women in animation

AWN Deals With Some Tricky Women

Spotted over on the Ambling Around column of AWN is this review for a book that you may not be aware of. Tricky Women is a festival held each year in Austria dedicated to, you guessed it, women in animation and they’ve put out a collection of essays devoted to the topic.

The description from the review is as follows:

Published by Schüren Verlag (Marburg, 2011), this 189 page volume contains essays by scholars, animators, and educators that address issues relating to women practicing animation and gaming. The book also includes a DVD with five well known auteur films discussed within the text.

The review is quite thorough in its detail of the essays contained within the book, the first of which may appeal to most of you out there as it pondering the following

[Jayne] Pilling concludes by raising a number of important questions, the most interesting of which is, “Is there a difference overall in the approach of male and women filmmakers in adapting fairytales within animation?”.

Suffice to say it looks like an entertaining (if slightly academic) read, as the conclusion make out:

…this unique scholarly contribution is a highly recommended text for the following areas of study: Animation, Art, Education, Film Studies, Gaming Studies, Media Studies, Women’s Studies, and Gender Studies at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. And it’s a must buy for university and college libraries that collect texts on these subjects.

It’s welcoming to see a topic like this receive some attention. Much the same as other industries, the contribution of women to the animation field was ignored for a long time, so its only right that the history of such be celebrated in the appropriate fashion.

Check out the AWN article for details on how to order the book as well as the full review by Sharon katz.


Women in Animation: Focusing on the Right Things

Apologies for the belated post today and the complete lack of one yesterday (*&%^ work schedule). Today’s topic has been doing the rounds recently as a result of two news items (both, incidentally, in the Los Angeles Times).

The first concerns Pixar’s upcoming film, Brave, which was already in the news for having its director, Brenda Chapman removed halfway through production. The second is that the premiere of DreamWork’s Kung Fu Panda 2 is also the first time a women, namely Jennifer Yuh Nelson, has directed a theatrical animated feature.

Brenda Chapman, in the LAT article, bemoans the fact that:

We’re in the 21st century and there are so few stories geared towards girls, told from a female point of view.

Two things:

  1. Well, duh
  2. Is being female even necessary?

I will be the first to admit that males and females ain’t quite into the same things (she’ll like cartoons someday, dammit) but Chapman is calling for the wrong thing.

Does it matter that females create content for females?

I don’t care who makes my entertainment, as long as it entertains me. As a kid, I definitely didn’t care who was writing, directing or animating my cartoons.

It’s not that I completely disagree with Chapman. Balance is a great thing and over-dominance of one gender over another is wrong, especially in the creative arts where both sides are equally capable of producing excellence.

Women absolutely should have a greater role in creating content for girls but one should not construe such a need as being all-conquering. Men can and do have a role in creating content for girls the same way women can and do have a hand in creating content for boys.

The real crux of the issue is that there is a gender imbalance in the industry and people in general (both men and women) still have their attachments to content aimed at their respective gender. Both of these need to be fixed before we see any changes.

This post is as good as any to highlight the exceptional work done by Women in Animation whose goal is to:

foster the dignity, concerns and advancement of women who are involved in any and all aspects of the art and industry of animation.

They’ve got a great website that should be an essential part of your bookmarks and they hold plenty of events too that aim to further the organisation’s mission.