Friday, May 28, 2010

No Good Girls in Cartoons

Considering that the years just keep going by, and cartoons remain distinctly male dominated, I'm beginning to get depressed. You'd think that in the brave new world of CGI films, we'd see at least a few more female protagonists. Or, even better, ANY female that isn't the "sassy" type that drives me up a fucking wall. It's like cartoons with "'tude." Don't know what 'tude is?
This is 'tude. It's this pestilence of bad-assery that has infected cartoons. Catering to boys? Your cartoon better be oozing with 'tude to even stand a chance with the network executives. Your cartoon also better star some confident, yet otherwise strange male, with the standard arrangement of sassy girls and token minorities. Or in my example, have your only two minorities also be girls. Kill two birds with one cliched stone. (On a further note, I love how the fat one is never a girl.)

Even Pixar, with whom I'm practically involved, has never had a female protagonist. It's a fucking boys club. The closest they've ever gotten is The Incredibles. Even there, though, Elastigirl? Yeah. She's still sassy.

That's not to take anything away from Pixar's films. I love every single one of them (except for Cars) and have watched them all over a dozen times. But it should serve as a point of serious consideration for all those in and entering in to the entertainment world. Where are the girls?!

I understand that cartoons skew male. They always have and they still do. But I don't think we've ever sufficiently experimented with girl-oriented cartoons that aren't also terribly sexist in some way. It still seems like a valid hypothesis to say that girls don't like cartoons because cartoons have never been theirs. What bones to they getthrown? Jem (which became more popular with boys), Rainbow Brite, Kim Possible, and... what else? Not much. Now try and make a list of popular boy-oriented cartoons that's under twenty shows long. Just try it.

The vast majority of the cartoons have a male at the center. Strong secondary female characters be damned. The male is front and center in ever group shot. He's on all the posters. He's given the most screen time. Even children's shows are ridiculous!

Make a list of young children's shows that have a female at the center. I can think of very few. The juggernaut, Dora the Explorer, Allegra's Window, and Eureeka's Castle stick most prominently in my mind. And even Dora birthed Go, Diego, Go! Gotta' get that boy in there somehow. Other's include the likes of Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Kids, which is very much an ensemble cast with her husband spider always nearby. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast is also quite good.

Still, most of these are quite new. New as in less than three years old. I also imagine that I could pretty easily dissect these cartoons and find stereotypes being reinforced. Regardless, back to films. The thing that set me off was looking at the lineup of CGI cartoons coming out. How to Train Your Dragon? Boy. Hell, I went to the list of all CGI films ever, here, and counted the films that featured females. I counted three, four if you throw in Home on the Range, If you go yourself, you'll find such gems as Appleseed, Final Fantasy, and Kaena. I just noticed that all of the films are foreign. I'm sure that says something. The fact that all three films were also ungodly bad also likely says something.

Whatever. I've made my point. My rant is done. We need more women in entertainment and we need it yesterday. Movies, television, and cartoons are in a decade-long death spiral that shows no signs of letting up. We need fresh blood and a fresh perspective.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated, so it might take me a day or two to approve it.