Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Gender Wars and TS3

Ms. Magazine apparently has issues with Toy Story 3.

Toy Story 3 opens on a woman-empowerment high, with Mrs. Potato-Head displaying mad train-robbing skills and cowgirl Jessie skillfully steering her faithful horse Bullseye in the ensuing chase. And that’s the end of that: From there on, the film displays the same careless sexism as its predecessors. ...

Pixar has not left its male-heterocentric scripts behind. Nor has it moved beyond the “everyone is white and middle class” suburban view of the world. Perhaps we should expect no more from Pixar, especially now that Disney, the animated instiller of gender and other norms (a great documentary on this is Mickey Mouse Monopoly),now owns the studio.

Poor unenlightened me. I know that Pixar's upper reaches are pretty much a boys' club, but I sat through the whole damn movie and never picked up on any of this.

The subtleties of the male-hetero-centric script flew right over my under-powered cranial cavity ....

And then I read Danielle Bean at the National Catholic Register, who thought that Ms. was ... uh ... full of it.

I have to say: Did we watch the same movie? Gimme a break, Ms.

Here’s Wilson’s “evidence” of Pixar misogyny, along with my commentary:

Andy’s mother is a nag.

No, she’s not. She’s a busy, loving mom wrestling with the complicated emotions involved with letting go of her son as he heads off to college. She gives her kids a lot of direction, just like every good mom I know.

Only one out of the seven new characters is female.

This count actually misses the most important and sweetest new female character—Bonnie. She’s a wise, fun, and loving female protagonist. If Pixar made a “Toy Story 4” starring Bonnie, I would pay to see it. ...

There is, of course, the small point that every Pixar feature is male-driven (both on and behind the screen), but you could say the same for most major live-action films. Hollywood was finally shamed into giving an Oscar to a female director after eighty-two years, but the reality is:

Men run most of the industry.

Men call most of the creative shots.

And things aren't likely to change very much anytime soon.

Happily, Pixar is finally giving Brenda Chapman the opportunity to be Emeryville's first woman director, but Jeffrey Katzenberg broke the gender barrier over a decade ago with Prince of Egypt, Spirit and Shrek.

Cartoonland is still, as it has been since Farmer Alfalfa and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a boy-driven enterprise.

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Boy oh Boy, I love being a boy!

Anonymous said...

wow.. who knew Mickey's saying "Oh Boy!" would come to really mean and show his true feelings towards the opposite sex. He's alright with Minnie tagging along, but she better not open that trap or she'll be cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Anonymous said...

Aint it time for a woman's touch or insight in the cartoon business? All white boys club is getting old.

Anonymous said...

Only one out of the seven new characters is female. [full of it]

Also leaving aside Whoopi Goldberg voicing one of the unidentifedly "male" action-figure characters, for reasons we should...pretty well know by now.

He's alright with Minnie tagging along, but she better not open that trap or she'll be cruisin' for a bruisin'.

While the reverse is often true of Donald Duck and Daisy.

Anonymous said...

This count actually misses the most important and sweetest new female character—Bonnie. She’s a wise, fun, and loving female protagonist. If Pixar made a “Toy Story 4” starring Bonnie, I would pay to see it. ...

But only if Trixie was included.
(Or wait, was Dolly the one new female character? I'm confused...)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the lack of females in the animation industry is due to a lack of females applying. Or does the prejudice against female animators still exist in some form? I know a female artist, very very good, who was turned down for an animation internship. Later she found out that she was indeed well-qualified for the internship, she was ahead of the pack, in fact, but she was turned down, not so much because of her gender, but because of her age!!! (She had returned to college in her late '30's. Because animation requires a long apprenticeship, it was felt - although not told to her, she found out through a leakage in the boys' network - that she was too old for the post). She gave up in disgust after that.

Anonymous said...

From the Ms. article:
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to include Bonnie’s two female toys in the discussion of the characters’ gender ratio.

"This article was corrected after the author found out one of her central smoking guns turned out to be an overenthusiastic goofball mistake." ;)

It's like I said during the Ilene Woods obits: I HATE pop-icon windmill-tilting feminist Disney-bashers who never watch the movies they protest against.

Floyd Norman said...

"Boys Club," hardly.

I know plenty of talented "Old white dudes" who can't find a job.

Find something else to protest about.

Anonymous said...

Men run most of the industry.

Depends on your definition of "men".


...Pink Mafia anyone?

pissed said...

