Monday, October 14, 2013

My Little Pony: Racism, Homophobia and Pretty-Shaming Fluttershy

I can see why My Little Pony is enjoying a resurgence in pop culture, because the animation is cute and the characters are voiced by some heavyweights in the voice acting world, as well as the musical numbers being performed by Broadway singers. I'm suddenly seeing these pony characters as stuffed animals in drugstores / greeting card stores and tourist shop windows in Times Square; most of us have heard of bronies by now, including my tween daughter who's taken to weaving Rainbow Loom bracelets in Rainbow Dash colors. So when I was asked to watch an episode on You Tube, I happily obliged, but I commented to my kid on the moral of this story, one I vehemently disagree with.

So people and publications are saying this show is racist, homophobic and smart-shaming? I haven't watched enough episodes to verify that, but I know the episode I saw was "pretty-shaming." The story went something like this: The snobby pony (Rarity) was envious of the shy pony (Fluttershy) for turning into a model. The problem is resolved when Fluttershy admits to hating being a model, thereby giving modeling up and making Rarity happy. The moral of the show was that no one should outshine anyone in the group, and that your friends come first, before any kind of individual success.

Well, gee. I guess people should drop all their dreams if it makes their friends envious, and they should never do anything unless the group says it's ok. I explained to my child that this is a crock of bologna. I teach her to be happy for others' successes and talents, beauty, smarts, etc., and for her to strive for excellence and never let anyone hold her back from her dreams. I tell her that a true friend would not be consumed by envy, but will encourage her, as I would, because I love her. I say, "What if you got a record deal--will you turn it down if your friends can't sing with you?" She listens, but I wonder if my words are weightier than the persuasive pull of Broadway actors behind moving pictures in mesmerizing colors.

I wonder what sorts of Pinky powers are bestowed upon wearing the Pinky Pie loom bracelet she made. Maybe the power is taken away from the individual, and instead given to a group in large numbers, influential by moving together horizontally. As for the racism, homophobia and all else, I'm not going to make her stop watching it any more than I'd ban Fantasia, Tom & Jerry or The Aristocats, but I am involved in getting her to see beyond this "magic of friendship" business to where New Age theosophy and racism have merged throughout its relatively brief history. I hope through watching My Little Pony together that she will be equipped with the consciousness to reject whatever notions it teaches that go against the definition of good as we understand it today, and practical logic for survival which includes choosing her friends wisely.

Read on-topic:
My Little Pony: Racism is Magic (Ugh!) Ample racist hidden messages in the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” show by Wong Wai Song

My Little Homophobic, Racist, Smart-Shaming Pony by Kathleen Richter | December 9, 2010 Ms. Magazine