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I've been thinking about this for quite a bit but would like to see others opinions; would we like episodes in Season 7 that tackle more mature themes regarding sexuality and gender identification? I feel like the writers have shown that they have the ability to handle mature subjects well sometimes ("Tanks for the Memories" on grief) but also make really bad mistakes ("Do Princesses dream of Magic Sheep?" on depression). Either way, what do we think?

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Kids don't need gender identity politics and lessons in sexuality in their stuff. There's enough politically charged ideas/agendas out there and this would probably more than piss off parents that watch this alongside their kids. Entertainment is supposed to be an "escape" from the overall crappiness of our lives and the world around us - not a reminder.

 

In short, they can write some serious stuff from time to time. (You did provide some decent examples) The writers know there's an older audience, but it should ultimately be something the entire family can enjoy. Not something that prompts awkward q/a sessions with the family about controversial subjects. (Especially those that should remain on Tumblr.)

 

EDIT: If you want content pertaining to certain issues, or to just mess around - there's always Fanfiction or RP. 

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"Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" was more aimed at guilt and self-forgiveness than depression. It's amazingly brutal and appropriate for it (even if the ending is rushed).

 

As far as gender identity/sexual preferences, those would be amazing to see handled well in FiM. It may not seem like much, but having a character like you in a show can be pretty awesome. Man, growing up, it would have made a difference had there been some gay character in a show I liked who went through the same shit I did and came out awesome on the other side. Knowing it can get better would have made things a little more bearable.

 

So, yeah, bring on the topics.

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I think "Brotherhooves Social" kind of did something with it, with the judges saying they didn't mind that one of the participants was a transvestite, but they did mind that said transvestite was being a jerk and spoiled the gathering.

On a related note, I hate to be the guy to pee in the punch bowl, but I have to agree with DawnOfNoob that MLP:FiM is probably not an appropriate place for discussing gender identity.  Even if it was, given today's political climate, I doubt the current writers would be able to pull it off well.

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Only after they address incarcerated parents and chemical dependency.

 

But the whole thing also sort of boils down to: who is REALLY the target audience here? Is the show supposed to actually be for little children before their tween years even, with consideration to the older audience so they don't lose their mind. Or is it a tween-teen show? Because if the former then sexual identity and sex politics may be off in a show ultimately geared to someone who hasn't even learned to work their parts yet; hell if they know what they like, they just think the other gender as cooties. Arguably, it'd be more confusing for them to work that in than it would be to wait until they've finally figured out the question; can't answer the question if they don't have it.

 

On the other hand, tackling issues like incarceration, dependency, and some other life-areas would probably have more an impact. Sesame Street recognized that much with parents who are incarcerated, but we have to ask if the show is just trying to play follow-the-leader with Sesame Street. But a kid can connect with a character in the show if they're undergoing something much the same. Shit mang, I'd even go as far to suggest a story-line where a foal has to grapple with a parent being on deployment in the guards, or who has a parent that works too much at normal hours to even be present in their kid's life if you want to go the parent-child direction.

 

But per the pone show, the safest course of action may be to continue with cute poners doing cute poner things. The real fun challenge would be to work in any of the above in such a way that it's not being shoved down our throats.

 

On a related note: I remember somewhere - don't know where, will have to check later - that Equestria Girls was the spinoff that is supposed to be more geared towards the tween crowd; obviously it being highschool makes it an easy sell. So if you have to include even a major sub-plot involving gender and shit it'd be there as going ahead into Highschool is when the sexual politics begins. But you still can't have it go to the level of life studies, cute poner girls just ain't life studies mang.

 

Or you know what? Kill someone first.

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I don't believe that Big Mac was really being portrayed as a transvestite in that episode. I think that episode was about what lengths you are willing to go through because you love your family. He really wanted to spend time with Apple Bloom again.

I don't think it's right to push gender/sexuality politics on kids that haven't even gone through puberty.

