“Not Like Other Girls”

I hate this phrase with a burning passion.

Apparently, we’ve come full circle. It seems this phrase is a rebellion against shaming girls for being “too feminine”. That is, if you’re tomboyish – or at least, less feminine than stereotyped – you’re a faker because no real woman wouldn’t have some feminine traits or preferences. Whereas in the past, the shame would be for not being feminine enough, which is probably where “tomboy” came from to begin with.

Does no one realize the only reason this crap exists is due to stereotypes in the first place?

This discussion came up on a Reddit thread about engagement rings. Those threads usually lead to a lot of people saying they don’t want or care for expensive rings. I’m one of those people. I don’t particularly like rings, but even if I did, I’d kick my boyfriend’s behind to the moon with Princess Luna if he ever spent hundreds, or thousands, on an engagement ring. If it’s for himself, fine, but if it’s for me, I don’t want it. I’d actually question marrying him if he did that because I cannot justify so much spent on something that has no function beyond prettiness. At the very least, it would tell me not to combine our finances (Also, what the heck is the idea of wearing one particular piece of jewelry for as long as you live? That’s weird to me) because I’d view that spending as irresponsible. Yeah, it’d be his money and he can do what he wants, and I can think he’s crazy.

I didn’t say all of that on the thread, but many people were vocal about their opinions. Cue a hoard of offended people with engagement rings screaming how everyone who doesn’t care for expensive rings is essentially a “holier-than-thou” “not like other girls” poser trying to be cool. Or maybe some people really don’t like rings and were just expressing themselves? Isn’t that what Reddit is for? More so, how is shaming people for not liking rings any better than supposedly being shamed for liking rings? They did the same thing they accused the first commenters of.

The easier solution seems to not abide by stereotypes at all, but that would require us as a society to admit we created some screwed-up ideas and, well, we as people don’t do that.

Speaking of stereotypes, I will say this: I do understand why some people care a lot about rings. There are people who judge someone’s partner by the amount of money they have, and I don’t put it past some people to assume an inexpensive ring is a sign of poverty or poor finances. Being blatantly honest, there are still people who believe men are supposed to be the breadwinner (I wonder if not caring who makes more money is also “not like other girls”), and consider it shameful if he’s not.

The bottom line is people should be able to have preferences without being stereotyped as “not like other girls” or “like every other girl”.

And the reason the thread sparked so much emotion? The opening post was a screenshot of someone jealous her sister had a bigger ring than she did, and wanting her husband-to-be to exchange the ring he bought for a bigger one because of said jealousy. She was asking how to approach him about the subject.

I don’t care how “not like other girls” it makes me. That’s petty as heck.

Let’s Talk About: Fluttershy

I’ve gotten caught up with nearly all of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. I watched the movie in theaters, but I stopped mid-season 7 and I doubt I’ll finish. However, I won’t rant about that. I’d need to make an entirely new post.

Fluttershy is the embodiment of kindness. Or she’s supposed to be, according to the show. And while she does live up to much of the time, I think there’s another element of personality she seems to fit better.

Foolish kindness.

Let me say right now I do like Fluttershy and, up to a certain point, she was my second-favorite character (the first was Twilight; was, as Starlight has now become my personal preference over Twilight). However, I have an issue with what the writers deem to be “kindness”, and there are times when it seems “kindness” is confused with “naïveté”.

The worst example I can think of the top of my head is an episode where she’s chosen to reform a godly chaotic creature precisely because she embodies kindness. Unfortunately, “carpet” would be more accurate. Her way of reforming him is to allow him to abuse her kindness (and I say allow because she’s fully aware of what she’s doing), to get angry with her friends when they attempt to protect her, and allow said creature to endanger one of her friends’ homes (and means of survival; said friend runs a farm), her friends themselves, and by extension, the entire country. In other words, her way of reforming him is to allow him to unleash whatever chaos he wants with zero consequences, in the hopes he’ll change if she tolerates it long enough.

