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Reload the Canons!

This series of articles is an attempt to play through The Canon of videogames: your Metroids, your Marios, your Zeldas, your Pokemons, that kind of thing.

Except I'm not playing the original games. Instead, I'm playing only remakes, remixes, and weird fan projects. This is the canon of games as seen through the eyes of fans, and I'm going to treat fan games as what they are: legitimate works of art in their own right that deserve our analysis and respect.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Little Feminist: Cartoons are Magic

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has done more for the cause of feminism than anything else in the last ten years.

Wait, no, hold on, let me say that again, because I doubt the absurdity of that statement has really sunk in.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has done more for the cause of feminism than any writer, artist, theorist, activist, or anything or anyone else in the Last. Ten. Years.

I sure hope somebody was shocked by that, because otherwise this is going to be a really freaking boring article. In fact, I'm really hoping your keyboard is covered in coffee that just spewed forth from your mouth in shock. Listen, I've had a trying day and I'm feeling vindictive. But let me go ahead and put my money where my mouth is. And by money I mean overblown prose, because I'm not made of cash.

Let's rewind to some of the basic causes of feminism. Generally speaking, feminism in its modern incarnation is largely concerned with both the physical realities of inequality--whether it be the physical reality of violence or the monetary reality of the continuous economic disenfranchisement of women--and the cultural and psychological impact that our patriarchal, heteronormative society has upon both women and men. Lately there've been quite a number of truly worthy movements--from the slutwalks to the outpouring of support for Planned Parenthood--adding strength to the existing campaigns against violence and inequality. It's tough at times, what with the newsosphere largely proclaiming Mission Accomplished, 1 but generally the movement has continued to make progress in the world.

There's one cause that feminists have never really managed to achieve, though. One victory that has ever eluded us.

And that is the cause of making girl stuff cool, too. In particular, the cause of making girl stuff cool without simply reinforcing particular gender roles for women. After all, it's difficult to say, "Cooking can be really fun," when there are people seemingly crouched by (in? under?) the eves ready to bellow, "...Because women belong in the kitchen!"

I think this comes largely from the priorities of the early modern movement. There's always been a sense running through feminist rhetoric of "everything you can do we can do too" or, hell, better even, maybe. And that's a great, important rhetoric to have when your whole argument is that women and men should be equal. But the problem with that--and this is, let me make clear, in no way a criticism of the feminist movement so much as it is an observation of a fundamental rhetorical limitation--is that it reinforces the idea that what everyone should be aspiring to is boy things.

Then, of course, there's the fact that a lot of stuff marketed towards boys just has traditionally been, well, cooler, and often better put together. Do not ask me why this is the case. But for whatever reason, there just isn't a crossover market for a lot of stuff targeted for girls, even though there is a weird unexpected crossover market for boy's media. (And marketed in a rather patronizing way, as TV Tropes points out.) Hell, look at the dumb toy commercial shows of the 80s and 90s. A lot of the boy's shows, despite being toy commercials, are still remembered fondly. This nostalgia has provided us with the modern horror of Michael Bay movies. But I'm really struggling to remember any girl's shows from the period, partly because I honestly didn't watch a lot of TV but partly because, well, girl stuff just wasn't particularly interesting for the most part. 2

This is the point where I'm floundering a bit because I'm honestly not a historian of cartoons. But either way, the prevailing wisdom has been that girl's stuff can't be cross marketed. And that prevailing wisdom has collided with the rhetorical feminist strategy of "we are worthy of boy stuff too" to lead to a devaluation (if it ever had value in the first place--a lot of "women's work" has been devalued since the Industrial Revolution moved certain types of work outside the home into factories) of Stuff For Girls.

Enter My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This show, due to its large tertiary demographic, has succeeded in breaking out of its demographic box and existing as a cross-appreciated, albeit not explicitly cross-marketed, work. This, to me, is hugely revolutionary for a number of reasons.

For one thing, it means that girl stuff isn't inherently stupid to a lot of the guys that like the show. I suspect rather strongly that, by extension, girls might seem a little less inherently stupid too, which is always a good thing. But this strikes me as an important step towards greater acceptance of boys liking "girly" things. It is becoming quite a bit more acceptable for girls to do things like wear boy clothes (although even girl pants tend to be weird lobotomized versions... ever noticed how hard it is to find women's clothes with pockets? Yeah) but for a guy to wear a skirt? Probably not going to go over too well. This makes sense from the Anything You Can Do rhetorical environment: after all, guys have the cool stuff; it makes sense that girls would want to get in on the action. What My Little Pony suggests is that it's ok for guys to get in on the girl stuff as well.

