• Editorial: Subtle Double-Take: Who Said We Were Faking?

    Fake It Till You Make It is another one of those Fluttershy episodes that show us just how far she's come in being assertive and self-assured. And while I was. . . wait, did Fluttershy just insult someone. . . and why did she call the raccoons rodents? Oh, I know she just didn’t slam a door in her friends' faces?

    Okay, for all the progress Fluttershy's made, it hasn’t all been in the right direction. Being assertive and being aggressive seem to be linked in her mind.

    It seems the Fluttershy of Putting Your Hoof Down was never really forgotten. For everything she’s learned as the Element of Kindness, there is still a sharp edge to our shy pegasus that got a spotlight in Manehatten. Fluttershy isn’t faking anything this episode and, if you’re up to it, I’m going to argue why.

    Supposedly Fluttershy is pretending to be these rather unpleasant characters, but the personalities are too well crafted to just be made up on the spot. Throughout the ep, she can't seem to recognize where the character ends and she starts. In fact, she can't be called out of the characters at all until they are fired.

    And everyone who lives in an apartment can understand why Flutters got so made here. My mailbox is 234! Stop giving my mail to the creepy in 243!
    I remember watching Putting Your Hoof Down the first time and really enjoying it. Some hated it for good reasons I'm sure, but I like just how authentic Fluttershy was. It added a layer of depth to her character.

    She isn’t just a sweet, shy pony. She's angry inside with how she's been mistreated/ is mistreated.

    Fluttershy has strong opinions. She can disagree with others and even get mad at them. She values calm and quiet and it annoys her that she has to deal with such a hectic world.

    The best insults always ryhme.
    Without being under a spell, Fluttershy was able to take what she saw Iron Will do and apply it to her own life. Even though what she was doing was wrong, Fluttershy was getting what she wanted. Only after seeing her own angry expression was she able to stop herself.

    "I'm the monster."
    Even though Flutters doesn't actually hate her friends or want to hurt anypony else, she doesn't always enjoy the things they do and she often has unexpressed discontent.

    Flutters is clearly not enjoying this, but I'm so glad it happened.
    She fears possibly losing friends if she expressed her displeasure with them. Due to her fears, Fluttershy doesn’t openly share her authentic personality. All anypony ever sees is her cowering behind her shyness.

    The CMC are foals, I don't expect them to be quiet, but they should know to use their inside voices.
    She's often taken advantage of not because ponies are being malicious, but because she's never told them she's uncomfortable. Honestly, unless somepony was paying close attention they wouldn't notice they bother Flutters.

    One of Fluttershy's better assertive moments, if only she hadn't struck Discord to drive the point home.
    Becoming more assertive has helped Fluttershy tell others what she needs and wants from her relationships, but this healthy level of assertiveness is actually a rarity in the pegasus.

    Fluttershy has a knack for getting others to see things from her point of view when she's motivated.
    When we do see Fluttershy being assertive, it’s usually because she’s mad. We don’t see her assert herself in less hostile situations.

    Could you just, um, maybe buy that . . . if you want to, please . . . I'm sorry. Here just let me buy it for you, if you still want it.
    Well, that was until Fake It 'til You Make It. Here Flutters is being asked to be assertive without being angry. So what does she do to become the perfect salespony?

    She reverts to aggression.

    Three equally mean personalities, what are the odds?

    All these personalities Fluttershy dawns are not new expressions. They are parts of herself that she has repressed.

    Fluttershy feels intimidated by the customers in the shop. She’s scared. Whenever she needs to assert herself, she does so through insults or rude behavior. This is actually evident through the entire series usually in the form of a passive-aggressive remark said under her breath.

    The bats weren't icky, maybe Rarity was too narrow minded to understand that.
    It’s in the little comments she says. She never voiced them to her companions, but we catch a glimpse of her attitude from time to time.

    When dealing with the customers or the animals, Fluttershy is openly expressing her opinions without her usual fear filter holding her back. She's frustrated and the characters she's playing allow a safe persona to say whatever comes to her mind.

    It's never a good idea to speak when your upset. You'll say things that aren't really you.

    This episode wasn’t about Flutters faking different personalities, but it was about her embracing the parts of herself she hasn't gotten enough experience sharing yet to properly show. The more opportunities Fluttershy gets to practice sharing her opinion or telling others what she wants, the better she’ll get at it.

    It's nice to see Fluttershy express her wants and be heard without yelling.
    I’m hoping with, more practice, Fluttershy will have more opportunities to be assertive without having to resort to yelling or anger. Because the truth is she really did have all the inner strength needed to make those sales; she has a freakish knowledge of sewing as seen in Suited for Success, but old habits die hard I guess.

    This is just a slight look at what repressing frustration can manifest into. What do you think after a second look? Is Fluttershy just an sngry pony with no outlet, or just somepony who needs more practice asserting herself?