First of all, taken out of context – actually, even in context – this is ultimately an episode about a woman enduring a man’s abuse in the hopes she can change him. Thank you, MLP writers, for giving little girls that lesson. I’m sure the real world abusers weren’t already doing a good job. That troublesome fact aside, this episode emphasizes better than any other what the issue is with Fluttershy supposedly embodying kindness. “Kindness” should not equate to letting someone walk all over you, and while there have been episodes about Fluttershy learning to stand up for herself, they tend to be forgotten, likely to work for episodes like the one I just described. In fact, a common complaint of the show is the lesson fails to stick (though it seems it eventually does by the latest season), something the writers created an episode to say they were tired of hearing (again, a rant for another day). It’s not unkind to refuse to be a walking carpet. It is, however, very unkind to endanger your friends’ lives and refuse to see what your negligence is creating. The only reason she’s successful in reforming the creature is because she eventually snaps at him when he finally makes it clear he was using her all along. In other words, she does something unkind to reform him. Ironically, she called her friends out moments before she snapped on apparently thinking she was a “silly, gullible fool”. Let’s just say when she asked that question, I said yes to the television. If you need someone to spell out they are abusing your kindness when they’ve already done every conceivable action that would make it obvious to anyone with working brain cells and minimal perception, yes, you’re a fool.

The other example I put high on the list is one that involves the aforementioned friend’s farm (yes, out of “kindness”, Fluttershy endangered her friend’s way of living twice). Her friend’s farm was invaded by pests and the friend, understandably, wants to get rid of them. Despite that she only wants to move the bats away from her farm rather than outright kill them, Fluttershy acts as if she does want to kill and insists she should instead give the pests part of her farm as a sanctuary.

First off, anyone who is a real animal expert (annoying fact: Fluttershy admitted she knew nothing about the creatures; meanwhile, her farmer friend did) could probably write a list of reasons as long as their own body about why that’s not a good idea. The episode itself fails any kind of logic in animal expertise. Instead, any logic whatsoever takes a backseat to “kindness” because it seems disregarding a threat to your friend’s home, livelihood, and family’s means of survival is very kind. Keep in mind the pests essentially trespassed onto her friend’s farm, but Fluttershy is supposed to be right because “they’re just hungry”. Never mind that moving them, like her friend wanted, would solve that issue. The implication here is innocuous reasons excuse bad actions. Fluttershy is “right” because she’s the kind one, despite she knows zero about the pests and farming in general, and if the show didn’t need to have a “kindness always wins” moral for its target audience (no matter how wrong it really is in its context), her friend’s sound reasoning and logic would’ve rightfully won out the argument.

Many people excuse flaws in shows like MLP because “it’s a kids’ show”. The problem is that’s why it deserves criticism. Name me a parent, especially a parent of a daughter, who wants their child to learn the lesson that putting up with mistreatment is “kind”? That you can change even the worst people by letting them walk all over you? That it’s good to push away your friends who are rightfully concerned for you? What parent would willingly teach their child taking in random creatures is a good idea? That all creatures are okay to keep around? That “kindness” means ignoring all logic and potential consequences, even if you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about? If I had a child, especially a daughter, who liked MLP, I would filter out the episodes like crazy. Kids are not dumb and, contrary to popular belief, capable of seeing problems in media, whether or not they have the words to express them. And eventually, those kids will grow old enough to talk about them.

As I said, however, Fluttershy’s repetitive lessons about being more assertive do seem to have finally stuck as of late, so hopefully, the writers will be more careful with her “kindness”, and consistent in differentiating being kind and being a doormat. After all, “this is a kids’ show”, so let’s have some more careful evaluation of what we teach and aim at kids.

Let’s Talk About: Twilight Sparkle

Wait, what?

Yes, I mean the main protagonist of My Little Pony. I had zero intention of ever watching this show, but my boyfriend is a fan of it and urged me to watch it. Eventually, I gave in and watched the first episode. I was instantly in love with Twilight. But I don’t like what happens to her.

Let me make my annoyance obvious. In the episode summary on Wikipedia, she’s referred to as an anti-social pony. Anti-social.

I hate this. I despise introversion and being reserved are seen as negative traits. Why? The second episode revealed why these events were necessary. That doesn’t help because it still portrayed Twilight preferring her alone time as a bad thing and her preference only changed because of an emergency matter (I’m not going to rant on why Celestia thought it was a good idea to form an entirely luck-based plan instead of be directly upfront with Twilight, or I won’t shut up). I know it’s a common thing in cartoons for lifelong bonds to form instantaneously, and I’d absolutely expect that in a cartoon with friendship as its theme. Except maybe that’d be a reason to have the friendships form more realistically instead of in such a cliché way. I love my best friend like she’s my sister, but I sure didn’t feel that way a day after meeting her. But cliché formulas are also common in cartoons, especially ones intended to have lessons taught through the episodes.

