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From me to you, highlighting challenges faced by girls

Dear Daughters, Boys Don’t Like Ponies?

Dear Daughters,

boysdontlikeponies

We were very lucky to have had a special five-year-old visitor for two weeks. Mark loves Skylanders and everything superhero. He arrived in our house thinking My Little Ponies were only for girls…that is until he learned more about them.

Ironically during his visit the Happy Meal toys at McDonald’s were Skylanders and My Little Ponies. At first he chose Skylanders. When I inquired as to why he made that choice his reasoning was not because he liked Skylanders, it was “because ponies are for girls”.

So far Mark has been raised a lot like most North American children. He is a boy, so his friends and family tend to buy him the “boy toys” and “boy clothes” and encourage him to read “boy books” and watch “boy movies”. This has resulted in him knowing everything there is to know about superheroes and having an impressive collection of action figures and super hero t-shirts. The only thing he had learned about My Little Ponies up to this point was that they were a “girl toy”.

In our household you can find lots of pink but you can also find blue, green, orange, purple, etc. In our household you can find Disney Princesses and My Little Ponies but you can also find┬ádinosaurs and space stuff. My point is that although three little girls live in our household Mark could avoid pink and glitter and other “girly” things very easily. And at first he did because they were “for girls”. Once he looked at things for what they were, he starting choosing toys and activities based on the enjoyment factor and not on for what gender society deems them appropriate. You, my dear daughters, and Mark played with Skylanders AND My Little Ponies. You played ringette AND hockey. You ate off of pink plates AND blue plates.

Once Mark learned that My Little Ponies all had special powers he was hooked. He told me all about how Princess Luna raises the moon and the stars at night and how Princess Celestia raises the sun each morning. He told me all about the other ponies’ talents too. When he went shopping, Mark had his mom purchase him more Skylanders AND My Little Ponies. At McDonald’s he chose the My Little Pony toy over the Skylander toy. He was now saying, “Some boys don’t like My Little Ponies and some do.” He began requesting to watch My Little Pony and Equestria Girls on Netflix.

While Mark was here, he enjoyed an environment lacking societal messages. It was interesting to watch a whole new world open up to him.

When he was packing up to go home, he double checked that he hadn’t forgotten his My Little Ponies. He packed them in his carry on bag, beside his Skylanders, for the flight home. That was a couple of months ago though. He has since returned to an environment where societal messages are loud again. He has even been teased about his My Little Ponies. Sadly, I haven’t heard much about them from him anymore. Next time he visits he is welcome to play with them here.

 

While wearing his Iron Man t-shirt, Mark doesn’t shy away from headphones just because they are pink and bejeweled. Nor does he shy away from his pink dinnerware. He enjoyed making his Message in a Bottle necklace despite the packaging and in fact chose pink and purple beads over green and blue. They went better with his pink glitter and heart charm he said.

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