So I’ve posted earlier versions of this Sociological Images article before, but it’s been updated to include another example, from Frozen.
I can’t offer much in the crowded field of Disney gender criticism. But I do want to update my running series on the company’s animated gender dimorphism. The latest installment is Frozen.
Just when I was wondering what the body dimensions of the supposedly-human characters were, the script conveniently supplied the dimorphism money-shot: hand-in-hand romantic leads, with perfect composition for both eye-size and hand-size comparisons:
With the gloves you can’t compare the hands exactly, but you get the idea. And the eyes? Yes, her eyeball actually has a wider diameter than her wrist:
Giant eyes and tiny hands symbolize femininity in Disneyland.
While I’m at at, I may as well include Brave in the series. Unless I have repressed it, there is no romance story for the female lead in that movie, but there are some nice comparison shots of her parents:
Go ahead, give me some explanation about the different gene pools of the rival clans from which Merida’s parents came.
So yeah… an interesting look at something most of us don’t consciously process (I didn’t as I watched Frozen, and I had read the article before!). They go on to give more examples in recent movies, including Tangled, as well as stats about average wrist sizes if hard data tickles your fancy.
Good website all, I’ve been lazy about checking it these past few months, but it has gems sometimes.
This referenced-in-the-piece article has more info about size dimorphism in animation and how it relates to sexism.
If Tumblr had its way, there would be no art, there would be no colour, there would be no freedom to express artistically. All entertainment would represent life according to the standards set by social justice warriors. It would be a boring world filled with entertainment nobody finds entertaining, made that way out of the fear of offending someone.
Or more concisely, shut the fuck up. It’s not sexism, it’s a stylized cartoon.
That’s not really what the articles are saying though? Yes, it’s a stylistic choice that upholds gender constructs! In Disney, femininity = small, dainty, fragile wrists and large eyes. The men are big and strong, with a normal wrist to eye ratio.
It’s specifically a feminist critique on Disney (and Frozen) hence the title of the blog. Yes it’s an animation style, you could argue that it’s reaching, but the way that men and women’s bodies are portrayed through these modes are influential! The styles of Frozen and Tangled look fairly realistic anyways, so why are the body types so incredibly unrealistic for both genders?
"If Tumblr had it’s way" is a ridiculous statement, because Tumblr is made up of thousands of different people with different world views and influences. No one is saying that this style is horrible and wrong and Disney should change it, it’s merely an interesting critique and way of looking at gender norms in animation. Why shouldn’t people research and critique forms of entertainment that children watch, or that anyone watch for that matter?
agree with above.
What I found funny/sad about the first reply was how they weren’t even responding to anything here. Literally all it was, was visual comparisons and some links to an explanation of what gender dimorphism is in animation/why it can be problematic.
NOTHING about “having no art” or even saying someone should never draw that way, nothing that was a hard smack down to artists doing it. Like honestly, for someone claiming that Tumblr is full of people who critique too much, you have to learn how to read criticism without getting your heart in your throat, and putting words in people’s mouths?
This isn’t about limiting creativity- it’s about opening the door. I noticed this comment in reply to this:
“OZZIESCRIBBLER SAID: I WAS AWARE OF THIS TREND IN CHARACTER DESIGN (I STILL WONDER WHAT MASTERY IT TAKES TO MAKE SUCH EXTREMES LOOK GOOD NEXT TO EACH OTHER), BUT NOW WHEN IT’S FRAMED AS A FEMINIST ISSUE I’M STARTING TO QUESTION MY OWN DESIGNS… O_O
That’s what it’s about. Making people re-think how they look at things, how they pursue their own creativity. You see their discussion as shutting the door to creative choice: I see it as opening the door for a lot of people who have been limited by social norms they didn’t even realize they were incorporating into their artwork over and over.
Even really great animators sometimes have this issue— they keep drawing big man hands next to tiny women hands not because they’re bad animators who only can master one type of character design, but because they were used to thinking that this is the standard/right/only way to design characters together.
And it’s fine to have big hands, small hands, big men, small women, etc. They’re just pointing out that when animation isn’t being ruled by gender norms, you see a lot more variety. Artists would get more freedom to explore shape and form, not less. It’s not a “style” for it to always happen in a way that conforms to gender norms.