A bunch of bronies found my much earlier post on My Little Pony and left many, many comments. Some contradicted my points using broader examples from more recent episodes of the show (and it is true, my comments were based on the first season only because that’s all that was on Netflix at that time). None of them, apparently, had seen my more recent post where I back off of hatin’ on the smart shaming. In general, the comments are thoughtful and offer rebuttals to my ranty mom raging that are worth considering. Go check them out.
Unfortunately, some of them also called me:
- a cunt
- a stupid cunt (worser!)
- asked me to kill myself
- claim that my stupidity is so forceful it sent them to the hospital (sorry, Joseph!)
- a retarded, know-it-all feminist
- a lesbian (? why bad) and an insufferable bitch
- a brain-washing feminazi mom
Many commenters in the thread about my post assumed that every comment would be deleted and that it was pointless to argue with me. I hope they see they were wrong. I hate bloggers who aren’t receptive to arguments (at least, reasonable ones not filled with hate) or willing to reconsider their perspective on something.
Several linked me to Lauren Faust’s original defense of the show back in 2010, in Ms. Magazine. I definitely appreciate that Lauren Faust is a cartoon genius, a feminist, and is trying to do something good for cartoons and girls with the show. I still wish they handled issues of race and difference better. Her vision is not totally fulfilled. I still have problems with specific episodes. But I no longer generalize those problems to the entire show.
And perhaps it goes without saying that I will not tolerate misognynistic attacks on our blog. Please see our comments policy.
I hope some of the commenters and Pony fans see that those who made actual arguments were listened to and respected, even if in disagreement. And those who call me a cunt were baleeted.
ETA: Balancing Jane just wrote a great piece about agonistic rhetoric and the idea that instead of EITHER saying “we all need to get along” OR “we all have to argue until someone comes out the winner,” we learn and grow from agonistic debate, in which stakeholders engage in some worthwhile grappling without the intent to win or lose, but test our arguments and reevaluate on all sides. She writes:
At the end of the day, we have to believe enough in our arguments to be willing to test them, and that means that we can’t just run screaming from opposition. It also means that we need to be willing to test them fairly and not wait at the end of a dark alley to batter unsuspecting opponents over the head with arguments they aren’t prepared to counter.
I’ve made a vow to be better at practicing this kind of rhetoric myself, and–for me–that means not bristling at the first sign of dissension. I am strong. I can dissent as well.
I have been thinking the same thing today as I ruminate this discussion about MLP: if no one had ever pushed back on my beliefs, I never would have become a feminist, or an anti-racist, or a fan of coffee. I truly appreciate respectful debate. Let there be more agonistic rhetoric in the blogging world! To that end, I’m not trying to be right about MLP. I’m trying to grapple with children’s media, media that claims to be feminist, and figure out what that might look like and where I draw the line on crappy tv for my kids. My perspective has shifted thanks to agonistic debate and an open mind.