My Little Pony: Positivity is Magic
Recently I have become obsessed with My Little Pony.
Yes. This will be relevant to skepticism and feminism. I promise.
Before I started watching it, I read an article about My Little Pony and feminism and scoffed my way through most of it. How could a show in which all the characters speak in high pitched voices and make disgusted noises at worms possibly be feminist? One where the ponies have powers like decorating and parties? I was sure it would be good for a laugh and nothing more. As Ms Magazine suggests, My Little Pony perpetuates racist and sexist stereotypes as we all would expect it to (because none of us expect little girls’ TV shows to do something right).
But the article at Global Comment explores a different side of My Little Pony, one that I think we should celebrate. The show is about women (or girls), their relationships with each other, and their personal strengths and weaknesses. All of the ponies have positives and negatives and are complex characters (for a show directed at five year olds). I think it is a good thing that we have a TV show which allows girls to see a variety of role models for what femininity is. This is progress from many kids shows in the past (see Recess, which, while a wonderful show, still stuck two girls into the really stereotyped roles of tomboy and geek), but clearly there is still a long way to go as evidenced by the first article.
What I want to emphasize though is our ability to praise a show for what it’s doing right. The majority of the time, people on the left are watching out for things going wrong. This is generally a good attitude. It keeps us vigilant and it keeps a bunch of really nasty and harmful things from slipping by us. It’s a skeptical attitude to take: careful and a little bit suspicious of first impressions. But in this case, I think we should allow the first impression to have its say. This is a show that celebrates femininity in many lights. We should be proud of it for that. Even if there are still things that are wrong with it, it’s doing something important RIGHT.
I’d like to see more people celebrating the things they see well done in the world. YES we have shows like My Little Pony that give us a better image of women. YES we have a black president modeling a successful black marriage. YES we have slutwalks that encourage women to take control of their own bodies.
There are problems with all of these statements, but I would rather focus on the positive in them.