Furthermore, the show provides a great range of female characters for people to follow and empathize with, from the tomboyish Rainbow Dash to the fashion-obsessed artiste Rarity to the quiet friend to all the little animals Fluttershy. And despite the fact that Fluttershy is clearly the best, they all get fairly equal time in the show and their characters and motivations are all complex and well fleshed out.

This means that there is no default way of performing femininity or masculinity in the show. There are just a whole bunch of different characters. Kinda like (this is the part where I blow your mind) real life, huh? And since there is no judgment placed upon the personality types and interests the characters represent (despite their periodic personality conflicts) the viewer isn't pushed to like or empathize with one over another. I ended up empathizing most strongly with the members of the cast that display either "feminine" or introverted characteristics (or both): the bookish workaholic Twilight Sparkle, the nervous and somewhat agoraphobic Fluttershy, and the obsessive aesthete and fashionista Rarity.

In fact, the characters could perhaps be seen as fitting together on a scale that looks something like this:

We Call It... THE PONY WHEEL!
Interestingly, I think you could probably use the same positionings to generate another of oppositions: the order of Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy vs the chaos of Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash, Practicality vs Ornament, and so on. A lot of the more conflicting relationships tend to be on opposite sides of the chart, interestingly enough. However, as I said before, the different aspects here are not privileged over one another. There is, despite Twilight's seemingly central role, no single protagonist.

This is perhaps the greatest key to the whole project, and the final thing that makes it so revolutionary. What this show argues, simply by existing, is that girls deserve well designed media, too. Lauren Faust, the show's mastermind and one of a few individuals now virtually deified, 3 realized that if she made a damn good show, other people outside the original demographic would watch it. I have to wonder how much of this was planned in advance. However intentional it is, it sure does make a clear point that it's much, much easier to say that girl stuff is cool, too when the girl stuff is actually cool, too.

All of this means that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has done something few other things have managed in American culture. It's made it ok to like being a girl, no matter who you are.

And that is truly something magic.

I wrote this article while listening to "Bitches" by Mindless Self Indulgence on repeat, at 11PM. My life is strange. As always, feel free to leave comments, complaints, or, best of all, your own interpretations, or e-mail me at keeperofmanynames@gmail.com . And, if you like what you've read here, share it on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Xanga, Netscape, or whatever else you crazy kids are using to surf the blogoblag these days.


1 We tend to prematurely declare things finished here in America. My European readers may, in fact, quote me on that, in any context.

2 The only one that's really bubbling up in my mind is Totally Spies. I can still remember their idiotic valley girl affectations. Excuse me while I go lobotomize myself with a spoon, y'all. What-evar.

3 Literally virtually deified, actually.


UPDATE ON 1/12:

This has hit Reddit, thanks to my good friend and guest contributor Ian McDevitt. Hello Reddit! I've been reading the commentary there and have a few responses to all of your input:
  1. Yup, I am, in fact, a guy. I do wear skirts, though.
  2. Those of you pointing out that I don't delve into the plots much are exactly correct. That was, to some extent, a conscious decision on my part. I wanted to explore this topic from a perspective that I hadn't really seen anywhere else. This is the reasoning behind focusing on the roles in the show rather than the actions: sure, all the ponies can defeat dragons and David Bowie-referencing cavedwellers, but what interests me is the roles they play. Contrast with the aforementioned Totally Spies--a godawful show, to be sure, but problematic not just in its terrible writing and hideously oversaturated colors but also in the roles the characters take.

    They are all the same character.

    Now, if I was analyzing their actions alone from a feminist perspective, in a way the show is good. It's girls kicking ass! Cool! But the problem is, not only do they all kick ass in exactly the same way, their everyday life is also identical. There is very little way of determining a favorite based on distinct personalities because they all share the same interests, the same speech pattern, the same clothing style, and so on.

    The difference with My Little Pony is that the characters all have distinct interests and personalities that can be easily summarized (they're iconic in personality as well as being, as I've pointed out before, iconic in color) while not coming across as stereotypical.

