Last week I asked the Internet if there were more boys like Jasper out there – boys who love My Little Pony, unabashedly or otherwise. And I asked that if there were such boys – and I was certain that there would be – could their parents maybe, possibly, email me or message me privately to let me know, so that I could share it with Jasper.
My thinking was, maybe if he saw that there were other boys – younger, older, any age at all – who share his love for Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle and Applejack and friends, he would believe me when I said that My Little Pony is not just for girls, and that both boys and girls can and should like what they like and not worry about whether someone, somewhere, thinks that only certain kinds of kids should like certain types of things, because that’s crazy, right? I was looking for evidence, because Jasper is at an age when his mom telling him that something is ‘crazy, right?’ doesn’t count as a reliable citation. He wants PROOF.
So I asked the Internet for proof, and the Internet answered. Boy, did it answer.
I expected some responses. I mean, I know about Bronies, so I know that Jasper’s affection for My Little Pony is not gender-unprecedented. And I know that the types of parents that follow this blog or my social feeds are probably more likely to support or encourage play that ignores or defies gender stereotypes. So I expected some responses on Facebook and on Instagram and maybe a few emails.
I received hundreds of emails. From around the world. From parents and families and boys of all ages (including, yes, some from real grown-up Bronies.) With stories and photos and videos and messages for Jasper that all emphasized this core, crucial message: you are not alone. We love My Little Pony (and pink and sparkle and make-believe and so, so many things that the world says are just for girls) too. You are not alone.
We haven’t even been able to read all of them yet. We’re going through all of them, one by one, reading and then reading again and replying directly. We will reply to every single one of them, no matter how long it takes. If you haven’t heard back from me yet — you will. Every single message is precious and golden and cherished and is making the HUGEST difference for Jasper, who now considers every single boy whose story has been shared with him his good, good friend. (“CAN THEY COME TO OUR HOUSE MOMMY? I WANT TO INVITE THEM FOR A PLAYDATE.” Explaining that most of the boys in our inbox are nowhere near southern California – and that places like Great Britain and Shanghai are too far to just ‘go visit,’ but that you can still be friends with people in places that are too far to just go visit – has been a little challenging, but we’re getting there.) I promised to keep all the messages private, and I will; if I write more about this it will be about the common threads in the messages, how those messages have landed in our home, and (maybe) what I’ve learned through this. (I’m not sure what I’ve learned from this. It may be that there is/was nothing to learn. Not everything has to be a lesson.)
In the meantime: THANK YOU. I don’t even have better/ more thoughtful words than that. Just, thank you. From Jasper, and from me.