I probably seem strange to have a rant about this. After all, I have a best friend and a boyfriend, so why would I be bothered by a loner character learning about the “magic of friendship”? Easy. I just said it. It only happened because of an emergency matter. No relationship works like that! Friendship and love (of all types, not only romantic) are amazing things, but they don’t happen instantly (before you argue with parenthood: oxytocin). Strong bonds don’t form overnight in any situation. I am more outgoing than I used to be, but that took years. I wasn’t suddenly no longer an introvert or reserved because I met my best friend one day ago. Guess what? I’m still introverted and reserved, and I still despise most people, something working in retail has actually made stronger due to being in constant contact with people. Whatever percentage the number three is of the human population is the percentage of people I like having around.

These two episodes would’ve worked better as a season finale, not a season beginner. I could almost understand these traits being portrayed negatively if Twilight was evil, but she’s not. In fact, despite being obviously unhappy about being sent to the festival/party, she was polite to the others while trying to get away from them as quickly as possible, and if memory serves, she did help when one of them almost hurt herself by accident. She’s not mean, and wanting only her books as company doesn’t make her mean, bad, or evil.

I’ve yet to watch another episode because this kind of treatment with introverted characters puts me off watching anything more of whatever media it is. However, I went through her character list on TV Tropes and it seems, for the most part, she still keeps her introverted personality and she does slowly change over time instead of instantly. That sounds much better, though it doesn’t change my opinion about the first two episodes. The downside is, if TV Tropes is accurate, she rivals Pinkie Pie in exuberance by the latest season. I hate to admit it, but I find Pinkie Pie annoying, as I greatly dislike overly energetic characters who behave like they’re drunk on happiness. Of course, I doubt I’ll get as far as seven seasons anyway. It took me over three years to get to the fourth season of Sailor Moon, and I’ve only watched three episodes of that.

If I do continue watching MLP, I’m hoping to find Twilight’s friends aren’t the pushy type who will continuously try to “pull her out of her shell” and nag her half to death about “opening up”, and will instead respect her wishes if she wants to be alone to study, read, or whatever else. I don’t think it’s wrong (however cliché it may be) for loner characters to go on to learn about friendship and love, or even for their personality to eventually flip a 180. I do think it’s wrong if the path that gets them there portrays that part of their personality as an issue and to be dealt with by forcing them into such situations (as with Twilight) instead of letting them develop willingly. And for heaven’s sake, I hope Celestia is more direct and upfront instead of continually being cryptic and secretive, but since when have mentor characters ever done that? But that’s a whole different rant for another day.

Millennials: The Only Entitled Generation?

I came across a rather interesting article yesterday.

Supposedly, 40% of my generation doesn’t eat cereal because it’s inconvenient. At least, 40% of the millennials they surveyed because I’m positive no survey has ever gotten the opinion of absolutely every person in their targeted group. I certainly wasn’t asked any questions about my breakfast choices and the reasons for them.

What’s more surprising is it seems something as simple as not wanting a certain food for breakfast is further my generation is lazy, spoiled, entitled, selfish, and can’t do anything for themselves. Except for those who are Republicans, of course, because they believe in work. Aside from them, my generation is worthless. I’ve yet to make friends with anyone my age who cares about politics and identifies with any party, and I certainly don’t consider myself any of the parties that exist because I despise politics as well, but okay. I’ll run with it.

Ignoring 40% is less than 50, which would mean 60%, the majority, of the millennials they surveyed do eat cereal, though I suppose acknowledging that would make it harder to insult them, I’m interested in what politics have to do with breakfast and why, supposedly, my generation is the only “bad” one.

There is no one in personal life of any age who considers themselves to be part of any political party. They might discuss if it comes up on the news, but that’s it. Out of my friends online, I think only one has any interest in politics, though I’d have to ask to be certain. I know the others don’t. My own reason for disliking politics is I’ve learned it’s a subject that can never end kindly. I know there people are of my generation and older who care about politics, but at the moment, I’ve yet to become acquainted with any of them.

As for breakfast, I eat cereal, but I also eat other foods. There are a lot of breakfast foods out there. Pancakes and French toast are my favorites. Sometimes, I don’t eat breakfast because I’m not hungry or I don’t want to eat yet. I’m positive my brain is responsible for my hunger levels and occasionally missing appetite, not the year I was born.

On the bright side, there were several people in those comments who also thought calling a generation entitled for their breakfast choices, of all things, was ridiculous. Still, the whole article only leads me to this question: Why does it seem my generation is considered not only the most terrible, but the only generation with spoiled people? If anyone wants to meet people of older generations with bad values, I can introduce them to the racist family members I keep my partner from. Better yet, they can meet my grandfather, who believes the only races in existence are Caucasian-Americans and African-Americans, and every other race is “foreign” or “immigrant”, even if those people of other races were born in the US.