    So, one of the revolutionary qualities, to me, is the fact that A. it's popular and B. it has a varied set of personalities that are all presented as equally valid forms of femininity.
  3. On the other hand, the action in the show is great. Like I said earlier, there's a reason why it was so appealing: it's really well put together, barring a few episodes here and there. So, yes, I'm probably going to have to do another article eventually about the narrative structure. Will it be what people are asking for on Reddit? Mmm, probably not, since I tend to have a super structuralist approach to art. I like delving beneath the skin to the bones of what holds stuff together. But for what it's worth, People Of Reddit, I agree with you: this article is just the start, and I do need to explore these ideas in more detail. I frankly was not expecting to have so many people find it in such a short amount of time.

    Nice to have you here, though, and I hope to see you around in the future!
UPDATE ON 1/13:

I said this in the comments as well, but I don't want people to miss it.

Thanks to everyone who read the article, and especially thanks to those of you who took the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it, even if I didn't reply directly to you. It's great to know that there are so many other intelligent people out there on the Blogoblag.

Big wag of my finger, though, to that guy on the Ctrl Alt Del forum who thought this article made no sense because, and I quote, "I really do think that most people watch my little pony ironically for a laugh."

Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

And you folks are the best.

Hope you stick around for a while. I'll be revisiting this topic eventually, I'm sure...

    49 comments:

    1. Awesome read! I was discussing this last week, but you summed it up far more eloquently than I did.

      ReplyDelete
    2. Twilight-AppleJack-RainbowDash-Rarity-Fluttershy-PinkiePie-Spike-Celestia-Luna-DoctorWhooves-DerpyWhooves is the smartest, cutest, and all-around best pony.

      Another brilliant post, my good man. As I said when you first mentioned this to me over a month ago, spot on. I also love the Pony Wheel.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Sorry it took so long to get from concept to the metaphorical presses...

        Delete
    3. i see, I'm an introvert who likes the most extrovert.

      ReplyDelete
    4. "I frankly was not expecting to have so many people find it in such a short amount of time."

      Now that you're on Equestria Daily's Nightly Roundup, expect even more of an explosion of views and possibly comments.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I could tell when it went up from the sudden massive spike in views. My head is still spinning.

        Delete
    5. "And despite the fact that Fluttershy is clearly the best."

      You made many good points in the article, but out of all of them, this was the best. Sorry, I can't help it. She is just that much the best. Also, this got posted on Equestria Daily, so you might get a lot more traffic.

      ReplyDelete
    6. This was wonderful. And glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks feminism tends to consist of "girls can do guy things too!" and not "hey, girls are awesome!"

      I definitely enjoyed this article and oh man, that pony wheel was quite awesome.

      ReplyDelete
    7. As a male feminist--I know, we really are far too rare, even nowadays--I must say I enjoyed reading this, and feel I agree with every point it makes. I was linked here from the MLP fansite Equestria Daily.

      I'm going to share this article elsewhere. It's too good to go unread.

      ReplyDelete
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      1. I disagree. I don't think male feminists are particularly rare, but at the same time, I don't think most of them would even realize they were feminists. Many people see equality as something obvious and self-evident, and don't realize how many don't share that same view.

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      2. Possibly. All I know is that whenever I bring up the subject with others, even those who ostensibly talk about equality, they look at me as if I'm mad, as if being a male feminist were somehow impossible.

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      3. I think part of that is the fact that when a lot of people hear the term feminist, what they think of is "radical, angry, misandrist".

        Delete
      4. I know quite a few male feminists, and I still sense this attitude sort of drifting through our culture. It's pretty unfortunate.

        Someone on Reddit, I think, made an interesting point about whether Bronies actually are feminists. I think it's like Tylendal says: a lot of them are, but I'm not sure they realize it.

        Thanks for sharing the article, Kyronea. I really appreciate it.

        Delete
      5. I think it's more that you can't self-promote as a male-feminist without looking illegitimate (the reasons are sound, it's hard to understand when you are not a woman). You have to have other people describe you as one.

        Delete
    8. What always boggles me is why haters insist on saying "it's a girl's show". What makes something intrinsically a show for girls, other than societal norms that are imposed, telling them, teaching them "this is what you're supposed to like". In fact, writing this, I now am remembering back in Kindergarten, talking about which colours were boys colours, which colours were girls colours, and which ones didn't matter. I remember thinking, even back then, that the idea of pink being a girls colour didn't make any sense. I believe the consensus we reached was because girls bedrooms were pink, and that's why pink was a girls colour. At the time, I decided pink would be my favorite colour, just to be contrary. (Of course, now being older and wiser, I know that purple is superior to all other colours.)

