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Scootaloo being disabled

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DoctorWTF

@Background Pony #A863
The rest of it is due to all of the bullying and teasing she's gotten because of her wings from both her friends and the bullies at her school, and possibly the lack of any stronger parental figures to boost her confidence when she was growing up. But this is why Rainbow is a good role model for her, because the filly knows what it is like to be made fun of for her flying skills- Rainbow Crash, and doesn't let anything hold her back from her dream of being a Wonderbolt. Basically, the only thing that is truly holding Scootaloo back from being able to fly is her self-confidence.


The only time she's ever been teased was in "Flight to the Finish", when Diamond Tiara was trying to demoralize her so as to sabotage the CMC's contest entry and carry the Ponyville flag herself. And at the end, Rainbow Dash helped her get over that (though the episode's dialog appeared to actively avoid answering the "disability" versus "late bloomer" question). So if it were a matter of self-confidence as well as training, Rainbow would certainly be qualified to help her.

And for what it's worth, we don't know how long it took Bulk Biceps to get airborne, so technically nothing we've seen kills the "late bloomer" interpretation. For all we know, he was several years older than Season 9 Scootaloo when he got to what we saw in "Rainbow Falls".

Also: Ranbow Dash was there when Apple Bloom tried hang gliding back in "Call of the Cutie", and the end of "May the Best Pet Win" implied that she came up with the idea to get tank his propeller thingy. If Scootaloo were to have been diagnosed with anything that would prevent her from ever flying naturally, Rainbow could have helped hook her up with some form of assistive technology.

Or perhaps Twilight Time should have had her studying aeronautics instead of building a unicycle, so that she might build herself something akin to Wind Sock's glider from comic issue 81.


@Brass Beau
- She can beat her wings at an unprecedented speed


Her scooter activities make it clear that she has more than enough thrust. If she could combine that with something like Wind Sock's glider, she could easily become an impressive flyer. With a few refinements to its design (say, switch out the DaVinci wings for a proper airfoil), she might even rival Rainbow Dash herself one day.

We have not, in ten years, seen Dash train Scootaloo once. That said, since Scootaloo is now permanently living with Auntie Loftie, if she asked for training and got some therapy, she would then be able to fly.


For that matter, we've also never seen any indication that she had ever been to a doctor to sort out why she'd been having trouble flying. More fuel for the Scootabuse dumpster fire.

Also: you had speculated that there was never any discussion of assistive tech because Scootaloo was exclusively interested in flying all normal-like. The sea pony part of "Surf and/or Turf" had her dive underwater and be like "So this is what it must be like to fly!", and it formed a large part of her bias towards Seaquestria over Mt. Aris (in essence, her yearning to fly had consumed her to the point of interfering with her CMC duties — not exactly a great role model for people with disabilities, if that's what she was supposed to be). Why, then, would she be so ecstatic about something that's kind of similar to flying but isn't actually flying, but have zero interest in something that's not quite the same as normal pegasus flight but actually IS flying?


Hopefully now that the comic is no longer tied to the show's status quo, it can give this issue the treatment it deserves. The way she was involved in issue 81 made it feel like the writers were trying to subtly say "We would LOVE to have Scootaloo partake of the painfully obvious solution to finally get flying, but our hands are tied". And speaking of Auntie Loftie, issue 93 is supposed to focus on Scootaloo and her family. I wouldn't expect her wing situation to be relevant to that particular plot, but it would be lovely if they could toss in at least a little hint that she isn't being utterly neglected in that department.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
I will say, the writers really mastered beating around the bush. Scootaloo never mentioning alternative methods of attaining flight and always speaking of flight in a manner that implied natural performance did leave me with the impression that she wanted to fly only by her own volition. That said, I'll have to review all of the episodes featuring Scootaloo and Bulk to see if I can find any connection wing size has on flight. For now, I think practical training and therapy are the best solution we have found so far for Scootaloo naturally attaining flight.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
That said, I'll have to review all of the episodes featuring Scootaloo and Bulk to see if I can find any connection wing size has on flight.


The thing with Bulk Biceps is that how well he can fly varies wildly. In "Hurricane Fluttershy", he flies in the tornado with the other pegasi, meaning that he must be able to at least fly normally. His appearance in "Wonderbolts Academy" implies him to be well above average. Yet "Rainbow Falls" has him flying barely any better than Scootaloo.

Though at the end of "Buckball Season", we see what is basically a gender-swapped Bulk Biceps (able to fly at least on the level of an average pegasus) playing defense on the Appleoosa team. And I'm pretty sure I've also seen a few pegasus kids in various episodes with roughly the same wing-to-body size ratio as Scootaloo.

For now, I think practical training and therapy are the best solution we have found so far for Scootaloo naturally attaining flight.