 

 

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I was reading some posts in this thread and thinking about this. This is not a new conversation and I've seen it in other places as well. People seem to have a desire to see the cartoon grow a little more beyond its original goals. I think there are three things that shoot down the idea, but first, my personal opinion: I would praise the cartoon for doing something like this. Despite what people say, children that can understand right from wrong can also understand contextualized morality and fantastic settings. They certainly can understand that people are different and still should be respected, that you can co-exist despite differences, as long as the parents did their job of raising their kids properly. And this is the biggest problem.

 

Well then...

 

1. I don't know if the writers the show usually employs can handle it. From my point of view, the plot for an episode always falls apart as soon as it gets more complex than "Applejack told a lie" or "magical map wants us to go somewhere and fix an arbitrary problem". Usually it's because they ignore characters that should be involved or just remove them from the plot so that whatever character they want to "work" can do their thing. They usually do it in the simplest way possible, such as "the princesses got kidnapped" or "some magical artifact with the exact necessary attributes pops into existence for that particular episode". You can't do that with complicated relationships. I doubt the cartoon, within 22 minutes, will manage to portray all the stuff you need for the audience to understand the conflict without it looking oversimplified or out-of-the-blue (like Do Princesses Dream of Magical Sheep) or over-dramatized (like Tanks for the Memories). We love this cartoon, but the truth is that it's not as excellent as people like to make it seem.

 

2. I don't know if there is anything the cartoon can do with this idea. Suppose the cartoon portrays a same-sex couple. Then what? How would they insert it into the usual format without making a repeat of Bridle Gossip? If they just put it there and don't do anything with it, it means nothing.

 

3. It's a no-win situation. Because if they don't do anything with it, impart a meaning and moral about the subject, people are going to be pissed off because it didn't treat the subject with the required respect. If they do, then people are going to be pissed off because they're exposing kids to "stuff they shouldn't be exposed to". Actually, I think that if they just showed a couple in any way it would be enough for people to rage against it. The cartoon is made in Canada, but it's meant for an US audience. The cartoon is way too pandering to it's audience to even try anything like that, specially when half the country thinks that Donald Trump has the right idea.

 

TL;DR: would be nice but shouldn't be tried, won't happen.

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If the kids are too young for it, then chances are they may not "catch" the thing about sexuality.

Maybe have it more subtle enough that the bigger kids, from 12+ understands.
But not so much it turns into a standard biology class, it's a entertainment show, not school show.

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On 11/5/2016 at 4:42 PM, DawnOfNoob said:

Kids don't need gender identity politics and lessons in sexuality in their stuff. There's enough politically charged ideas/agendas out there and this would probably more than piss off parents that watch this alongside their kids. Entertainment is supposed to be an "escape" from the overall crappiness of our lives and the world around us - not a reminder.

I disagree. One of the most enthusiastic refrains from the Steven Universe fandom is that it is one of the few animated shows on TV that portrays "people like me," especially regarding orientation or gender identity.

Same-sex and gender issues are something kids pick up on in early adolescence. Simply not portraying a natural state of sexual orientation and pretending that everybody in a relationship is in a mixed-sex relationship (which is the default if you don't address SS issues upfront) gives people with different orientations the message that they're not normal and something is wrong with them. If the only models they have to relate to are models that do not fit them at all, how are they helped in understanding themselves? All my experience listening to the people who do go through is is that it doesn't help, it contributes to the confusion and stress of not being hetero or cis. That's not a healthy state for them, and it does nothing to help society at large come to grips with the mismatch between reality and our long-standing assumptions.

This isn't unique to Steven Universe. Since the 1970s, a little comic book series call X-Men has been doing the exact same thing in a slightly more abstracted way. By making "mutant" a literary substitute for gay, or black, or any other minority that struggles with social persecution because of some inborn characteristic, X-men had a strong and loyal following of appreciative young people that could finally find a pop culture outlet for their frustrations and see characters that understood how they felt. The X-Men offered them a fictional world in which there was a place of acceptance and a safe space from society at large, where people who were "different" were the stars of the show and their differences recognized as gifts rather than sins.