      ReplyDelete
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      1. hater: 'It's a girl's show' <-stereotypes not broken
        response: 'No; it's the manliest show ever' <-stereotypes not broken

        what the response should be: 'So What? It's good' <-stereotypes demolished and left to die

        Delete
      2. I picked yellow as my favorite color because no one else did... I wasn't exactly the best adjusted child. >_>

        And yeah, it's amazing how most of the arguments boil down to, "But... it's My Little Pony, man, come on!"

        Delete
      3. I disagree completely. Purple is a terrible colour invented by the '80's to make cars and winter jackets look horrible. It is only ever palatable when paired with superior colours like pink and white, or diluted in navy blue. I'm not sure what kind of anti-fashion devil has possessed you, good sir, but I pray that God has mercy on your tacky soul.

        Delete
    9. Thoughtful, amusing article. The "Pony Wheel" was a surprisingly successful explanatory device, too... you could probably clean up if you put it on a t-shirt (I'd buy one!).

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Haha, glad you like it. I'll have to seriously consider giving that a try...

        Delete
      2. Also consider the idea that the characters are designed with advantages and flaws, that have universal appeal. It's like the characters were tailor made as mental Velcro for anyone feeling "downtrodden". The creator discuss such things here.

        http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/09/exclusive-season-1-retrospective.html

        I best such a visual graphic could get really interesting.

        Delete
    10. Damn good article and damn good music taste you have there sir!

      Keep on rocking, although of course "Fluttershy" is not how you spell Rainbow Dash~

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    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    12. Great, great post. I thought this statement was flat-out brilliant.

      "There's one cause that feminists have never really managed to achieve, though. One victory that has ever eluded us.

      And that is the cause of making girl stuff cool, too."

      No greater joy then seeing someone articulate so well what you've been struggling to put into words.

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    13. Whenever I hear some brony saying 'dude this show is the manliest thing ever!'
      I wince. The truth is, it's girly: but it's girly in a good way. All they're doing is showing that the association that manly=good, girly=bad hasn't been broken for them yet. So it's not ideal, but we're getting somewhere at least. Progress is rarely quick or easy.

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    14. Great, great article. You eloquently put what I've been trying to explain to those around me about this show.

      ReplyDelete
    15. I really enjoyed the article, especially the Pony Wheel. As a guy who has been watching what people have called 'girly shows' my entire life (Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Powerpuff Girls) I'm glad more have taken to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For once I don't feel isolated in my tastes.

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      1. You know, I totally forgot Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura (Haha, I remember when it was called Cardcaptors and was a terrible dub on Kids WB). Still, I think it's interesting that those shows (besides Powerpuff Girls, which is another thing Faust was involved with) come from Japan. I wonder if that's why the Anime fan community seems more generally accepting of periphery demographics.

        Incidentally, have you seen Madoka Magica? If not, I highly recommend it.

        Delete
    16. When you made the stab at kitchen jokes it reminded me of an experience I had all the way back in High school. It was a school rally to improve "spirit." The theme was gender wars. I don't remember who won or even any of the events, but what stuck with me was during that first meeting, they separated us by gender. Then they got us riled up and two chants were born. The males started with: "Make me a sandwich." The females replied with: "You ain't getting none." When I actually realized what everyone was saying, I had to laugh. Because there was no other feasible response. This was done in a public school mind you. That single meeting probably stunted feminism in the majority of the attendees back to the 1940's.

      ReplyDelete
    17. Inafter brony onslaught.

      Fluttershy is best pony, you say? This is best article.

      But in all seriousness, that wheel-chart is mind-blowing. Speaking entirely as a fan of the show, you've set them up into oppositional dichotomies of personality in the most fantastic manner. I've been considering the characters in ways like that since I started watching, but this might be the most holistic view of them yet.

      Sorry not to gush over the actual content of your article (it's great, seriously!), I just really like graphics.

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      Replies
      1. No, no, gush away! I love doing this sort of graphic design work, so it's wonderful to hear that it's appreciated. I honestly hope people steal the chart and spread it around. I would love to see it used elsewhere if people find it interesting.