The problem with letting her fly normally is that after "Flight to the Finish", lots of fans latched on to her as a role model for people with disabilities (many with disabilities of their own). It's possible that the "late bloomer" angle was the initial plan (which would also explain why she never explored assistive technology), but the producers changed course in response to all that (which would explain why there was no reference to her making any further attempts at training her wings).

The problem with not letting her fly at all is that it's been thoroughly established in canon that:
a. Some part of her wants to fly (despite her knowing full well that there are plenty of other things she could do with her life)
b. Equestria has the technology to let her fly in some capacity if her own wings would never be up to the task

The assistive tech route just felt to me like a logical compromise. And after the comics showed us Wind Sock, even the Wonderbolts wouldn't be off the table.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
Well, that brings up the question of if she should fly at all. Going back to Faust's intentions, Scootaloo was meant to be a late bloomer but it was later decided that she shouldn't fly and change her dream to something else. If she flies, whether through her own ability or assistive technology, then that moral ends up completely lost. Best way I can compare it is a little convoluted but please bare with me.

Human Scootaloo is often portrayed as an amputee. If she wants to be a world class runner her choices are A) learn to hop faster than people can run (natural flight inspite of her disability) or B) use a prosthetic leg (fly using a glider).
However, if Scootaloo isn't meant to fly at all then instead of missing a leg it would be more apt to say she has a congenital heart condition. She can't be a runner so she should look into being something else.

It's a tough call to say which would be a better moral (over coming adversity versus understanding your limitations) but until that's decided we can only make assumptions on what and why she hasn't at this point.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
Well, that brings up the question of if she should fly at all. Going back to Faust's intentions, Scootaloo was meant to be a late bloomer but it was later decided that she shouldn't fly and change her dream to something else. If she flies, whether through her own ability or assistive technology, then that moral ends up completely lost.


Well, there's nothing to conclusively suggest that they actually wanted that exact moral — there was nothing to contradict the "late bloomer" line until a few episodes before the finale (and even that's technically up for interpretation on account of Bulk Biceps). "Flight to the Finish" doesn't really count there seeing as it actively avoided answering the question of whether she'd ever be able to fly.

The only real discussion of the whole "accepting your limitations" thing was in "The Washouts". After much arguing with Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo reveals that her motivation for joining the titular stunt team: she had accepted her limitations, and found the Washouts to be a satisfying second choice to her previous dream. And then right after that (when Lightning Dust nearly gets her killed), we're given the message that this was a BAD thing, and there is no further discussion of what dreams she might pursue going forward. If the Wonderbolts are a no-go and her second choice is a deathtrap, what in Celestia's name IS Scootaloo supposed to do with her life?


It's a tough call to say which would be a better moral (over coming adversity versus understanding your limitations) but until that's decided we can only make assumptions on what and why she hasn't at this point.


As I've said, Scootaloo's specific situation as established is a rather poor candidate for the "accepting your limitations" route. Her wings offer plenty of thrust, but not quite enough lift — the solution there should be obvious to anyone with a shred of scientific literacy. If Equestria has the technology to let a pony with no wings at all fly, then so could Scootaloo (though there's no guarantee they'd let her into the Wonderbolts with whatever it is).

To impose the "accepting your limitations" moral upon her at this point would be to send the message "If you encounter an obstacle to your goals, give up without even trying to find a workaround" — not a great message to be sending to people with disabilities (or, you know, ingeneral).
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
@DoctorWTF
The Washouts is a real mixed bag. The problem with doing the show was more a lack of practice and safety measures. Any real stunt performer would watch that in absolute horror. She could still pursue that dream. Probably best not to do things like The Washouts did, though.
And it's not really "understanding her limits" until it's explicitly shown that she wants to be a stunt pony like Rainbow without technical assistance. If she's okay with the use of a glider or something then we'll finally know what the moral the writers want her to have (overcoming adversity).
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
The Washouts is a real mixed bag. The problem with doing the show was more a lack of practice and safety measures. Any real stunt performer would watch that in absolute horror. She could still pursue that dream. Probably best not to do things like The Washouts did, though.


Some have proposed ending that episode by having Lightning Dust see the error of her ways (or having Scootaloo replace her), letting Scootaloo's next show come after they implement proper safety measures. Perhaps Rainbow Dash could help them with that. If anyone involved actually did want to go for the "accepting your limitations" moral with her wings, then that would have been the perfect way to do it.

And it's not really "understanding her limits" until it's explicitly shown that she wants to be a stunt pony like Rainbow without technical assistance. If she's okay with the use of a glider or something then we'll finally know what the moral the writers want her to have (overcoming adversity).


Of course, they'd also have to unambiguously establish that there's no meaningful hope of her flying naturally (which the show's producers obviously weren't comfortable with).

