CMU School of Drama

Monday, January 23, 2017

No more nerds, sex bombs: Female animators draw away clichés

New Pittsburgh Courier: The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney’s desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men.

Now, nearly three-quarters of CalArts’ more than 250 animation students are women, and there’s a new goal: ensure that when they land jobs, they get to draw female characters reflective of the real world and not just the nerds, sex bombs, tomboys or ugly villains who proliferate now.

3 comments:

Marisa Rinchiuso said...

I loved this article. I'm so excited that this conversation topic has been brought up at one of the most influential animation schools in the country. It is so necessary that we start providing new female figures in animation, which is particular geared towards younger audiences. I remember as a child always wanting to be the Daphne of the group. However in all other areas, besides beauty, Velma was far superior. Why didn't cartoons encourage women to turn out to be the scientist, or the nerd, or that anything else besides "pretty one"? Even in one of my favorite TV shows as a child, Totally Spies, my favorite character, clover, always was swooning over men. Why was this the case?! She was a world renowned spy yet all she cared about in her life was the approval of having a hunky boyfriend. Although I realize the effect that that had all my childhood now, I definitely was influenced by all of those archetypes when I was younger. I hope this new discussion and proposed exploration of new female archetypes will lead to young girls being able to follow strong, smart, and independent role models.

Kelly Simons said...

I am so pleased to read that CalArts is starting to invest in its women animators more. The article states: “Now, nearly three-quarters of CalArts’ more than 250 animation students are women, and there’s a new goal: ensure that when they land jobs, they get to draw female characters reflective of the real world and not just the nerds, sex bombs, tomboys or ugly villains who proliferate now.” So I can only assume that the school is not only investing in its women but also the future of its female students. So many professions are male dominated, and it’s hard to break into one of those fields, as well as intimidating. I’m glad to know that there are schools out there that support women working in multiple fields. I’m glad that I have some support here at CMU, but still, Technical Direction is a male-dominated field and it’s a bit daunting to think I’ll be trying to break into that work force.

Simone Schneeberg said...

While I am incredibly happy that women are gaining support and gaining a voice in arts that so often include solely the stereotypes, I honestly - from time to time - believe that people take the effects of these stereotypes a bit too far. It's an unpopular opinion, I know; and it is not to say that I do not agree there is a problem. Girls, especially young girls, deserve to see an accurate depiction of themselves in the entertainment and advertising that surrounds them. I agree that female characters deserve more depth, more emotional development, more real world problems bigger than "oh no I'm still single." However, people appear to vehemently be against the forms of animation that display a vision of unreality. Like, yes, her waist is tiny, but her eyes are also the size or oranges and his neck is as thin as his wrist. There are problems with imaging, branding, and beauty standards, but not everything is a problem. This article focus more on stereotyping issues and lack of character depth, which I agree is a problem. I feel if we focus more on this rather than picking apart animation styles, we can make more progress on the bigger issues that i believe truly matter.