I’ve recently come back into My Little Pony on Netflix. We (my daughter and I) used to watch it regularly and all the theatrical movie releases as well. I don’t remember having any strong feelings about it either way. Then we stepped away from it for a time, and for no apparent reason, she wants to start watching it again. Now that the fog of being a new parent has permanently lifted, I see the show through a different lens. I stare in fascination at the show and the way it portrays its five main female characters. It is a feminist manifesto….and I LOVE it!
There is no talk of marriage or babies being of any value to the female protagonists. Male ponies exist but are of little consequence to the storylines. Rarity runs her own boutique business, Apple Jack runs a family business, and the star Twilight Sparkle runs an entire city! The entire ponyverse is ruled by two single females. No kings, no princes, only queens, and princesses. Not only are the overall lifestyles of the ponies based on their own merit and ingenuity, but the storylines tackle situations that most females face and struggle with.
In season 5: Scare Master, delicate kind-hearted Fluttershy was pressured by her friends to become engrossed in Halloween night. Even though she stated several times that it made her uncomfortable she succumbed to the pressure and participated in the night going so far as to become the best scare master the ponies had ever seen. In the end, she firmly told her friends that she tried it and still hated it, and wished to be left to her own devices on that night. How often do women feel pressure to participate in situations that make them uncomfortable? No one ever provides guidance on how to navigate these situations, and it is certainly never presented as acceptable to tell someone no I don’t want to do this anymore. This is just a small example of the fantastic series.
My heart is warmed to watch this show with my daughter and expose her to storylines where girls are making their own way, navigating difficult situations, cooperating with each other, and creating and enforcing boundaries. This show has earned a spectacular rating from this woman and mom.