• Member Since 27th Feb, 2013
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Sprocket Doggingsworth

I write horse words.

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Help! My Heart is Full of Pony! - A Way of Life · 5:30am Oct 25th, 2017

Source: It Isn't the Mane Thing About You, Vector by remcmaximus

I used to loathe fashion. I viewed interest in at as vanity, and the industry itself as shallow and predatory. There are certainly elements of that, but one could say the same of the mainstream industry in any art form – violence in movies; toxic relationship models glamorized in music; etc., etc., etc.

Thanks to Rarity, and a documentary called "Iris," I have come to respect fashion as an art form - a way of life even - despite the fact that I personally have no interest in it.

The ending of It Isn't the Mane Thing about You really captures that lifestyle. It embodies the virtues of fashion - what it can and should be. In so doing, it captures the heart of Rarity.

What do I mean by that? "Virtues" of fashion? Fashion as a way of life? The heart of Rarity? For the love of Celestia, do horses even need clothes?!!!!!

Let's start by articulating what the episode isn't. I heard somepony remark that the episode failed simply because its ending did not effectively convey a "beauty is only skin deep" moral. What impressed me about the episode was the specific choice not to go there. We all hear that proverb thousands of times throughout our lifetimes, "beauty is only skin deep," but how many of us really internalize its message, even if we believe it to be true?

John Rhys-Davies is hardly a vain man, but when the facial prosthetics he wore for the role of Gimli in Lord of the Rings gave him a rash, he withdrew socially. He didn't go out, or bond with the other actors, (whose camaraderie on the set is now legendary). Beauty may only be skin deep, but hearing that isn't always enough. Even self-actualized adults who develop sudden cosmetic facial changes (like Davies) find themselves not wanting to be seen. It doesn't mean that they believe beauty to be a litmus test for one's moral character; it means they are self-conscious.

It would have been incredibly easy to tell a "beauty is only skin deep" story here. However, that would offer little consolation to a child who accidentally messed up their appearance while cutting their own hair.

Fashion is about confidence, and confidence will take you far in life. It's about expression. It's about highlighting your strengths - owning your weaknesses. How one carries oneself will always affect how one is treated by others. That is the moral of this episode.

In ...Mane Thing About You, ponies saw Rarity as invisible, not because they judged her, or because they were mean or shallow, but because Rarity was, on a very deep level, attempting to hide.

Her mane is more than mere vanity. It is the centerpiece of every outfit she has ever created for herself. It is a part of her art, and her self-expression. As a creative person, I know how deeply personal that can be.

What Rarity did took incredible bravery when you think about it. It was about more than vanity, though Rarity is admittedly vain. Fashion is her livelihood - her dream. Her own appearance is a constant advertisement of that.

Going punk was a defiance of convention, not just on a superficial level, but on an existential one. Like Dumbo learning he could fly without his magic feather, Rarity's decision to turn her mane's weakness into a strength was an apotheosis of the spirit - a bold and triumphant leap into the unknown - an act of self reclamation.

It was, on a spiritual level, everything that fashion can and should be.


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Comments ( 1 )

Hm. Thanks. This is applicable to my life in that I had a similar negative view of fashion (or worse, adding, I'd say, at least "wasteful" and "ridiculous" to the flaws of the industry), but... well, long term effects have yet to be evaluated, but at least right now, I'm now longer looking on it as negatively (not sure if it's actually climbed up into a net positive, but the difference is noticeable, and I guess that it's close enough that I'm not sure is also saying something).

The episode alone didn't really make that connection for me, as I wasn't at the time really thinking of what Rarity was doing as fashion (since I'd been, like you, it sounds like, applying perceptions of the worse parts of it too broadly, and what Rarity did in the episode didn't quite fit my distorted definition). Honest Apple had more of that connection for me, but as I recall, that one also left me a little unsure what to think (with the added complication that the moral to me seemed (and seems) slightly off; through much of the episode, I was expecting it to be about being careful, when asking people for help, about selecting the right person for the right job and/or making sure they knew what you really wanted). As for the young designers, well, it was nice that they were getting to follow their dreams like that, but if someone's dream is to be a really good biological weapons engineer and show the world their creations, maybe it's, while sad in the small scale, better overall if they don't follow it. But then there's Rarity, one of the best metaphorical-biological-weapons-engineers in the country, who seemed to be doing more good than harm and be a nice and good person. Through her, we encounter others who seems the same, though also others who are not so much. Somehow.

This blog post has helped crystallise that "somehow" for me, so... as I said, thanks. :)

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