Why BuzzFeed and Cartoon Brew Kinda forgets about Women in Animation.
The Article that came out a few days ago concerning Women and the Hardships they face in Animation – isnt a new thing.
However the stories missed a major point that people have forgotten.
Half the reason why these new female animators got discriminated against (until very, very recently), was a bit of that “old boys network”…
When it came to the art style the women students (now animators) were drawing in school.
You see, many of the older teachers and professors came from Disney’s days, and while aspects of the BuzzFeed story does ring true – it doesn’t state about the many other women who worked in the Voice Acting, Background and other animation work between the 1920 to the 1990’s (and I stopped on the 90’s for a reason I will explain in a minute) in which most of the great works of that time period continue to shine (Mary Blair is just one example)
When it comes to these teachers – what they saw in many of the students was what they called the Oriental (read this is a Anime) Taint, in most of their projects. For many teachers – they never saw it too much as a problem, they had some reverence for the work many of the Japanese animators have done. But for the majority of these animation teachers – they had a certain bias. And these teachers (since anime and manga was getting to be very popular with the success of Sailor Moon and others – with many female and male art students) began to nitpick everything – from arms, shape, and other such. Many females (back then), felt that they were being poked at because of the choice of art style they wanted to use to animate, and to be fair – some felt that the males were getting away with worse – as it has been proven with recent shows 10 years after the fact. (Bojack is a well written show, but its animation … yep)
I have known one artist from Sheridan who would tell you horror stories about how hard they went at the animation school students, when they deal with the “Oriental*Trash” the teachers complain – why too much on this and too much on that, where are the basics, horrible color theory etc.
There are others from SVA – who Amid Amidi admitted back when Jerry Beck was apart of Cartoon Brew – weren’t that good during one of his many Judging duties looking at Students in SVA. Many of the female animation students left because of burn out, sometimes they felt that the teachers didn’t get the support they wanted, still others that dreaded world “REAL LIFE” took over.
That was 10 years ago.
There have been massive changes now. Too massive to count or say here.
But some of these changes were somewhat good, others were bad.
And it comes back to audience – and of most import audience share. There are many shows that have characterizations and what not that would have never been possible 10 years ago.
But their ten years too late – and now destined to be lost in to the dustbin of falling subscriptions for cable, changes in how audiences get entertainment – and a incoming, but not too much said in the media – A ever growing and every dangerous tech bubble surrounding all of this.
The complaints are well founded, but its more of a lack of audience – and how the kids cable networks schedule these shows. If they had a schedule that they actually follow – then maybe – the ratings would reflect the changes the female animators say are taking place. But sadly – and this may not be the fault of the female animators – the ratings are no where close. In fact even though CN’s shows have done well – compared to Disney – its still 70/30 Male Cartoon Network and 85%/25% Disney Channel/Disney XD for females. This has been the way it has gone for the last 18 years. Frozen has made it much more towards the female camp. And to be fair to Nickelodeon – it has been much fairer, but their ratings have dropped like a stone.
That means the same shows continue to win (SpongeBob and others that are 15 to 30 years old at this point) to gain audience share because its what the audience trusts. To convince – the audience – and in the future – other animation teachers and faulty to produce better female animators -(because it seems to work very well in Japan…and France…somehow) is for much higher standards for animation teaching – but be more unbiased in how styles are used. There also needs to be a SuperProducer set up – not unlike Saban or Al Kahn used to have – especially now with these mass changes in how media is watched, where a woman is in Charge – this did happen with Fox Kids when Marget Loacsch was in power from 1990 to 1997 and when she ran the Hub for 4 years until it became Discovery Family. The main goal is to promote female Voice Actors, Animators, Background Artists etc. That way trust is formed and new people get into the business…NOT UNLIKE what Japan does – when NHK interviews animators and manga artists both male and female.
While Miss Lange may have had many sad stories about female animators right – the options are their to fix it. I just gave a couple. The Passive Aggressive Nature outside of the sad truth, doesnt help matters. It only continues the money grab that many of the networks will love to continue to do.