Usually when we have a post about sexism, we talk about prejudices against women. Here, we are talking about prejudice against men and I’m usually not the person writing the post, but here goes nothing.
In total, the series has three central male characters: Spike, Big Macintosh, and Shining Armor. Let’s take a look at their characters and see where it takes us.
As I described in one of my MLP reviews earlier this month, I think Spike-only episodes contain too much Spike.
When balanced out with Twilight Sparkle, he’s excellent—his yin to her yang so to speak—but Spike on his own just doesn’t have enough of a character to stand on. And that’s a problem when he gets his own episodes.
Big Macintosh says eeyup. That’s about it.
If that doesn’t speak volumes to lack of character development, I do not know what does. And it’s a shame because I’m really inclined to like him. I just don’t know about him and I want to know more. I feel that he’s neglected as a character.
And now the grand finale: Shining Armor. He’s easily manipulated by the Changeling Queen, and in “The Crystal Empire” gets his magic sealed away; overall a fairly useless guy (to the viewer). He’s got a stronger personality than any other male character, but his knack for being useless at the important times leads me to believe that there’s some sort of sexism at play.
Now, if only one, maybe even two, of these guys has a weak spot, I wouldn’t be saying anything. But to have only three major characters and to have them all be this bad shows a trend. And a trend leads me to believe that there is a prejudice.
My Little Pony does a great job at empowering women, but I believe that there is a way to balance empowering women and being demeaning toward the men. Granted, the show is about the girls, but there are ways to have female characters stand on equal footing with the men without having to bring the men down. Fairy Tail is an excellent example of strong (character and actual strength-wise) female and male characters; neither sex seems to be “stronger” or extremely more developed than the other. And that’s my problem with My Little Pony; the female characters are so well developed and the guys just don’t stack up. And I wouldn’t even bring this up if Spike wasn’t getting two episodes before Rarity gets one.
I agree with almost everything here. I think that characters like Rainbowdash and Scootaloo are supposed to fill in for competent male roles. ‘Dash’s voice even sounds almost male!
I agree with you, but then why not make Scootaloo a guy then? Or Dash?
I think that their target audience, small girls (the tomboys among them in particular) might have an easier time identifying with them if they are girls, even though they have masculine traits.
That’s an interesting question, one which I don’t quite know the answer to. Most likely when the show was first thought up the writers didn’t anticipate that there would be anyone who would care whether or not the show had sexist elements. They probably thought “Why should we care? Girls under the age of ten don’t care, and they want all female characters, so lets give them that.” For them it was probably unacceptable to have any boys in the ‘group of six’. But they still though that they should include a diversity of personalities, hence Rainbowdash. I’m guessing that they are regretting that attitude a little right now, and I think Shining Armor may have been their partially failed attempt to remedy the show’s gender gap.
But your question actually brings up something even more important: if Rainbowdash and Scootaloo were male, would that be a good thing? Would it even things out a little? Or would it be a bad thing because it would actually further reinforce male stereotypes? Would the most masculine females in the show really make the best males? I think it might be more interesting if Rarity and Fluttershy were male. What do you think?