Basically, entertainment doesn't constitute an "escape" for the people who experience these issues because it doesn't offer them something meaningfully different from the world around them.

 

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11 hours ago, ABronyAccount said:

I disagree. One of the most enthusiastic refrains from the Steven Universe fandom is that it is one of the few animated shows on TV that portrays "people like me," especially regarding orientation or gender identity.

Same-sex and gender issues are something kids pick up on in early adolescence. Simply not portraying a natural state of sexual orientation and pretending that everybody in a relationship is in a mixed-sex relationship (which is the default if you don't address SS issues upfront) gives people with different orientations the message that they're not normal and something is wrong with them. If the only models they have to relate to are models that do not fit them at all, how are they helped in understanding themselves? All my experience listening to the people who do go through is is that it doesn't help, it contributes to the confusion and stress of not being hetero or cis. That's not a healthy state for them, and it does nothing to help society at large come to grips with the mismatch between reality and our long-standing assumptions.

This isn't unique to Steven Universe. Since the 1970s, a little comic book series call X-Men has been doing the exact same thing in a slightly more abstracted way. By making "mutant" a literary substitute for gay, or black, or any other minority that struggles with social persecution because of some inborn characteristic, X-men had a strong and loyal following of appreciative young people that could finally find a pop culture outlet for their frustrations and see characters that understood how they felt. The X-Men offered them a fictional world in which there was a place of acceptance and a safe space from society at large, where people who were "different" were the stars of the show and their differences recognized as gifts rather than sins.

 

 

There's doing it right and then there's shoving it down everyone's throats. They could probably get away with something subtle, like something/somepony in the background (like they've done before in a few ways) for older kids and up to find and point out - but it SHOULDN'T be the entire focus of an episode. It's a kid's show, after all. This is My Little Pony - not X-Men or Steven Universe. We are currently awaiting the SEVENTH season of this show - if they were going to make an episode focusing on this subject, they would have done so already. Could they still do it? Sure. But I personally feel that the opportunity to even try do so has long passed. 

 

Suddenly revealing someone to be gay or focusing a friendship problem around this would just be hollow/sloppy writing at this point. (especially if it involves a recurring character of some importance) It'd basically be tacking on a character trait that's unnecessary and limiting creative possibilities and potential character development in the future to emphasize the fact that X character is now and always has been gay. (complete with constant and forced reminders, which takes away from the story to again confirm that said character is gay. It just leads to bad writing for the sake of pandering.) Probably the thing I love most about this series is the writing - and that so many things are open to interpretation, leading to some interesting and diverse things to read in Fanfiction and RP - or to look at in fan art. 

 

You are free to disagree with me, but I feel that forcing an openly token gay character into MLP's show canon is PROBABLY a bad idea for its continued existence. As Aaron said earlier, just let the happy cartoon horses be happy cartoon horses. Let the mature themes congregate in Fanfiction, RP, and Fan Art. (Or watch something else that covers it. there's a LOT out there.)

 

 

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I'm not suggesting creating a token character. As the "leave it out" argument goes, there are a couple of underlying assumptions I disagree with.

1) Sexual orientation being a "mature" topic. Because in reality it manifests about as soon as boys and girls start "noticing" each other, which is just about within the age range of the show's target demographic.

2) Sexual orientation being a "political" topic. Coming from where I am on this, with a background as a well-informed person (though straight and cis), I just have a hard time understanding how simple reality and representativeness is supposed to be a "political" thing. That entire approach plays into the idea that e.g. homosexuality is some kind of controversy amenable to solving. It's not, it's a normal thing that happens and has no negative consequences. The negative consequences only arise as people do mental or emotional gymnastics to avoid acknowledging that it's a normal thing that happens with no negative consequences. For some people to be attracted to others of the same sex is as normal and natural as the Earth going around the sun. Pretending otherwise is like saying there's some controversy over whether the Earth goes around the sun.*

What it comes down to is this: avoiding any open representations of things like same-sex relationships is like telling kids that only heterosexuality is normal, and that in this idealized world we don't have to deal with it at all because it doesn't happen. In Equestria, everypony who falls in love does so with somepony of the opposite sex, and that's all we get. Intentionally leaving it out of the world is like saying it shouldn't be a part of that world, only hetero relationships count.