Does'nt Ms. Whatever know that there are more pressing things to protest about? Like the iranian woman that's gonna be stoned to death in Iran, for example? Why don't femininsts take on the cause of women abuse on the middle east?

Complaining about an animated movie because it's not estrogen inclined is a stupid way to waste your time.
These feminists better find another tree to bark at....

Anonymous said...

Complaining about an animated movie because it's not estrogen inclined is a stupid way to waste your time.
These feminists better find another tree to bark at....


Yes, but you see, the author was complaining about "male-heterocentric" influences--
Meaning, she's bothered there's not the socially reflective accuracy of more lesbians in Disney/Pixar films.

(And while there are few of us who haven't imagined that Jasmine/Elastigirl threesome, make of the author's comment what you will.) :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Mr. Norman, but just because there are many "old white dudes" out of work doesn't mean there aren't more dudes of every ilk employed than females. Of course animation's a boys club. So. As a female, in this biz there have been many times when I was the lone female creative in a meeting. Animation just happens to be an industry that attracts more males, but I have never seen, nor have I personally experienced losing out on a job because of my sex. But hey, I'm just a girl, what do I know?

Anonymous said...

"Boys Club," hardly.
I know plenty of talented "Old white dudes" who can't find a job.
Find something else to protest about.


Frankly, Floyd, this is a rude and stupid shutdown on your part.

Sorry to be blunt but "Boy's club? hardly" is pretty ridiculous coming from you who are certainly old enough to know better and could have some lifetime perspective on this without feeling defensive and dismissive about it.

YES, animation IS and sure as hell was a boy's club. That's fact. That doesn't mean that therefore every guy employed in animation should feel some male-gender burden or have to be proactive in any way(most can't/are in no position to be anyway).
But it is at the very LEAST helpful to acknowledge a truth that's part plain old circumstance and large part human nature: when a group consists of 90% men, it'll be a "boy's club". That's life for you. But at least maybe we can agree that having an all-male crew might actually mean that they don't think of having female characters as readily as male ones, since they are males and are using their own experiences which is the job of every creative person?

As for the incredibly annoying "find something else to protest about"-what would you prefer? I hate straw man(pardon me, girls) arguments where because someone is DISCUSSING something perfectly legit to talk about, someone else who's NOT affected by it/annoyed by said topic pulls "yeah, well, what about [insert world crisis issue here]? Isn't THAT more worthy instead of [thing guy or girl doesn't feel comfy hearing brought up]?!" out of their ass.
Come on.

Floyd Norman said...

Gosh-a-rooty, you people truly have no sense of humor for a cartoon industry. Every comment I make is taken sooooo seriously.

I could have railed against the lack of African-Americans in key positions in the industry. How many black film executives do we have at Disney for example? There's plenty to bitch about.

I recently wrote about women in animation at Disney over at Jim Hill media should you want my serious take on this issue.

In the meantime, lighten up, people. Remember when this business was comprised of cartoonists?

pissed said...

"Animation just happens to be an industry that attracts more males, but I have never seen, nor have I personally experienced losing out on a job because of my sex. But hey, I'm just a girl, what do I know?"

Well, there you go. It seems to me that women don't think of animation as a viable career. Thats different from discrimination.

And there are a few of us,single males, that wish there were more females around walking the halls and sharing office space.

but what do I know, I'm just a dude!

pissed said...

"As for the incredibly annoying "find something else to protest about"-what would you prefer? I hate straw man(pardon me, girls) arguments where because someone is DISCUSSING something perfectly legit to talk about, someone else who's NOT affected by it/annoyed by said topic pulls "yeah, well, what about [insert world crisis issue here]? Isn't THAT more worthy instead of [thing guy or girl doesn't feel comfy hearing brought up]?!" out of their ass."

And how in the world are YOU personaly affected by a movie like Toy Stoy 3? What exactly is the huge burden you have to deal with? that there's not enough female characters? You are spoiled brat who likes to complain and complain about the smallest shit, just to bring attention to yourself. Time to pull your head out of your ass, darling!

Toy Story 3 is nearly perfect. Find another tree to bark at!!!

xox

Anonymous said...

This isnt just animation, it's all of Hollywood. I mean, you got your chick flicks and even they have stereotypes. Then you may have the Tomboy girl who's a side-character, the hero's girlfriend, the materialistic teen, the damsel in distress, the more intelligent-less screentimed half of the duo, and if she's lucky enough to be the star who kicks ass, she has to be a total sex pistol in skin-tight clothes with big boobs.
The only breaks in these stereotypes Ive actually seen are all on Smallville.

