Monday, February 18, 2013

Reflections on Lauren Faust's defense of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

I'll admit something here that may sound a little silly. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic reminded me of something very important to Feminism: Female capability can take many forms. It's extremely harmful to the progression of womankind to degrade another female for not being "The right kind" of woman. This was especially important to me because I was wont to look down on other women for being too "cutesy", writing them off as shallow and pedantic.

Which is why I was agog when I heard that Ms. Blog (the online component of Ms. Magazine) ran post claiming MLP was "homophobic, racist and smart-shaming": (My Little Homophobic, Racist, Smart-Shaming Pony) for which the creator of the show, Lauren Faust, wrote a rebuttal (My Little Non-homophobic, Non-racist, Non-smart-shaming Pony: a rebuttal)
(If you only have time to read one, read the second one- Faust makes a lot of great observations about modern feminism and what she calls the "Token girl syndrome" in TV where a female must be everything everyone wants in a women and ultimately makes for a terribly boring character.)

The greater theme overshadowing this exchange is the Feminist Movement and it's identity crisis.  Richter seems to think all the ponies ought to look angry to show they're formidable- But really, should they look angry? Does not appearing defensive mean that they'll be easily bowed over and rendered incapable?

In the past, it may have been necessary to that all Feminists appear on edge- ready to defend their cause - because there was a good chance that their very right to be anything other than a subservient vessel for pleasure or pleasantries would be challenged at any moment. But is that defensiveness necessary now? Maybe. But not toward everyone. Being hostile probably won't win any sympathizers to the movement.

I remember an exchange I had with my estranged mother when she told me that her childhood Mormon mantra for womanhood was "be sweet", and was shocked when I was not particularly offended. Sure, it's not ideal, but sweetness doesn't necessarily bar you from capability. It isn't anymore progressive to say women must be aggressive than it is to say they must be docile. We ought to stop building new boxes for femininity and learn to accept women and girls for who they are.Varied human beings.

-By Elle Kelsheimer

P.S. Another related article:

1 comment:

C.J. said...

I feel that Kathleen Richter and Lauren Faust both bring up valid points.

On one hand, I feel that it is important to be critical of everything, especially media creations that are directed towards millions of people. On the other hand, I believe that portraying multiple varieties of girl/womanhood is an important part of dismantling stereotypes.

Yay for dialoguing and yay for Faust having time/energy to respond. :)


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