Because this is My Blog and I am allowed to squee about ponies if I want to.
I have to admit, when Rarity was first introduced I was like “oh fuck. It’s The One Who’s Into Fashion.” It is a truth universally acknowledged that every shitty girls’ TV show must have a Girl who is Into Fashion and all of whose character traits revolve around shoe shopping and the need for added closet space. I am pretty much 100% the biggest proponent of femininity you’ll find, and even I am profoundly annoyed by The One Who’s Into Fashion.
I think the thing that separates Rarity from ordinary girls’ TV characters that are Into Fashion is that most of the fashionistas in girls’ TV are primarily consumers of fashion: they like shopping and coordinating outfits. Rarity, on the other hand, is a creator.
A lot of Rarity’s plotlines are about the problems of being an artist. What do you do when a friend becomes more successful than you do? How do you deal with criticism of your work? What about when you’re on deadline but you spend so much time making something absolutely perfect that you don’t have time to finish all the work you’re supposed to do? Or when people keep bothering you when you try to work? Artist problems!
Furthermore, just because Rarity is feminine does not mean that she isn’t made of pure badassery. Which is another of my problems with the Characters that are Into Fashion– they often are kinda dumb and don’t have much going for them beyond awesome outfits. Feminine does not mean dumb or weak, people. If you write all your feminine characters as dumb and weak you are bad and you should feel bad.
I think A Dog and Pony Show shows it off best: Rarity gets kidnapped and the Mane Six decide to stage a rescue! Fortunately, Rarity has maxxed out her Charisma score, so she just Ransom of Red Chiefs the hell out of her kidnappers until they’re cowed into submission. What I particularly like is that it’s not that Rarity is suddenly able to fight: it’s that she’s manipulative and clever and good at people, the same personality traits she’s had throughout the show, and she can fucking destroy you with them. And that is a trope I adore.