Miss Rose, at age three years and nine months, has discovered her true love. She’s got other loves that have lasted years, Peter Rabbit, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, but none of them are as true and devoted as her love for Rainbow Dash.
For those of you not in the know, which is probably everyone without a child between the age of two and ten, Rainbow Dash is a My Little Pony. She is a blue pegasus with a rainbow lightning bolt cutie mark (that’s a thing…) and rainbow striped mane and tail. She is feisty, confident, and ferociously loyal. She’s smart, she’s sporty, she’s competitive and driven. She isn’t a girly girl but she’s still feminine. She’s very like Miss Rose, which no other character in television is. She makes Miss Rose feel like it’s okay to be like her, which no other character in television does.
Miss Rose is obsessed.
I’m used to kiddy obsessions. To a lesser extent Rose has done it, as I say we have lots of Peter Rabbit, Wonder Woman and Spiderman things because she loves them, and she’s always enjoyed those things but she flits between them and mixes them with a dose of Peppa Pig here, a splash of Bing Bunny there. Young Z is usually king of obsessions, for a long time he was fixated on Thor, currently he’s devoted to Batman, but Miss Rose has now caught up to him in her levels of devotion.
We have Rainbow Dash toys, Rainbow Dash clothes, Rainbow Dash stickers. I use hair chalks to put rainbow stripes in her hair, her mane, to match and she asks for everything to be coloured like a rainbow. When she wasn’t drinking enough in hot weather and had to be constantly nagged, I ordered her a Rainbow Dash cup so she could drink “Rainbow Dash juice” (dodgy as I realise that sounds) and voila, problem solved.
Of course, as well as this, we watch LOTS of My Little Pony TV Shows and Equestria Girls (they’re the humanoid versions of the My Little Ponies don’t you know).
You know what’s cool? My Little Pony is awesome.
The mane 6 (mane, haha) are Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Apple Jack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and, of course, Rainbow Dash. They are six strong, different female characters who emphasise the importance of generosity, honesty, kindness, funniness and loyalty. They do not emphasise that you need to look pretty or thin. They’re not motivated by the male characters, though plenty of male characters have strong roles both good and bad. They’re motivated by friendships with one another, and the adventures they go on.
The stories have everything ranging from wanting to organise a party to welcome a stranger to their town, to saving the world from flying demons. They’re tough and strong and smart, they fight monsters, they explore new worlds, and they use their smarts and strength to save the day. They don’t expect boys to save them, they’re not trying to make boys fall in love with them. When love interests do happen, such as Flash Sentry in the first Equestria Girls movie, it’s a side note. It’s not what drives Twilight Sparkle to do what she’s doing, it’s not her main focus. It’s purely one aspect of the story.
Am I overthinking this? Possibly… but I don’t think so. Because this is something I value in my own stories.
My books have strong female characters who are motivated by their friendships with one another, and in saving the day. They use their smarts, their strengths, to go on adventures and face dangers and challenges. There are male characters, both good and bad, and they’re valuable parts of the story but they’re just part of the story not the focal point. The female characters stand in their own right, diverse and interesting, not just motivated by boys and not just there to provide motivation for boys.
Miss Rose’s devotion to the My Little Ponies is something I am happy to celebrate. It teaches her valuable lessons in females roles in stories, and that female driven stories do not have to be about getting your hair done and going to prom to meet the boy you love. That female characters should be diverse and strong and are capable to driving the plot forward for their own stories not the story of others. And they will teach her to expect that and accept nothing less.
Rainbow Dash is here to stay. I embrace her. When my daughter is running around the park, kicking a football (Rainbow Dash is a soccer star), with her short, spiky, multicoloured hair blowing in the breeze, I’m thrilled. She’s that kind of girl and she’s got a female role model who’s that kind of girl. If she was smart and bookish she’d love Twilight. If she was outdoorsy she’d love Apple Jack.
Welcome to my life Rainbow Dash. I will paint everything she owns with Rainbows if she gets to grow up with a character like you to aspire to. Thank you for showing her she’s not a “weird girl”. She’s a Rainbow girl.