Parenting: My Little Pony has learned a new trick or two

News-DemocratNovember 25, 2013 

I'm out of the loop of what's cool among kids these days.

Even though I try to stay up on the latest fad, I'm woefully behind. And, as hard as I try, I don't get this obsession among some older kids with My Little Pony.

In the '80s, My Little Pony was for kids. Little kids. They were marketed for girls still in grade school who wanted to brush the long, luxurious manes and tails of those little plastic ponies. My sister had a pony village, pony clothes, pony this, that and the other. They ranked right up there with Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch Kids.

The ponies have been redesigned. (What's up with those tiny little noses? I liked the originals better.) And they have a cartoon series.

Apparently, My Little Pony has a following of teenagers and even college kids -- including boys, known as "Bronys" -- who like them. Female devotees are "Pegasisters." What?

My 12-year-old daughter and her friends are obsessed with the ponies and I just don't understand it. I've watched the cartoons and they are obviously marketed toward little kids, not young adults entering high school or college. They call each other by pony names and are constantly quoting the ponies or referring to particularly exciting Pony cartoon episodes.

Derpy is a favorite, as are Rainbow Dash and Dr. Whooves. When she has friends over, they have My Little Pony cartoon marathons.

My Little Pony stuff (stuffed ponies, plastic ponies, T-shirts and, of course, DVDs of the series) dominate her Christmas list this year. Her room is plastered with drawings of the ponies. She actually draws them very, very well. All that time and effort painting and applying wallpaper borders, picking out wolf lamps and wolf-themed bedding so her room could become the "wolf sanctuary" she wanted. Now its covered up by cartoon ponies. A little bit frustrating, but I'd rather see ponies than teen idols dominating her wall.

Okay. Whatever. If the kid is going to be obsessed with something, I'll take My Little Pony.

In search of a particular T-shirt she asked for, I found myself on different websites dedicated to Pony devotees. Some of them weirded me out. The more I searched, the more I read, the more I got the feeling I am missing something fairly obvious in the phrases on some of the T-shirts. I'm pretty sure not all of those phrases I found on T-shirts are "kid friendly" when applied to the older Pony-obsessed crowd.

Hopefully, I'm just reading more into it than there is and I'm just flummoxed by this Pony obsession across the ages and genders. Is it merely teenagers not wanting to grow up? I don't know, but I'd bet the creators and marketers are more than pleased to see their line of My Little Pony stuff popular across such a diverse population. From what I could gather, they were at first just as as confused by the obsession as I am. But more than likely they have now embraced the additional sales.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep on searching for the most appropriate kid-friendly T-shirt I can find to fulfill her Christmas wish list. With my luck, I'll probably pick the wrong pony.

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