I’ve read every generation treats the generation younger than them like this. That’s really not comforting. All that tells me is too many people despise another group of people for their age, something they have zero control over. No matter how unhappy I may be with some ways the world is changing, I don’t ever want to reach the point of hating anyone because they’re younger than me. I will hate someone for treating me or others badly, but not for the smaller amount of years they’ve been on this planet than me. I consider this world to be a very dark one anyway, so I consider them lucky they haven’t spent much time on it yet.

No, I don’t believe my generation is flawless. Enduring over a decade of school bullying shoots that idea down. I know how terrible some of my generation is. However, if it’s true this will be said about every generation, what’s the point in the stereotypes? More so, how are menial things like breakfast choices any indication of if someone’s lazy or not? I know the article said those 40% don’t eat cereal because of inconvenience, but what exactly is the inconvenience? Are they in a rush? I don’t eat when I’m in a rush either. Are they trying to save time? When I was in school, I occasionally skipped lunch to start on my homework to avoid having to do all of it at home.

It’s only cereal. It’s really not a big deal. Most of them aren’t very healthy anyway. That said, if anyone takes away my Honey Nut Cheerios, I’ll bite their hand off.

Who’s Biased?

There is something that really nags me when someone claims a person is biased or blinded by nostalgia because they don’t like a certain thing. That’s a biased view within itself!

First off, it suggests everyone should like something and that’s completely unrealistic. There is nothing that’s liked by absolutely everyone. People who do like the same thing may not like it for the same reason(s). For example, one reason I adore Frozen is I strongly relate to both Elsa and Anna. However, some people who like Frozen don’t relate to Elsa and Anna, but like them as the characters they are.

Another problem with the idea that nostalgia creates biases and blindness is it suggests the only reason someone would not like something is liking its previous version(s). This isolates people who like both the old and new, and completely ignores people who dislike the new version without ever having seen the old. How does it make it sense to deem someone biased for disliking a new form of something when their first experience with it is the new form?

This idea also suggests people don’t ever complain about things they like and I’d expect anyone old enough to browse the internet unsupervised to know that is a huge lie. In life, people complain about their families, their friends, their job, their school, and other aspects of their lives, yet they may still be very happy with those aspects. To use Frozen again as an example, a complaint of the film I’ve had since I first saw it is why the trolls erased Anna’s memory. In spite of that, and few others I have about the film, I still very much adore it. Yet there are some people who believe if you have so much as a single complaint, you hate whatever it is you’re talking about.

Speaking of complaining, I feel there’s also a hypocrisy with the “nostalgic and biased” crowd. Some of them will tell others to stop complaining about new things, but make complaints about those very new things themselves. While it’s likely an impulsive oversight, I can’t help feeling there’s an aura of arrogance or superiority there. They are allowed to complain, but no one else is. It’s perplexing because it seems they do understand you can like something and still have your grievances with it, however small, but don’t accept any complaints except their own and those they agree with.

The biggest problem, in my opinion, with the idea nostalgia makes blind and biased is it suggests the previous version of a work never received complaints and criticism. I have never found that to be true. I have seen criticism of works that appear almost universally loved such as The Lion King and The Incredibles. The fact is nothing – absolutely nothing – is exempt from criticism.

I’ll use a different example: Winx Club, which I linked to above. Some complaints I heard long before its fourth season were:

  • The girls being referred to as “slutty” or that the show teaches young girls to be “whores”
  • That the show encourages anorexia because the girls are too thin
  • That the girls are boy-crazy (this is one I do agree with) and the show teaches young girls they must have a boyfriend
  • That one of the main relationships was toxic (true), although it was often argued the same relationship was the most realistic
  • The girls’ bodies and faces are nearly identical (also true)

Yet somehow, I never heard those viewpoints considered biased or the people who made them blinded by nostalgia. They were argued against, but never did nostalgia come up. Since these complaints were made about the first three seasons, not just one, it definitely could’ve, but it never did. On the other hand, any complaint about the newer seasons? Must be made because of nostalgia, even if the person making the complaint has never seen the early seasons or didn’t grow up with the show. The only exception to the rule are the people who make this accusation. Those who accuse others of biased and blinded from nostalgia are allowed to make any complaints they please.

Personally, I think generalizing everyone who doesn’t think the way you do is a lot more biased than nostalgia could ever be, if it is at all. What is more biased than saying, “You don’t think like me, therefore you must be blind and biased”?