On writing female protagonists

It’s been suggested — the former Twitter account @MLPFacts claimed it as a bald fact — that Lauren Faust (may her fame increase) derived a fair amount of Mane Six characterization from existing fictional tropes. Which bothers me not at all: the reason they got to be tropes in the first place was the fact that they were almost infinitely reusable. Says TV Tropes:

She says it’s mostly unintentional, and there are differences between characters, but there are some recurring character archetypes in her works such as a goofy Genki Girl (Mars, Pinkie Pie, Batgirl), a hotheaded tomboy (Pluto, Rainbow Dash, Supergirl), and so on.

Then again, Faust wasn’t trying to sell you anything, except by proxy: she hoped you’d like the characters enough to buy the toys. Not all of us who write, however, are exactly agenda-free:

Ladies and pretenders to the title: You want to write female heroines? Fine. Do so, by all means. I’ve done so myself. But it’s an old bit of wisdom that people read fiction first and foremost to be entertained, not to be harangued about your political postures or your sexual perversions. But you have a message to deliver? That’s fine too. But she who lets her message detract from the entertainment value of her story has written what we old farts used to call a tract: the sort of thing that was once printed on cheap newsprint, collated into staple-bound pamphlets, and pressed upon unwilling passers-by on street corners by hairy-eyed, bullhorn-voiced types who hadn’t showered recently enough.

TwiBrush is mostly lacking in agenda, though Brush, in his capacity as Former Human, gets in a few shots at his birth species. I have, however, hinted, both in TwiBrush and The way she used to be, that love and tolerance among the three tribes is probably a bit less than one might assume from a Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant. A couple of readers have called me out on this, and it’s a fair cop, though I’m not at all saying that this is a desirable situation, only a plausible one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *