A friend directed me to a website that featured an anonymous animator blogging about what he (I am sure it was a he) thought was wrong with the American animation industry.
The problem could be summed up in one word ~~women.
Entire columns lambasted the alleged deficiencies of 'feminists' or 'revisionists' or female producers and animators. Women--oh, excuse me, 'girls'~ as everyone knows, don't watch animation, don't create animation, and are responsible for all the bad animation ideas out there. This sentiment was enthusiastically seconded in many responses. Now, the blogosphere is open and anyone may post as they like. But this kind of stuff just makes my ass hurt. Why? Well, the majority of people complain about the situation in the field but don't do anything to change it. The problems are someone else's responsibility, or fault, never their own.
There is a humorless kind of animator who follows a Leader, or waits for him ('tis always a him) to lead him (it's always another him) and likeminded friends back to an alleged Golden Age of bliss and steady work and no girls allowed. The fact is that this Golden Age never really existed in the first place. I assure you that people complained about Walt (especially Walt,) and Chuck, and Shamus, and Friz, and Max, and all the people who ran studios or produced animated films in the Golden Age. The difference was,there WAS a lot more studio work then. There were women animators then too, though very few and far between. But they did work in the big studios, even in the Big D itself. There is, generally speaking, much more animation being done now. It's just not being done the same way or in the same places or by the same people. And in many ways that is a good thing.
Women like to do amusing cartoon characters just as the boys do. Some of us might like to do other types of acting, but we definitely don't like being called girls, or treated like second class humans at work, or denied jobs or promotions because of our sex, or blamed for faults in the industry that have nothing to do with gender. That goes for female producers, too--I've worked with some excellent ones.
We have to discriminate.
There's discrimination in our job searches--we must find studios and producers that will hire us as artists, not as women. We move to other jobs if we have to. I know men who have to move around when a job becomes tiresome, too. And believe me, it's even more interesting for the Black animators out there. We can all tell some stories. But there is an upside.
It's now possible to produce your own work and get it shown entirely outside of the studio system. So if one doesn't like one's day job, one can make a film for little cost and get it out there to a real audience. Amazing! And yet there are complaints.
There are a number of female students in my classes and while I won't generalize and say that one sex is superior to another (because it isn't), the female students often do have a very offbeat sense of humor. It's good to see that if they do incorporate traditionally 'feminine' subject matter such as children and fairies into their films, the characters are given a highly sardonic interpretation.
And these students are all very excited to be working in animation. All of the student contributors to PREPARE TO BOARD are in their first real studio jobs now and loving every minute of it.
I made damn sure that my new book contained work that was 50% produced by female artists since I am so fed up with the endless guy-centeredness of this industry. If you didn't look at the captions, you'd never know which sex did what. Some lyrical animation of a lovestruck woman was done by a male student; a female animator produced an excellent slapstick comedy with a tired man and his dog.
The whole point of animation is: no one sees you on screen, only your characters. You are not restricted by the limits of your own body, or gender, or species. That's the good news. And if your day job offends you, make something better in your own time. Then see if it will fly. The Internet and the abundant film festival circuit makes it easier to distribute an independent short now than ever before.
So put your pencil, or lightpen, where your mouth is. Don't like what's out there? Make a better movie.
But don't call me, or female artists and animators, Girl, or blame us for what's out there now.