Gender assumption based on sex role stereotypes of a three-year-old watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

The title's a bit of a mouthful so I'll get right to the point: Natalie thinks that two of the six star Ponies in this show are dudes.

We're past the phase where she uses the wrong personal pronoun by mistake. She definitely understands genders. But no matter how often I remind her that all her ponies are girls, in her mind they are male, and she quietly insists on referring to them as such.

Pop quiz for anyone who watches the show! Which two are the boys? Write down your answer and then turn to the back of the book. Here are the "mane" characters (see what I did there?), their defining characteristics (from descriptions at, and Natalie's gender assessment.
  • Twilight Sparkle: dutiful and intelligent (female)
  • Applejack: dependable and hard-working (male)
  • Fluttershy: timid and caring (female)
  • Rainbow Dash: capable and athletic (male)
  • Pinkie Pie: playful and fun (female)
  • Rarity: beautiful and talented (female)
I don't have any deep analysis on this observation. It was just surprising to me that such a young kid would make this type of judgment based on (as far as I can tell) personalities and behavior that are traditionally considered masculine. The show itself is deeply feminist and I'm glad there are so many truly unique characters Natalie can relate to... so maybe it doesn't matter whether she thinks they're male or female.

OK, I lied. I did overthink it. I'd love to hear your opinion.

Things I bought during Buy-Nothing Month

  • 5 pairs of shoelaces (30 cents)
  • 1 box of Girl Scout Cookies ($3.50)
  • 1 plastic dinosaur ($1)
  • 1 Cadbury Creme Egg (<$1)
  • A fistful of quarters' worth of vintage gaming goodness ($?)
I spent less than $10 on personal stuff and got cash for my birthday (thanks mom-in-law!) so February was a net gain in disposable income.

It wasn't terribly difficult to curtail my purchases. On the other hand I didn't exactly buy nothing either, so I have extended the challenge until the end of Lent. Not spending money is fun?!

What time is it?

It's the Christian observance of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday! It's a forty-day period of fasting and prayer! Let's get excited about Lent!


For Christmas I got my brother this card game called Thunderstone. He likes it a lot. The goal is to venture ever deeper into a dungeon with your heroes, slaughtering monsters for points, and it ends when someone claims the eponymous stone from the bottom of the deck.

So I was looking at the art for the Thunderstone and I thought, "hey, I could probably carve that for reals." I was wrong. But I did manage to create something that looks sort of like it! I bought a "starter set" of tools and stones from Blick, learned about techniques online, and started carving.

Considering it's the first thing I have ever carved, I'm happy with the way it turned out. I gave it to Kevin for his birthday and I think he was happy. At least he was surprised!

A brand new coat of paint

When we moved in, our entire house was painted Realtor Beige, which was... okay... completely inoffensive, and I never thought about it. Jenna just painted some walls, and what a difference it makes!

Paisley got a room of her own (formerly the craft room) with two blue accent walls. Natalie got the full treatment with everything pink. Ever the contrarian, she took one look around and announced, "it looks the same."

Birthday Game-a-Bration

My little brother and I had our birthdays this week. Our celebrations combined into one big game day on Saturday. Kevin brought his fiancee and a friend to Rusty Quarters in Uptown, where I joined them for some retro arcade action.

This place is amazing. It stayed busy for the entire two hours we were there. And the clientele were as diverse as the Supercades of yore--from the toddler straining to reach the trackball for Crystal Castles, to the spiked-n-studded punk rock girl playing Tetris. I introduced the kids to Rampage and set a high score in Ms. Pac-Man. Kevin immediately smashed that one and beat the previous record-holder for Galaga.

Afterward we went to my parents' house and played Nexus Ops. I bought this board game on eBay with my Christmas money and it is awesome. This was followed by a few rounds of Flash Duel, my other brother's birthday gift to me (also awesome). To top it off, my parents gave me a copy of Survive: Escape From Atlantis! I'll have to bust that out at the next family game day.

Hearts & Hooves Day

This is what you get for Valentine's Day when you're married to a brony... if you're lucky. Last week I drew my daughters as ponies and now my wife gets the ponification treatment! Distinctive features are her glasses and favorite necklace.

I printed this out as a card for Jenna. Then I carved out a potato in the shape of a hoof and Natalie stamped it on the inside. You guys, I... I'm kind of in love with My Little Pony.

Formal Friday

Two more Fridays have passed and you know(?) what that means. Two more Formal Friday mugshots for your eyeballs. More guys from the office have been joining in but I cropped them out because this blog is all about me, me, me. Also to protect their privacy or whatever.

Difficult to see on left: white tie over checked green shirt.

Not pictured on right: purple socks. They complete the ensemble.

Pictured in both: the exact same expression. With the stupid head tilt and everything. I guess I need some new looks. I guess I need to work on my blue steel.

Punkin' Pickin'

Still catching up from last year.

My Little Ponies

I drew my daughters as fillies based on ideas from Natalie. She wanted to be a unicorn so that she could do magic. Paisley is a baby pegasus pony. I stole the background image.

What colors did she want to be? "Pink! And maybe blue or something?"

I showed her the finished picture and Natalie said, "I am saying, 'WHO are YOU?'" That's basically what I was going for. Fatherhood is magic.

Buy-Nothing Update

Buddha as Ascetic, Kawagoe, Japan

The picture-drawing part of buy-nothing month is over. Half my reason for doing this is to stop the cycle of "shopping thoughts" that have plagued me since wish-list season began last December. The culprit became clear on the first official day of the experiment.

I love Pinterest, it's a lot of fun, but it wasn't doing me any favors on my quest for a clear mind and a healthy bank account. Once I stepped out of that echo chamber of consumerism nearly all my envy fuel evaporated. There was nothing left to draw. So I quit.

This hasn't changed my plans for saving money, though. I'm still not going to buy anything for myself in February (maybe longer?). It is just not a big deal anymore.