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Through the Looking Glass: Futtershy in putting your hoof down


Fractured
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This is going to hurt. A lot. It's my most hated episode. Why?



This episode is based on Fluttershy being an ass.

I was ready,almost willing, to draw it off like that, like a lot of people did. Between her actions and my slight bias towards Pinkie, I was ready to do just that. And I did; I wrote a review shaming Fluttershy for everything she did. I was ready to hit post, and... and I couldn't do it. I deleted everything, because I came to an epiphany. It's not a tale about Fluttershy being obnoxious, it was never about that at all.

It is the tale of a mare...and a monster.

Fluttershy has been conditioned since she was a child to feel worthless, starting with flying and working its way into everything she does(singing, knitting,etc.). This caused her to avoid fights, to avoid conflict at any cost. She never speaks up, never tries to defend herself, and never tries to be mean.

Unfortunately, this resulted in a dark side. Fluttershy needed someone to defend her, so she created one. When Fluttershy's at her absolute emotional limit, she becomes a different pony, a pony that flies off the handle at a moments notice. This pony cares nothing for the feelings of others, and exists only to unload the emotion Fluttershy can't deal with onto whoever decided to hurt her. This is Assertive Fluttershy, and Fluttershy spent her entire life keeping her locked up.

Until the day she met Iron Will.
Fluttershy obviously doesn't believe in his ideas, but she tries it anyway. Her gardener overwaters her flowers, so she attacks him, lets her anger out.
Pulse.

She needs to get somewhere, and two ponies are blocking her way, so she gets angry at them too. She pushes garbage onto them.
Pulse.

Now, for once in her life, she's letting out all of the aggression that she's been holding inside. But she can't do that and still be herself, she's never done it before. So she needs to become assertive shy each time, and she does... but this time, it's different.

Assertive shy's been locked away for a long time, forced to witness Fluttershy's life from the inside and only coming out when it's time to hurt people. So when Fluttershy keeps dangling the keys in front of her, she naturally takes the car. She, for once, is in control, and she's not letting go.

But assertive Fluttershy doesn't know about kindness, how could she? She's only been used to break stuff, and that's what she does, hell or high water. She takes Pinkie's laughing as an offense to her because she doesn't know laughing can be something other than antagonistic, and she dumps punch on her.

After the assault on the mailman and the tourist, she meets her friends. Her friends tell her they want the old Fluttershy back, and assertive shy naturally gets angry. She's been locked up for so long, only being used as a living weapon, and now that she's out, her "best friends" want her to leave, to go back to being "other her". At that moment, she chooses to insult her friends the best way she knows to make someone feel bad.

She makes them feel inadequate.

She takes her friends, and she tries to break them like she's been broken, to treat them like others have treated her. Her friends run away crying, and this is the pivotal moment on assertive shy's part. She realizes she's no better than the monsters she's been dealing with. She's tired of fighting. She gives the keys back to Fluttershy...

Who immediately locks her up again, this time burying her even deeper than before. Scared of the monster, she locks it away so that it can't hurt anyone. She then locks herself away to avoid even having the chance of the creature showing up. This is where she is for months.

It's only with her friends help that she understands that she can't keep assertive shy locked up. Not only is it not fair to her, neither half is capable of living without the other. So Fluttershy reaches out to her other half, and she does something she's never done before. It's something that she's never thought to do in her life.

She stops using assertive shy as a weapon, and gets to know her as a part of herself. She shows assertive shy that there's another way. She shows assertive shy how to be kind.

When that happens, the two of them become one. Fluttershy's passiveness and assertive shy's aggressiveness balance out perfectly. The two of them together make the "true" Fluttershy, one that can stand up for herself without blowing up at the slightest provocation. She uses that newfound power to stand up to Iron Will, and learns that this was the right decision. Through embracing her other side, she's become stronger.

And that's what I took from this going back. Now that I see it, I find that the biggest problem of this episode is Iron Will. He's a red herring, drawing everyone away from the emotional struggle that's actually happening. He's also painted as a villain when he's not; he's just the catalyst to Fluttershy's transformation. There really is no villain here, just two halves of a pony struggling to exist together.

I also find the idea of Flutterhulk in "Power Ponies" to be genius. She's like Banner, in a sense; so scared of what's inside her that she treats it only as a weapon, something to fear. She finally realizes that "it" is only a monster because she treats it like one. It doesn't have to be something she needs to fight against; in fact, she needs it to survive. It just requires showing "other her" there's more to life than violence.

Finally, this is a pivotal point in Fluttershy's life, in that she keeps this idea for the remainder of the show. We see it again in "Keep Calm and Flutter On", for instance, when she's able to show Discord kindness, while still being able to draw the line. We see her struggle with it again in Bats, but by the time Filli Vanilli rolls around, Fluttershy has gotten completely used to her second, more assertive half.

All it took was a little kindness.

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I never disliked the episode because they did have a large amount of character growth to do in the episode, but in a short amount of time. That means quite often subtly must be left at the door as the easiest way to get the message across is to make it loud and overly clear. Fluttershy's actions reflected this and as such I never really held it against the character.