As for the comic, the writer of issue 81 was pretty clearly aiming for "overcoming adversity" within the limits of the show's status quo. We'll see where Season 10 takes her, I guess.

Another possibility would be to split the difference: Have her strap on a glider-or-whatever and let her be somewhat disappointed that it's not exactly like standard pegasus flight (though Wind Sock's glider looked like it'd be pretty damn close), but still acknowledge that it's WAY better than being grounded for life.

Either way, having Scootaloo work towards her goal of flying (whether by way of training or technology) would be a cool way to further explore her relationship with Rainbow Dash (potentially better than much of what we got after "Flight to the Finish"). I'm picturing an equal mix of "Scootalove" Rainbow Dash and "hardass coach" Rainbow Dash.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
@DoctorWTF
I will say, the writers really mastered beating around the bush.


They sure did. I just stumbled across this from a few days after "Growing Up is Hard to Do" first aired:



"Fans are welcome to interpret things as they like", he says. I interpret that to mean "We're trying to have it both ways" (that is, placate both the fans who were hoping for the "accepting your limitations" moral and those who were hoping for the "overcoming adversity" moral). That and/or "We know you all are comparing her to Bulk Biceps, but we don't feel like coming up with an excuse for why he can fly but she can't".

And here's a fun coincidence: Issue 81 of the comic (which showed Scootaloo what would have been a practical piece of assistive technology, and had her help build one for Rumble) came out a bit over a month before "Growing Up is Hard to Do" (which essentially established that she'd need it if she ever wants to fly) first aired. Perhaps that's why she wasn't the slightest bit disappointed that her wings didn't grow with the rest of her.

As for having her walk away from her dreams simply because she'd have to use technology where an average pegasus wouldn't — seems like that would also be a not-so-great message for people with disabilities. Besides, "Flight to the Finish" had her pretty much get over her shame over her condition. Though if she suddenly had herds of background ponies staring at her glider-or-whatever and going "WTF is that thing?", I could maybe see her getting a little uneasy.
Brass Beau

Howdy from Shimmer Pope
As for having her walk away from her dreams simply because she'd have to use technology where an average pegasus wouldn't — seems like that would also be a not-so-great message for people with disabilities.
It's more of a "with technology I can do what others can but what can only I do?" kind of message. The possibility is still there and she can take that path but she's deciding that she wants to be different in a way that goes beyond her physical limitations. The two could even be tied together. "I built a jet pack so I can fly as fast as Rainbow Dash and then I kept making stuff." The kid calculated how to sling herself into the stratosphere. She's pretty damn smart. And since we know wheelchairs and artificial limbs are a thing, maybe she could learn some anatomy and make new technology for other limited individuals.
DoctorWTF

@Brass Beau
"It's more of a "with technology I can do what others can but what can only I do?" kind of message. The possibility is still there and she can take that path but she's deciding that she wants to be different in a way that goes beyond her physical limitations.


Well, that would make for an intriguing character arc for her. Have her get herself something to get her the extra lift she needs, let her get the "ICANFLYICANFLYICANFLYICANFLYICANFLY!" out of her system, then have her ponder: How much of her original dreams were about what she actually wanted to do with her life, and how much was about wanting to be like Rainbow Dash for the sake of being like Rainbow Dash?


The two could even be tied together. "I built a jet pack so I can fly as fast as Rainbow Dash and then I kept making stuff." The kid calculated how to sling herself into the stratosphere. She's pretty damn smart. And since we know wheelchairs and artificial limbs are a thing, maybe she could learn some anatomy and make new technology for other limited individuals.


Some reviews of comic issue 81 have proposed that she do just that with Wind Sock's glider. Taking it to the next level (perhaps with her studying aeronautics, or engineering in general) could indeed be an interesting career path for her. Perhaps she could team up with whoever made Kerfuffle's leg? As a mechanical engineer who's thought about getting into the prosthetics field, that would elevate her to "best pony" in my book.

Though Rainbow Dash did teach at the school on top of being a Wonderbolt. Perhaps Scootaloo could do something similar — the stuff she'd learn in Wonderbolts Academy would be quite helpful for testing anything flight-related before offering it to patients, and as a handi-capable Wonderbolt she'd be a living advertisement for her tech.

Plus it reminds me of a fanfic I just read:

The Fault In My Cutie Mark

Scootaloo wonders how she got a cutie mark with a wing and a lightning bolt (features normally associated with "flies real good") with her wings the way they are. Then she meets a pegasus who's having trouble flying, and gives him some pointers that Rainbow Dash taught her (in an unsuccessful attempt to get her flying). She then concludes that that's what her cutie mark means, helping to teach other pegasi proper flight technique.

Developing assistive tech for other disabled pegasi (and potentially creatures in general) could also be a fitting interpretation of her cutie mark.
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