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My Little Pony, Communalism and Feminist Politics

  • Kevin Fletcher
Chapter

Abstract

Fletcher makes progress in an under-researched area by developing an argument around the feminist sensibility of children’s animated programme My Little Pony [MLP]: Friendship Is Magic (hereafter MLP: Friendship is Magic). The first part of the chapter focuses on the operation of individual and collective agency in the storyworld and how this is linked to contemporary gender politics. Despite different levels of wealth and social power in the core ensemble (and in the larger web of characters), the chapter argues that MLP: Friendship Is Magic emphasises communalism and social cooperation rather than “post-feminist” individualism. The second part of the chapter provides a much-needed critical examination of the show’s racial politics. The chapter discusses how the series is based on “post-raciality” insofar as pastel-coloured ponies can be read as any race in the storyworld. Referring to a number of contentious episode examples, however, the chapter argues that some of the non-pony characters in the series stand for real-world ethnic groups. While some facets of the story material depart from the expected, Fletcher argues that the representations of species interactions often rely on ethnocentric stereotypes and cultural essentialism.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin Fletcher
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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