Cartoonbrew.com covered the Geena Davis speech at the National Conference for Media Reform. Now that the steam has run out on the subject I would like to put a number of things into perspective without taking sides on the matter and really talk about what her new crusade might mean for television cartoons.
Let me list a few thoughts that popped into my head while watching the video clip of her speech.
-1st of all, what gives Geena Davis and the SeeJane foundation the authority to condemn an art form? It is an atrocity that a group of non-animators, non-artists, and non-writers are trying to tell our community how to operate and create content that we love creating. When viewing her speech all I could see was an angry feminist using her clout as an actress to try and influence a medium that she needs to keep her nose out of. And for that reason I feel that anything she has to say about animation should be taken as a grain of salt.
2ndly ,Where did she get her information, does she not know how to use Google? It is apparent to me that based on her lack of knowledge, that all of this "research" was all done by her assistants. I would like to just add here, if you wish to be taken seriously, REALLY get to know what you are talking about. The fact that we are dealing with an organization with a feminist agenda, any information which would conflict with their interests is going to be pushed aside like anything that might slow the process of attaining their goals.
3rd , The Animation industry is an industry in where most viewers are male, likely due to the high number of male and androgynous characters. However a study conducted in 1981 by the Society for Research in Child Development found that boys developed a lack of interest for characters of the opposite sex. Therefore, to say we need more female leads in cartoons is a bad marketing strategy. For decades males have been the subjected targets to these marketing strategies when the female population outnumbered that of males. NOW though is a different ball game, the male population is beginning to outnumber that of females, so to suddenly switch strategies and almost force animators, artists and writers to focus on creating solely female roles is just asking to decimate an industry which is already in a state of distress. The radical change that Davis chooses to pursue is a form artistic genocide which should be prevented.
4th SHE HAS ALREADY HAD MEETINGS WITH PRODUCERS AND HEAD EXCUTIVES! GREAT, THIS IS JUST WHAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW.
5th Are you joking!?, of all the things in this depraved world she calls for cartoons to “CHANGE”? For the 4 years her daughter will watch animation, male cartoon characters fighting monsters are somehow going to directly impact her daughters’ well-being because the lead character isn’t female? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I guess "The Powerpuff Girls" being a televised show is simply myth and it's existence hearsay...
Her actions, if you agree with her or not will most definitely have a NEGATIVE effect on cartoons. Now that the clueless animation executives have a celebrity to hold their hand and show them the light of how cartoons should be, it’s all over.
I’m not going to bother to name the countless female leads in animation. You can find them for yourself, and we all know that beefing up the number or female leads will not do anything other than oppress artists to feel as though it is necessary to censor themselves further because only female roles are on demand.
It’s obvious that male characters are a lot easier to create; a male character can be thrown into a fight and be brutalized, then brought back with no problems at all. If this were done with a female character, feminists groups would have a field day and say the show advocates domestic abuse against women. So to say female's need equal leads in animation, it's a double standard because to put female characters through the same scenarios as male characters would only cause more controversy.
When you create a female character there is unspoken check list you have to go through, a check list that end ups making your female character FLAT and boring. A check list that has to be followed in order to appease organizations like See Jane and every other woman’s lib group from condemning your character and cartoon. Let’s list some dos and don’ts when creating a female character.
Witty (not too much)
Not to drastic of a character design
Dependent on any other characters
Keep in mind when creating a female character you are required to use all the said ‘DO’s” not just some of them. If you don’t believe me turn on Cartoon network or Nickelodeon every female character is almost identical in their look and character.
So it seems to me that what Geena and the See Jane crew are calling for is a stacked deck. It's no longer OK to create a series with a male lead, let alone a female lead that might fit the bill as a "goof" or attractive. Because I am sure the only kinds of women that were born into this world since 1970 are all seeds of Einstein who are destined to rule the world. No longer is alright to create a female character and accentuate the characteristics that innately read to any viewer as being female. We are on the verge from drawing an occasional large breast or two to having our arms twisted and forced to drawing androgynous women with an occasional beer gut. Maybe it would benefit all men working in the industry to have sex change operations now...What do you think?