        The funny thing is, the chart was an afterthought that I threw in because it seemed like an interesting idea. The more I think about it, though, the better it works, especially since a lot of the conflicts do play out in the show based on the qualities in the chart (Twilight's conflict with Pinkie Pie is one of order vs chaos, or fun vs studiousness, whereas conflicts between Rainbow Dash and Applejack are conflicts who who can better occupy that top spot of what we might call "masculinity", and so on)

        Delete
    18. Your logic is clearly flawed, dear sir. Pinkie Pie is best pony. jokes aside this is a great and eloquent article.

      ReplyDelete
    19. Wonderful article, but Applebloom is best pony.

      ReplyDelete
    20. "And despite the fact that Fluttershy is clearly the best."

      This guy knows what's up.

      But in all seriousness, good read. I personally don't even think about equality, seeing as my mind doesn't think of inequality as a thing any more unless something is shown to me stating otherwise, in which case I become a heavy advocate.

      I'm probably guilty of a little "MLP is manly as hell," but I think it should be said that I use it less it to delineate the show from girlishness, but more just to confuse others. I mean really, a show with "Friendship is Magic" as its subtitle cannot really be "manly," by very definition. The thing it does though is it makes other people wonder, makes them ask themselves "how can a male possibly think that is manly? Maybe I should watch it, if only just to prove him wrong." And thus, another person becomes exposed to the friendship.

      And oh my, don't remind me of Totally Spies...

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      1. It's easy to miss the fact that inequality still exists, especially if it's inequality that doesn't affect you. I think everyone has to deal with that in some form or another.

        And yeah, there's something to be said for just messing with people's heads. I'm not sure it solves the world's problems, but at least it's a source of profound entertainment.

        Delete
    21. "and the obsessive aesthete and fashionista Rarity."

      At first I read "aesthete" as "athlete" and was like "Huh? That's not Rainbow Dash!" Then I looked at the spelling again and realized it was a word I hadn't seen before, so I looked it up: A person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty.

      The More You Know!™

      ReplyDelete
    22. Thanks to everyone who read the article, and especially thanks to those of you who took the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it, even if I didn't reply directly to you. It's great to know that there are so many other intelligent people out there on the Blogoblag.

      Big wag of my finger, though, to that guy on the Ctrl Alt Del forum who thought this article made no sense because, and I quote, "I really do think that most people watch my little pony ironically for a laugh."

      Oh well. You can't win 'em all.

      And you folks are the best.

      Hope you stick around for a while. I'll be revisiting this topic eventually, I'm sure...

      ReplyDelete
    23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    24. I attend a woman's university for graduate school and consider myself an ardent feminist. I got a link to this from a fellow graduate student/teacher aide in Canada. I have long been singing the praises of My Little Pony in my graduate seminars. I even have Rainbow Dash as the wallpaper on my school laptop.

      ...oh and everyone knows Rainbow Dash is the bestest pony. I don't know, after all that accuracy, how you could have totally screwed that one up. ;P

      ReplyDelete
    25. I am not sure how I would approach this. I have to confess I do like girly things things a la certain Mouthless Cat. Yes I been a Hello Kitty fan for a few years. I do not see it as a triumph of feminism but but a triumph of self expression.

      ReplyDelete
    26. You know, I hate blogs. I FUCKING hate blogs. Most of them are off opinions or experiences that don't have much to back them up or something. It's hard to explain but I never give them much thought because I don't care.

      But your article...fucking amazing. I LOVE MLP. My friends make fun of me because it's a "kids show", but none of them know how it's helped with my depression. All of the characters I can relate to. I don't feel "genderlized". I feel as though it doesn't matter that they're female. They're just being themselves. And it gives me a bit of courage. My real friends will accept me for my kooky Pinky Pie tendencies. Or my fashion loving Rerity side.

      Good blog man. I will be reading this again.

      ReplyDelete
    27. I should be working on my paper, you know, but instead I wanted to read a MLP blog.

      I think MLP:FIS is a much bigger step in equality than many people now realize. There are few guys, which is a pity, but I can deal with it because there are so many guys shows already.