I know, I know. That's not how it's intended, but that's how it comes across when it's never brought up and the default type of relationship is hetero. That does nothing to help young viewers who are or will soon be experiencing something like attraction to the same sex cope with this fundamental part of themselves in a healthy; it does nothing to help young viewers who aren't gay or bi cope with the people they will soon know are gay or bi in a healthy way.

And a huge part of the reason this show exists in the form it does is to help young viewers better relate to others and themselves. It's a natural topic to broach and the potential benefits of handling it correctly could be big.

 

 

*Probably a bad example in a fictional world where the sun and moon are literally flown around the sky by magic.

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Aside from Rarity and Twilight, we've not really seen any indication of orientation for any of the mane cast. Even with them, there's room for bisexuality.

Assuming cutie marks appear roughly around the pony equivalent age to human puberty does put the CMC at the age where they're gonna start noticing ponies and feeling things. The door's wide open for one of them to struggle with sexuality and/or gender. There's the inner struggle of figuring it out and accepting it yourself and then the outer fears and doubts that come with coming out.

As far as things the show has already done, Scootaloo confessing her fears to Rainbow Dash in Sleepless in Ponyville was very analogous to coming out as gay. It's close enough that it shot that episode up to my top 5 once I made that connection.

 

Writing the whole thing off as "mature" or "political" doesn't help anyone. Some of us figure out we're different pretty early on. Personally, I figured out my interest in dudes around 6th grade, and all I knew was that it was bad. Having another perspective on it would have been very helpful. Just hearing that it was fine and the people who were hating on me over it were just a bunch of shitters would have made things more bearable.

To a certain extent, it's hard for me to argue this stuff because there's a disconnect in perspective. Like, straight people can't properly grok what it's like being gay (and I'm not trying to dismiss anyone or mean this negatively). You can know that growing up "different" is confusing and lonely and scary. You can know that being in the closet messes your head up the longer you stay in it. But you don't fully grasp it unless you've experienced it yourself. It makes it hard to explain how much comfort and strength you can draw from a hero or a favorite character who's gone through the shit you go through growing up gay or even just having that character tell you that it's okay to feel like you do and you're awesome and fuck the haters.

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On 05/11/2016 at 8:42 PM, DawnOfNoob said:

Kids don't need gender identity politics and lessons in sexuality in their stuff. There's enough politically charged ideas/agendas out there and this would probably more than piss off parents that watch this alongside their kids. Entertainment is supposed to be an "escape" from the overall crappiness of our lives and the world around us - not a reminder.

I couldn't agree more. Let's keep gender politics out of MLP. In fact, let's keep pretty much all gender based issues out of children's entertainment all together and not make children pawns in this silly battle between liberal and conservative extremists.

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On 12/11/2016 at 0:17 PM, ABronyAccount said:

I disagree. One of the most enthusiastic refrains from the Steven Universe fandom is that it is one of the few animated shows on TV that portrays "people like me," especially regarding orientation or gender identity.

Most of that actually comes from older teenagers and adult fans, and a lot of it comes from the US.
 

In my own country SU is being aimed at a younger audience because of it's bright colors and warm animation style. There was a single episode (There one where Ruby and Sapphire fight in the Keystone Motel) that had gender issues in it. The rest of the content was either modified or deleted entirely. Even Lars and Sadie's blatantly heterosexual content was deleted or modified. The scene between Ruby and Sapphire was (In my opinion) allowed to stay because Ruby looks and sounds like a young boy in my country.

Nobody here really noticed the "relationship" between Rose and Pearl because we have a less socially restrictive culture when it comes to pier bonding. Our censors are normally pretty strict (Many US shows are edited) but they left about 99% of the content for Rose and Pearl in because women can have that kind of relationship here without it being considered the same as a sexual relationship.

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