless of audience saying all boys are dumb or evil is not good. Putting these thoughts into the heads of little girls also not good.

  10. while I do agree that mlp is mysandric he did not state his case too well. The problem is not no male representation but the idea that males are useless dumb goofs also portrait in a dozen of commercials with retarded dads and all knowing moms. This is the insulting thing. Also every male that is good must be under absolute control of a woman. The problem is these feminazis cannot show women as powerfull unless they demean men. There have a number of amazing women in history but of course they are ignored because the faminazis narative must always make women perfect angelic snowflakes and men evil and/or stupid.

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