      What I also like about the show is that Rarity and Apple Jack actually have jobs. I mean - real jobs. They go with a passion, responsibility, and in the case of Rarity with ambitious. Both pony have been shown to be overworked, to accept the help from friends and listen to their advice. I think the portrayal of work makes their jobs more realistic than Totally Spies, Powerpuff Girls, etc., which all seemed a bit more like superheroes work to me.

      You rocked this article and the graph of the ponies personalities!

      I think Fluttershy and Apple Jack are both best ponies, but after season 1 I love all of them. My favorite colour is both yellow and orange - both least popular colours I guess, but I just really like them.

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      1. Technically, ALL of them have jobs except Twilight Sparkle, who seems to be kind of the equivalent of a grad student. I agree, it definitely adds something to the show. Great point.

        And thanks for reading :)

        Delete
    28. A.T. says: Twilight is the Ponyville librarian/archivist, since that's where she, Spike and Owlowiscious live. Surely one of the most underused public libraries in history...

      The show has done nothing for feminism. MLP:FIM has only given 'pink' voice to modern patriarchy and validate the new generation's old boys network. Lauren Faust was hired to deliver that voice, but by Season 3 the show has drifted into some kind of Simpson's clone, or something. Whatever it is, its a bunch of guys and female hangers-on praising themselves in a borrowed hip feminine voice.

      Take a look at S1, Ep. 21, Over a Barrel, written by a guy, directed by guys, with old-school conservative patriarchal bigotry against aboriginals and liberals. Talk about inequality. The Bison do not face going hungry like the ponies, so are jerks for wanting to smash down all that pony hard work for stampede space. The land WAS stolen but theft is never made into a convincing argument. Conflict ends only after Chief Thunderhooves decides he likes pony pies and accepts the orchard.

      The Mane 6 were nagging everyone to be nice and getting in the way of resolution, not their usual empowered problem solving selves, but nagging women of the patriarchal tradition. Nor could they present the obvious solution of a path through the orchard, because only Chief Thunderhooves could absolve colonialism by making it his idea to embrace it.

      Bison are such unidimensional noble savages, no Bison/Aboriginal women appear to help viewers identify with bison society, except Little Pocahontas er, I mean Little Strongheart. That's the modern conservative attitude towards aboriginal rapprochement; those 'damn injuns' should be grateful and those 'damn liberals' and annoying feminists should just shut up, all said so politically pony-cute correctly.

      By the end of season 3, its whoopee cushions (a universal gaffe going where not even the risque Henson would go) and Groucho Marx glasses. How would an honest woman's creative voice dominating the show have presented the story? Would Twilight have been a secret alicorn prince(ess) all along or remained a true unicorn?

      We'll never know. We'll just hear a bunch of guys in feminist drag and pink voice drenched in emotional sentimentality cashing in on Faust's girl-talk formula. Its the biggest patriarchal scam ever, fooling even young guys into thinking they are listening to authentic women.

      Feminism is first about equality of voice, and it was nice to hear, albeit briefly, what women had to say about girlhood and the universal resonance of friends and growing up. Not what the back room boys of the past and present had to say about it. The genuineness of that voice was done by the last quarter of S1. There have been faint echoes growing fainter ever since leaving only tales by an idiot, full of sweet-talk and sentimentality signifying a rude 'gotcha!' in the end.

      The task for feminism now is to retake its own narrative; no easy task given the lack of practice in and resources for expressing an independent feminine voice on the mass popular stage.


      ReplyDelete
    29. Hey, I just found your site, and this article is really interesting! I'm not so sure I agree with the notion that the show also encourages "guys to get in on the girl stuff", though, at least not directly. We don't really see male characters across the spectrum of what we would consider "masculine" and "feminine" behaviors in the same way we see the main characters. (Though, I don't know, Spike could qualify in the later seasons, perhaps?)

      Really, what I took from the show myself was that A: being a girl is in fact awesome and B: you can do pretty much whatever you'd like with it. I never really felt like it was commenting on masculinity along with femininity, though it did bring a smile to my face to see guys taking to the show back when it was really gaining momentum. I agree with you on pretty much everything else here about the show - Fluttershy is indeed the best pony. :)

      ReplyDelete
    30. Still making the rounds! After getting in a GRAND old debate about the feminist qualities (or lack thereof) of Frozen, this was brought to my attention. I am gonna start picking up episodes. You may have converted a new Brony. Keep your fingers crossed!

      Regardless, thank you for writing this. It's definitely compelling.

      ReplyDelete

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