Anonymous said...

hey Pisser-

I LOVED TS3. I wasn't WRITING about TS3. Read my comment again and work on your reading comprehension.

I was responding to another poster who made an inane comment about the concept of a "boy's club".

Sit down, shut up and go piss up your own arse. Darling.

Anonymous said...

"Gosh-a-rooty, you people truly have no sense of humor for a cartoon industry. Every comment I make is taken sooooo seriously."

And you make so many comments.

You comment, you get responded to. Not always going to be with golly-gosh adoration.

When someone comments dismissively
on black men being
underrepresented in the film industry we'll see how your sense of hilarity holds up. Bottom line-you weren't being funny.

Anonymous said...

Now, now, kiddies, let's get off the schoolyard-troll thrill, and back to the subject of nitpicking dopey intolerant mistakes in the original columnist's rant:

Toy Story 3 opens on a woman-empowerment high, with Mrs. Potato-Head displaying mad train-robbing skills and cowgirl Jessie skillfully steering her [sic] faithful horse Bullseye in the ensuing chase.

...Um, is it worth mentioning that this sequence is all taking place in Andy's imagination (a boy, and rather open-minded, it would seem) at the time?

Floyd Norman said...

Adoration? Don't need it. Don't want it.

Say whatever you want about black men. I've no agenda here.

Too many comments for you? Don't read them, they're not required.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

We LOVED the opening sequence! Wish we'd written it...oh, wait...never mind. Hey, how about that Lebron!

Anonymous said...

Too many comments for you? Don't read them, they're not required.

No, they're not required. But if anyone mentions Pixar or Disney they're always there, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Floyd Norman is a Disney legend and one of my heroes.

And I'm a girl.

And I had no problem with Toy Story 3's cast. But I do agree that more women should be in the animation industry - and I can't understand why there aren't. I thought about it at one time - but I elected to be an illustrator instead and create my own characters and so on - better than working for a company. It's tougher, but more gratifying.

Anonymous said...

Okay, since this conversation has gotten so weird, I'm curious: why isFloyd your hero? I know he's kind of a nice guy and and a good gag/story guy and he's quick to defend Pixar, but what would make an anonymous girl call him her hero...?

Anonymous said...

Just an observation on my part: Floyd Norman always speaks his mind with his name attached to his comments, yet always seems to get railed by anonymous commenters. What's with this blog?

Steve Hulett said...

I do agree that more women should be in the animation industry - and I can't understand why there aren't.

There's a tilt toward males.

Approximately 17% of animation employment is female. Less than that at some studios.

Anonymous said...

Union animation employment. Theres a ton of females at animation studios, but not all are union members.

Steve Hulett said...

Union animation employment. Theres a ton of females at animation studios, but not all are union members.

Right. Production managers, coordinators. Administrators. People like that.

But I'm talking about covered, creative positions. Go into any feature story department, any television production board environment, they are heavy with testosterone.

But support positions having lots of women? Very true.

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 4:43:00 PM seems like your standards for heroism are pretty low if attaching your name to a post is what you consider heroic behavior...and I note it's not behavior you want to emulate.

Anonymous said...

Those who are impressed and envious by the fact someone got the official "Disney Legend" title (like myself) -- That's enough to make him her hero maybe.

Janie D. said...

Floyd's my hero because he worked for Uncle Walt, who is also my hero. Plus I've read some of Floyd's articles at Jim Hill's site, and I appreciate his sharing his experiences with us.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Magazine is still being published? I cancelled my subscription long ago, after the mag started dedicating whole articles to stuff like masturbation techniques.

Anonymous said...

Are you KIDDING ME? Not enough FEMININITY?

If anyone hadn't noticed, Ken nearly walked away with the PICTURE.

Anonymous said...

"Floyd's my hero because he worked for Uncle Walt"

yawn.

Anonymous said...

and---anyone who visits jim hill's site has extremely low standards.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

<"Floyd's my hero because he worked for Uncle Walt"

"yawn."<

Ridiculous treatment of someone who's done nothing but enrich our lives and our industry. And from the shadows of a bunch of anonymous posts, no less.

Anonymous said...

Here's my take from about 10 years in the business:

About 20% of the reels/portfolios we get from students are female. All other things being equal, that explains the disparity in the workforce as male-leaning.

I sincerely doubt there's any grand conspiracy at work. I guess the question we should be asking is, why arent more females going to art school to learn animation?

Anonymous said...

Because women tend to be more practical and don't want to live a gypsy lifestyle...?

