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Some time ago, I attended a short seminar on post feminism. The speaker, an Indian woman, defined post feminism as “the idea that you can be a strong, independent, free-thinking woman…and still be girly.”
I believe this describes My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic perfectly.
We have a main cast of six very cute ponies, all with distinct personalities. Yes, the ponies are very feminine. Even tomboy Rainbow Dash. Yet they all show a strength of character and they all have different motivations. For instance, take Rarity. She’s very traditionally “female” – she likes fashion and fantasizes about meeting the perfect stallion. However, she doesn’t follow trends – she makes them. She is an artist who takes pride in her work. Rarity is feminine to the extreme, but she is still a strong woman who thinks for herself. Applejack is similar. She focuses on family, an idea that might typically be looked on as anti-feminist. However, she’s also revered as a great athlete and a shrewd businesswoman. Applejack and Rarity may be feminine, but that doesn’t mean they’re weak and helpless.
Our (American) culture seems to think that a “strong” woman is a man with boobs. Not so! My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic teaches young girls that there are lots of different ways to be strong. It’s okay to like pink and makeup. It’s okay to like fashion. Being “strong” isn’t about pretending you aren’t a girl. You can be successful, independent, and girly too. Frankly, the idea that one has to be masculine to be strong is sexist in itself.
The animation is delightful, the stories well written, and the voices are perfect. Sure, this is a girls’ show. But it has themes and stories that everyone can enjoy (thus the whole 4chan debacle). My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic teaches little girls not only about friendship, but about who they are as growing women. It has lessons for adult women too. Too often we’re told that “strong” women can’t wear dresses, can’t have families, can’t like makeup. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic gives us six truly strong women who like those things and aren’t ashamed. The ponies of Ponyville embrace their femininity and still manage to beat bad guys.
A great show, a great message. Well worth watching.
Well said. I especially loved "The Dog And Pony Show" for this, where Rarity was totally able to look after herself by using her wits, not kicking anyone into a wall (not that's a bad thing, just more suitable for Applejack or Rainbow Dash). I also thought Spike being treated with respect and not "eww, chivalry is awful" was a nice touch.
I'm curious, how do you figure Rainbow Dash is feminine? I first really saw her in a clip from the beginning of "Sonic Rainboom", interacting with Fluttershy, and after some confusion decided Dash was probably a young male, even though I wasn't expecting to see one. Without pronouns to tip one off and without knowing the rules of sexual dimorphism for the characters, that is how she appears. There is nothing stereotypically feminine (I don't think there is any femininity or masculinity other than stereotypical, because what would that mean?) about her personality either.
That's what I like, the variety in spite of nearly everyone being female. Dash has "male" features in just about every respect except cosmetically, and to notice even that you need contextual knowledge. Applejack I see as neutral on the surface — as in, you can't tell which gender she is by looking (or listening to her voice) — and more masculine than feminine personality-wise (Family? Mainly through work), but with some femininity at least, unlike Dash who just hasn't got any. Pinkie Pie and Twilight are cosmetically feminine, but their personalities are neutral in respect to "gendered" features (except maybe to the extent that Genki Girl might feel more natural than Keet). Rarity and Fluttershy are very feminine, although in different ways. And they're all strong in their own ways... But they're not all feminine, and that's a good thing too.
Rainbow dash and applejack are tomboys.Thats why they have male traits. I'am Just saying.
@VVK: Dash does have some feminine traits, we just rarely see them (unless she's being a fangirl).
But yeah, I agree with you.
I agree with everything you say.
I am male, and a feminist (I like to think) who believes that there is no wrong way to be a girl. I mean, as long as you're not crazy or a serial killer, obviously. Fluttershy and Rarity are perfect examples to me. Yeah, they're arguably the most girly of the six, but they still show amazing character traits. They're kind, generous, respectful, and that's great! I much prefer this over the idea that a woman is only independent if she's 'stone cold' and a 'bitch.'
I don\'t—-what— this isn\'t the point of the show. Look at the best episodes, they don\'t talk about this at all. Their lessons are about friendship and it doesn\'t matter what gender they are, their morals could still apply. Imagine Party For One with dudes instead, it still would\'ve been effective with an optimistic dude going crazy over his friends not celebrating his birthday. Or Canterlot Wedding with a group of heroes trying to stop the malicious Chrysalis. It. Wouldn\'t. Matter. You\'re missing the point of MLP. They\'re not saying \"you can be girly and be strong\", the point is \"when we\'re friends and we strive to work together we can do anything\"
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