Tag Archives: pop culture

My Little Ponies: Teaching My Kids How to be Good Little White American Girls (Ugh.)

As you know, Jen and I are always on the search for good shows for our daughters to watch. In an effort to justify what we agree is a borderline problematic element of our parenting, we do our best to pick shows that edify, or at least have kick ass narratives and messages that we can embrace as feminist mothers.

My girls recently got hooked on the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magical series, and I was hoping for a winner. Note: My family only watches TV through Netflix. That’s why I’m always two years behind any trendy outrage.

I love the animation style, and I’ve revised my stance on their strangely slender and un-ponylike bodies (in that, it doesn’t seem egregious so I’ll drop it). MLP:FIM focuses on the majority girl town Ponyville (because only girls are friends?), where the fairly smart and sassy Twilight Sparkle has adventures with a colorful cast of ponies and writes letters to Princess Celestia in a sort of “Jerry’s Corner” wrap-up at the end of the show. The show’s emphasis is friendship, which is magical, and magic, which is also magical.

Tragically, despite its potential, MLP:FIM has several problems that I’m simply not okay with. Namely, sexist, racist, colonialist problems. Continue reading

Feminist Analyses of Hunger Games ROUND-UP!

Since Jen and I chatted (at ecstatic length) about Hunger Games as a feminist novel, many more bloggers and feminists have written up their thoughts on the series, characters, and film as well. Here are some of the latest ruminations.

Feminist Frequency analyzes Hunger Games, both the novel and its film adaptation. If you are unfamiliar with Feminist Frequency, Anita Sarkeesian recently gained well-deserved acclaim for her outstanding video commentaries on the Legos Friends controversy. Her videos are cogent and informative and she has an impressive array of hoodies! The fangirl in me doesn’t want to read anything that doesn’t adore these books with the strength of a thousand suns, but the feminist/teacher/thinker in me knows that they aren’t perfect. Of all the feminist critiques of the Hunger Games trilogy, I think FF does the best job celebrating the series’ many successes and critiquing its many weaknesses. There are more videos to come, so sub to her site already!

Clarissa’s Blog asks “Is Hunger Games a Feminist Novel?” She answers with a resounding NO. I disagree with nearly every point she makes, but it’s an interesting read nonetheless. She criticizes Katniss for clumsily performing the patriarchal roles of mother and prostitute. It might get your blood boiling but it’s worth considering these perspectives (and arguing against them, in your brain, all day long). There’s also some discussion of other YA dystopian series that Jen and I mentioned in our chat, namely the overhyped, overpraised, wannabe-HG Divergent trilogy. (But I don’t have an opinion on that!)

Katha Pollitt makes no bones about how much she loves Katniss’s “feral feminism” over at The Nation. And she hates on Bella Swan, as we all love to do.

Fangs for the Fantasy  indulges in some Bella Swan mockery in a matchup between Bella and Katniss. They also have reviews of the novels. Perhaps best of all, Thought Catalog imagines a girls’ night out with Katniss, Buffy, Hermione, and Bella:

Katniss: What’s the deal with you people and dating vampires? You guys should try humans sometime.

Hermione: Preach.

Buffy: There’s nothing wrong with vampires. Minus their emotional unavailability, lack of reflection, and penchant for really rough sex.

Bella: The rough sex is great, although it’s super awkward that we have to keep buying new pillows every time.

Katniss: This conversation is getting weird. Can I have some of those Doritos?

Speaking of Hermione, I’ve been dying to do this:

Finally, at The Rumpus, Roxanne Gay’s beautiful essay “What We Hunger For” cuts right to the tender center of my Team Peeta soul, as she considers not only what makes Hunger Games so awesome, but also why it speaks to her so deeply. She relays a powerful story about her experience as a disempowered young woman in a terrible relationship (TRIGGER WARNING) and connects that to the “darker turn” of YA fic in recent decades (Jen and I also discussed this in our chat). It’s a really moving piece. “Just because you survive something does not mean you are strong.”

(She has a Venn diagram, and for that, I love her. I love diagrams. You will discover this in a future MN post.) (Thanks for finding this for me, Jen!)

What else have you read recently about Hunger Games? Add your voice to our Katniss-obsessed chorus!