 

And as for her making the ponka and marshmallow cry, ponka does go a bit off the rails (a change I wish they could revert as they have not been able to write pinkie well in a supporting role since s2) and makes flutters cry, so I would call it even.

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I'm still mad at fluttershy for making pinkie cry... ):<

I should make a point to say that I don't condone Fluttershy's actions, I'm merely trying my best to understand them. Fluttershy would never hurt her friends intentionally, but she was overtaken by something she couldn't control and hurt them regardless. It's not pretty, but it's realistic. All of us have our monster's, and so does Fluttershy. Hers just has a different way of showing itself.

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I feel like the only one who absolutely adored this episode.

Fluttershy's behavior was okay— well, not okay, but almost forgivable— because regret was shown, attempts at rectification were made, and things started to get better. What Fluttershy did and said was forgivable; she was not in her right mind. Although it's not something to be forgotten, it's not something to break a relationship for, even if that's what you might want to do initially.

I think that Fluttershy’s, for lack of a better word, transformation in “Putting Your Hoof Down” showed not built up resentment but just how much of a pushover Fluttershy really was.
Discord attempted to get her to turn against her friends because they thought she was weak and helpless before she ever went to Iron Will’s lecture. He was unable to— but was it because she knew he was a bad guy? She didn’t turn what he said away, and even then didn’t despise him the way the other five did— or was it because there was no resentment? She was not looking to change. She did not realize how weak and helpless she truly was.
Yet one lecture from Iron Will was able to convince her to essentially change her entire personality. This is the beginning of a huge development: first, it means she was aware of her need to become more assertive (largely thank to Rarity and Pinkie Pie), and second, it means that just a few words were enough to change everything. Fluttershy genuinely wanted to change— she didn’t in “Return of Harmony”, which is why Discord was unable to discolor her without force— and, with Iron Will’s encouragement, was able to. Completely.
It’s brainwashing of a kind.
Iron Will is not a bad guy, but Fluttershy was incredibly vulnerable while she went to the lecture. She went there for a new look on life, essentially, and that’s definitely what she got. Because she was such a pushover, it was easy for her to be pressured into becoming more assertive, and from there she couldn’t help but go too far, just as she did with her natural shyness.

I’m not quite sure how to finish this post, but I’ll wrap it up by saying that I think “Putting Your Hoof Down” prooved that Fluttershy was far more of a doormat than we ever knew— not that she had buried resentment.

Edited by Cape
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I kind of saw this episode like you said Shimmer only it progressively got worse as she went through the episode. The first time she asserted herself she almost didn't do it because of her shy nature, but because of what Iron Will said she decided to give it a try. When she found out that being assertive like that got her what she wanted it started to spiral out of control. It's like that saying you give power to someone who never had it in the first place and they absolutely relish in it, they don't want to let it go because they get respect something Fluttershy never really had.

 

But anyway very well said.

Edited by Old Fluttershy
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I may be in the minority on this but I am happy that putting your hoof down took place. As someone who bottles anger I know how toxic if can be to hold all that rage in all the time. Its the pressure in the shaken up soda bottle that will explode without the greatest of care.

 

Flutters is now starting to find ways to handle all that pent up emotion, but she needed to see not only the damage outbursts can cause but also that the world isnt going to end if she does let it out

 

I love that pony but she has enough childhood trauma for a team of shrinks.

Edited by Buck Testa
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I may be in the minority on this but I am happy that putting your hoof down took place. As someone who bottles anger I know how toxic if can be to hold all that rage in all the time. Its the pressure in the shaken up soda bottle that will explode without the greatest of care.

 

Flutters is now starting to find ways to handle all that pent up emotion, but she needed to see not only the damage outbursts can cause but also that the world isnt going to end if she does let it out

 

I love that pony but she has enough childhood trauma for a team of shrinks.

After making this, I have to agree it was necessary. Fluttershy needed this to advance as a character, otherwise, we would have had infinite repeats of DragonShy. I'm glad she finally found a way to control her excess emotions, although the methods were a little...extreme.

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After making this, I have to agree it was necessary. Fluttershy needed this to advance as a character, otherwise, we would have had infinite repeats of DragonShy. I'm glad she finally found a way to control her excess emotions, although the methods were a little...extreme.

If you compare her outbursts to real life examples of someone letting years of pent up rage against the world this was far tamer than it COULD of been, and all things considered, healthier.

 

You only need to read a few reports of bullied children bringing weapons to school and horrendeous crimes done in the name of bottled up anger to see the gravity of what fluttershy is dealing with.

 

For such a dark topic it was tastefully done. Flutters is the representation of people trying to overcome emotional trauma and abuse without continuing the cycle on someone else. Knowing this level of pain is what gives her the strength to be kind.

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I really love seeing analysis of Fluttershy's character, I don't think there's enough of these out there. A lot of people say she's only popular because she's cute and shy and sweet but she's my favourite because she's relatable and I feel like her development helps me develop as a person. This side of Fluttershy gives her more depth and also gives those of us who relate to her some motivation to improve ourselves

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