Is It Just Me, Or Is The Show 'My Little Pony'... B*tchy?

This show is Selling Sunset for first graders.

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Ariela Basson/Scary Mommy; Amazon/My Little Pony, Getty Images, Shutterstock

My Little Pony seemed innocent enough when my daughter turned it on. I was limited to PBS as a kid, but I remember playing with my neighbor’s ponies, admiring the tramp stamps, er, butt marks on each one. Sure, I thought — this seems fine.

But then, when I walked past the TV a few minutes later, I cringed as Twilight Sparkle ripped on Rainbow Dash: “Puh-lease, they’d never accept a Pegasus who can’t even keep the sky clear for one measly day.” Hoping I just caught a rare moment of attitude, I settled in to watch. It turns out that the entire episode centered on a group fight between which pony could have the one remaining ticket to the sparkle-riffic ball thrown by Princess Celestia.

Twilight Sparkle showcased narcissistic tendencies, and used poor Spike, her dragon “friend,” as her peon. Pinkie Pie channeled Elle Woods in all of her cringe-worthy enthusiasm and pink. And Apple Jack, bless her heart, couldn’t cover up her toxicity with her sweet Southern twang. “These ponies don’t seem very kind,” I remarked. My daughters were sucked into the show; it was too late.

Though the show is geared towards younger ages, My Little Pony teaches viewers how to sport a Kardashian-level attitude, while inspiring the life skills of manipulation, bribery, lying, and brown-nosing. Instead of peacefully discussing differences, Apple Jack challenged Rainbow Dash to “a hoof wrestle.” Not exactly the message I want my children to receive. We quickly turned off the show due to pony bitchiness.

I assumed other mothers weren’t as sensitive to MLPB (My Little Pony B*tchiness), but when I mentioned my distaste for the show at school pickup one day, another mom’s eyes widened. “Yes! They are so rude!” she said. “The more and more episodes my daughter watched, the more and more I noticed all the plots were the same … the girl ponies were constantly fighting with one another.”

As I watched clips of the show for this article, I gathered plenty of quotes and absorbed endless eye-rolls. But I had a hard time summarizing my passionate distaste for the show, and couldn’t put my finger on why I felt so conflicted about it. Later that night, after my daughters were in bed, I turned on Selling Sunset, a show rife with couture fashion and mile-high drama. As I watched one relator call the other a “f*cking b*tch” over a business deal gone bad, Twilight Sparkle entered my mind.

I groaned. Of course, the type of show that I love so much is one that I don’t want my daughters to be consuming. While I was pregnant with my daughter, I read The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. She states, “If you’re a girl, you’ve been programmed to make sure you keep social harmony. This is a matter of life and death to the brain, even if it’s not so important in the twenty-first century.”

It sounds eerily similar to the opening of the My Little Pony: “Once upon a time in the magical land of Equestria, there were two regal sisters who ruled together and created harmony for all the land. To do this, the eldest used her unicorn powers to raise the sun at dawn. The younger brought out the moon to begin the night. But as time went on, the younger sister became resentful…. One fateful day the younger unicorn refused to lower the moon to make way for the dawn. The elder sister tried to reason with her, but the bitterness in the young one’s heart had transformed her into a wicked mare of darkness.”

Drama, to me, feels dangerous. But when I watch it on the TV, I can watch different scenarios play out without risking anything. I seek harmony, sure, but when I boot up Netflix, I crave to watch sh*t hit the fan. Shows like Selling Sunset, Real Housewives, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians fulfill this primal urge.

Is this why my daughters love My Little Pony so much? Maybe. Maybe they won’t pick up on the bitchiness, and instead are just using the show to study social norms. But I’m not going to risk it after my five-year-old shared this nugget of wisdom with me one afternoon: “And the moral of the story is, if your friend is mean to you, you can be mean to your friend.”

We’ve banned My Little Pony from our house, but I’ll still be watching Selling Sunset. My daughters can indulge in the dramatic TV shows when they aren’t so impressionable.

Laura Onstot writes to maintain her sanity after transitioning from a career as a research nurse to stay-at-home motherhood. In her spare time, she can be found sleeping on the couch while she lets her kids binge-watch TV. She blogs at Nomad’s Land, or you can follow her on Twitter @LauraOnstot.

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