Ponyville Confidential

The History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981–2016


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About the Book

Beloved by young girls around the world, Hasbro’s My Little Pony franchise has been mired in controversy since its debut in the early 1980s. Critics dismissed the cartoons as toy advertisements, and derided their embrace of femininity. The 2010 debut of the openly feminist My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic renewed the backlash, as its broad appeal challenged entrenched notions about gendered entertainment. This first comprehensive study of My Little Pony explores the history and cultural significance of the franchise through Season 5 of Friendship Is Magic and the first three Equestria Girls films. The brand has continued to be on the receiving end of a sexist double standard regarding commercialism in children’s entertainment, while masculine cartoons such as the Transformers have been spared similar criticism.

About the Author(s)

Sherilyn Connelly is a San Francisco-based writer and librarian.

Bibliographic Details

Sherilyn Connelly

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6209-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2686-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1

Part 1: Family Appreciation Day (1981–1998)
Ponies: Grosser by the Gross 7
A Foal Is Born 11
From Dream Valley to the Devil’s Backyard 17
I Don’t Know Your Name, But the Mane Is Familiar 20
My Little Pony, Destroyer of Cinema 22
My Little Pony, Destroyer of Television 28
My Little Pony, Destroyer of Everything 31
The Long Dark Saturday Morning of the Soul 35
Ponies What Are British 40

Part 2: The Lost Generations (1998–2010)
Rebuilding the Stable 44
Generation the Third 52
Pony Conventions Lead to Press Confusion 57
The Promenade to Equestria 62
The Worst News Ever 67

Part 3: Twilight’s Kingdom (Friendship Is Magic and Equestria Girls Reference Guide)
Season 1 76
Season 2 78
Season 3 and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls 80
Season 4 and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls—Rainbow Rocks 81
Season 5 and My Little Pony: Equestria Girls—Friendship Games 83

Part 4: The Foal Free Press (2010–2015)
Ultra-Feminine Yet Vinegary Ponies 86
Ponies: Harbingers of Even More Doom 87
Judging a Pony by Her Corporate Website 90
Yes, Really, Bronies Exist. Seriously. 95
Phantom Tea Parties, and Selling Toys to Young Girls Is Bad… 99
…Unless They’re Toys from ­Boy-Friendly Franchises 106
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Brony? 108
Hasbro Catches Up 121

Part 5: Battles of the Brand (2012–2016)
World War Derp, Part I: The Eyes of the Gray Mare 125
World War Derp, Part II: Muffins Triumphant 139
No (Equestria) Girls Allowed, Part I: ­Two-Legged Terror, and Daily v. Girls, Round 1 146
No (Equestria) Girls Allowed, Part II: Sunset Rising 162
No (Equestria) Girls Allowed, Part III: Daily v. Girls, Round 2 180

Future Twilight 196
Chapter Notes 199
Bibliography 226
Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A witty romp through the history of My Little Pony that any pony can enjoy, with helpful episode guides and references.”—Tara Prescott, editor of Neil Gaiman in the 21st Century
  • “Never in a million years did I think My Little Pony had anything to offer me as a feminist, activist or fangirl. I’ve been Pony-averse since childhood. Since reading Sherilyn Connelly’s hilarious, insightful and information-packed Ponyville Confidential, I’ve never been more excited to be proven wrong. Ponyville is Magic.”—Holly Payne, writer, creator, and producer of What Happened? on Comic-Con HQ