Anonymous said...

"Ridiculous treatment of someone who's done nothing but enrich our lives and our industry. And from the shadows of a bunch of anonymous posts, no less."

Wasn't a personal attack....he's a WONDERFUL self-promoter. But I'd take anything he says with a large grain of salt.

baffled said...

"About 20% of the reels/portfolios we get from students are female. All other things being equal, that explains the disparity in the workforce as male-leaning."

A-freaking-men!

Seeking a conspiracy theory where none exists is an example of the constant pattern seeking of our human brains.

Anonymous said...

"Boys club" is NOT a definition for or synonymous with "conspiracy".

It is possible that there can be one without the other. I don't believe there's any conspiracy. Do you? Does Ms. magazine? No.

But animation is a boys club. That doesn't mean that the boys are conspiring to keep women out or to do any other thing. It means that people in a predominant group become by nature insular.

Why is it so theatening to some-repeat, only some-guys to just have it mentioned? Who suggested a bunch of people be laid off or films rehauled to address it? No one, that's who.

Also does the rationale given by the apparently earnest guy above give anyone any pause at all? He wants more females around since he's a "single male", so one presumes he's all for more women if they're the right age to date and whatnot.

Nope, no boys club there. No such thing.

Steve Hulett said...

Why is it so threatening to some-repeat, only some-guys to just have it ["boys' club"] mentioned?

I haven't the foggiest.

Whenever I put up stats showing that few women are in creative position, the anonymous posters typing "Yeah, but ..." come out in full-defensive mode.

But the reality is what it is: My first-hand observation, backed up by statistics, is that men predominate in artistic, creative positions in animation. As they do in live-action.

I don't believe there's some dark conspiracy.

But I do believe that there's a predisposition to hire men, for a wide variety of reasons. (I don't think one of the legitimate reasons is "men are just more talented.")

The "Yeah but" crowd can argue the point, but the numbers are what they are.

baffled said...

The term "boys club" DOES imply a conspiracy, particularly of gender discrimination, it also implies cronyism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cronyism

It's hard to prove that crnyism is what's happenening in the higher spheres of CEO's and executives. We can only speculate.

Bob and Rob Professional American Writers said...

"Wasn't a personal attack....he's a WONDERFUL self-promoter. But I'd take anything he says with a large grain of salt."

Ha. And his "self promotion" has given him a 60 year career...AND the right to say anything. AND you have the right to your opinion, as well...just doesn't carry as much weight, (if any) doing so anonymously.

Back on topic. Has anyone mentioned how many women heads of studios and networks there have been over the past ten years? A good thirty to forty percent, we're guessing.

Anonymous said...

I love being the token female. I'd much rather hang out with guys all day than a pack of girls. but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I love being the token female. I'd much rather hang out with guys all day than a pack of girls. but that's just me.

I feel the same way! So would you mind leaving the business so I can stay token?

Don't want too many other girls ruining it for me, getting to be "packed". K?

Anonymous said...

Bob & Rob or whatever-anonymous or not Floyd Norman just begs to be called out on his constant horn blowing. He can be a wonderful guy and still overdo it.

I call BS on the old canard about so many "women heads of studios and networks".
Was ONE of those women ever an 839 member?

No.

Was ONE of them ever an artist at any point?

NO.

The track to heading or "running" studios from the ranks of artists is exactly the same for men as women: 0.
NO people who started as an animation artist head any large studios(and sure as hell no networks)with one exception: John Lasseter. And when he got his job he was pretty much the ONLY artist there, working for Steve Jobs-he wasn't hired as an administrator.

Anonymous said...

Mike Wolf at FilmRoman is just about the only 'administrator' I ever heard of that started as an artist/839 member.

Course he's not there any more, but he had quite a run.

Anonymous said...

I love being the token female. I'd much rather hang out with guys all day than a pack of girls. but that's just me.

You don't know the right women if you think hanging out with boys is superior. Not to knock the guys, but there are smart, funny women in this messed up industry of ours...it just may take awhile to find your tribe.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bob and Rob, you might want to take a second from your own self-promotion and butt kissing to do some math.
Floyd has only been in the biz 50 years not 60. How old do you think he is?
I hope your writing is better than your fact checking.

Anonymous said...

So longevity in an industry equals heroism according to Bob and Rob...?

Anonymous said...

Hey Rob and Bob...are you implying you wrote the opening sequence for TS3?
>>We LOVED the opening sequence! Wish we'd written it...oh, wait...never mind. Hey, how about that Lebron!<<

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