I run a clothing store for ageplayers and adult babies on etsy. Unsurprisingly there is some overlap between ageplayers and adult fans of the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (MLP). I regularly got requests for MLP themed clothing in my shop, but since no MLP fabric has been available since the 1990’s it was difficult for me to find a solution. Eventually a very smart customer found a solution for me, and using the ideas he provided I made him a few items and then listed them in my etsy shop. The new items were a huge success! The first customer posted some photos that got a lot of attention on Fetlife, and orders for more of them flowed in.
Except there was a problem. My customers enthusiastically flooded my inbox with questions that I did not have answers for. They asked if I could make them from characters other than the “mane six” and if the cutie mark for Luna would include “splotches” and other questions that sounded like gibberish to me. See, I had never seen a single episode of MLP. I didn’t know a single thing about the show.
I didn’t want to. The reason was actually kind of simple: MLP is a girl’s show. I LOVE kids stuff, but my kid’s stuff love is very distinctly directed towards boy stuff. Gender neutral stuff is good too. But after a childhood full of being expected to be into girl stuff and adulthood full of worrying that any feminine interests may make people not take my gender identity seriously I found myself resistant to showing interest in something so clearly identified as a show for little girls.
The thing is, I’ve mostly moved beyond defining interests as masculine or feminine. I try not to let those ideas influence my adult interests. I sew constantly (it is my job after all) and crochet. I wear kilts regularly, which are great for screwing with people’s ideas of gendered clothing. I even wear underwear under them, because fuck chafing for some dumbass macho tradition. My reading, music, and movie interests are all over the map. I THOUGHT I was beyond this stuff.
Plus, MLP has a huge male following. Most of my customers who wanted MLP items were men. Yes, it is a way for those men to express a feminine or gender queer interest… but still, what was my problem?
So I started watching the show. I did so incredibly defensively. I was just watching so I could understand my customers. I wasn’t going to actually LIKE it. Definitely not. I even tweeted about it when I started, mocking myself and the show.
Tonight I started the second season. I have watched 29 episodes in about a month. I have made excuses and blustered about it, but that stops now. I like the show. I like it a little more than most cartoon shows I’ve watched, but not as much as Scooby Doo. I like it even though it’s a “girl show.” I can like it and still be a guy. I can like it and still be a masculine guy.
It bugs me that I am still letting culture’s ideas of “boy things” and “girl things” influence me so much. I WANT to let that go, but it’s hard. I’m still scared of people thinking my identity isn’t valid because I am interested in some traditionally feminine stuff. It’s bullshit, but it’s part of my life.
I like My Little Pony. I am a masculine guy. That’s okay, and I’m going to learn to be okay with it.