Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Feminist Frequency Tropes Vs Women

Feminist frequency explore the many troupes and archetypes of women within the media, and in this episode she looks at the manic pixie dream girl. What the manic pixie dream girl represents is a fantasy woman for many a struggling ‘man’ she is his muse, there to help him fix all his troubles, without having any of her own. to be quirky but not ‘messed up’ to be childish in behaviour and mothering in attitude, to be nothing more than a jar of whimsy and wonder that the man, when feeling low can occasionally dip his hand into.

As Nathan Rabin said about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is an all-or-nothing-proposition”

 

The ridiculousness of this type of inspirational character as being a sustainable person is questioned and mocked in Cracked video, showing how once the man is done with her she becomes useless and seen as stupid and just a child in an adult’s body.

However the real world implications for this cliché are becoming serious. Laurie Penny view this stereotype as becoming a template for young women’s lives. Because these women are not seen as real people with issues, they are taken for granted and as a result fall into themselves with no to help them. Hugo Schwyzer recounts his own experience with a girl called Bettina who changes his life and helped shape him but he never asked her if she was okay, and later when he and she drifted a part he found out she killed herself at 20 due to her depression. He reflects of the fact that despite their intimacy (emotionally) he never asked about her and only to inspiration from her, he never knew she had depression and in that moment was reminded of Dante. The great poet who experiences a similar moments of inspiration with a women called Beatrice who although brief in her encounters with him, became his muse and shaped his writing. She killed herself at 24. Manic Pixie Dream girls do not live long, because no one could life a long life if their existence was based on having to fix others problems while not having any of your own.

Sources:

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/07/the-real-world-consequences-of-the-manic-pixie-dream-girl-clich-233/277645/

http://www.newstatesman.com/lifestyle/2013/06/i-was-manic-pixie-dream-girl

http://www.avclub.com/article/the-bataan-death-march-of-whimsy-case-file-1-emeli-15577

Gendered Marketing-Lego

This video does one of the best jobs of highlighting gender segregation within modern society and how advertising and marketing is used to divide the genders up further for the sake of money. both women touch on how there is a constant stigma towards products targeted to women as being weaker and how the way men’s products are marketed reinforces this idea that women’s products are inferior. One of the best examples of this is the new Lego which is targeted towards girls.

It reaffirms the stereotypes women are subjected to for girls at a young age. While boys can do anything they want (as long as its not ‘womanly’) girls can bake, get their hair done and play with cute animals. The girls are told what to do. The Lego for boys is interchangeable whereas the Lego for girls already puts them within boundaries. Feminist Frequency raises an important question when she says  -So what happens when something in Heartlake City catches on fire?  I guess you have to call the boys to put it out, similarly what happens when someone in LEGO city gets hungry? I guess you’d have to call the girls to bake them something.  This is just absurd. This type of issue just highlights how misogynistic the Lego company has been in making this. and although the main video says that the revenue for Lego went up when the launched this, all they have done is to continue this deep rooted stereotype of girls and highlight the superiority myth boys are raised with.

Sources:

http://www.feministfrequency.com/2012/01/lego-gender-part-1-lego-friends/

Lessons From My Mother- Internalised Misogyny

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Andrea Dezsö Lessons From My Mother interest me because they explore the culture of internalised misogyny within our families and the way we are brought up by our mothers and grandmothers. Much like the skill of embroidery, which is passed down and thought usually from mother to daughter the media used also reflects the messages passed down from mother to daughter which reflect the patriarchal messages ingrained in our perspective of what women should and shouldn’t do.

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The subjects broached within her mothers “lessons” are probably something we have all experienced at some point, they explore the messages of virginity, rape culture, domestic abuse and victim blaming. All seeming to focus on the idea that it’s never the man’s fault.

 

Rosjke Hasseldine looks at which women are so critical towards women who speak out agains sexism. In her work she made a valuable points “It is very hard not to internalise this sexism because the consequences of rejecting it, especially in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ days, was to be ignored, criticised or rejected as a ‘bad’ woman” , “I frequently see women react with thinly veiled jealousy when they see other women stepping up and claiming a level of entitlement they can only dream of. An entitlement they either don’t know how to, or don’t feel entitled to claim for themselves” and “Fear of not being liked, of being alone, of the consequences of escaping and standing up for your rights and life, are strong motivators that make women pull each other back down to where it is sad but safe and familiar”

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Most women don’t know anything other than the patriarchal values the have been raised with and it really effects their ability to see the inequality when we have lived  in it for hundreds of years. How do you learn to say no when all you’ve been taught to do is say yes?

It’s this kind of thinking that makes it more obvious that some women will not see this project as anything other than “feminist drivel” while others will be widely supportive of it. I only hope that this piece will at least let women know that saying yes isn’t the only option.

Sources:

http://www.thefword.org.uk/features/2008/06/why_are_women_s

http://www.andreadezso.com/DRAWING_illustration.html

 

 

Dear Ursula

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Melissa May’s Dear Ursula explores the issue of industries (specifically Disney in argument) slimming down and maintaining this “thin agenda” when it comes to the bodies of female characters. Melissa really hits home on this point that as larger girls / women there was only really, Ursula to look up to and relate to. She, unlike the Red Queen was a larger woman who was happy and confident in her body. She was not mocked for it and for the bigger girls (myself included) Ursula made you feel happy about your figure. Although the point was to ostracise her for being fat it always felt like Ursula was in control. And Disney, when creating the “designer villain dolls” took away that sense of control and body confidence when they slimmed her out. It was as if they where almost saying, “You can’t be fat and beautiful.”

What Melissa did was call them out on this, she as a feminist called them out on their nonsense and sexism of trying to make every female character, whether good or bad thin and “attractive”. Her words are the modern day equivalent of cutting someone down with a sword. She is speaking for the women who say the image of the “new” Ursula and felt bad about themselves. She isn’t standing for this misogynistic rubbish and it’s this kind of no-nonsense woman speaking her mind that emulates modern day feminism.

Emma Gray hits on this point of them slimming down Ursula to make her aspirational for younger women.  And honestly it disgusting, this trend of slimming down children’s toys so that young girls are continuously bombarded with the idea that they have to be thin, they must aspire to thinness at all cost. As Bella sugar said “Ursula forced to go on a crash diet so she could model for beauty products? Because that’s bullsh*t.”

 

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/15/lego-friends-girls-gender-toy-marketing_n_1206293.html#s608443&title=Rainbow_Brite_Now

http://jezebel.com/5922092/ursula-the-sea-witch-forced-to-get-liposuction-for-disney-villains-beauty-line

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emma-gray/disney-villains-little-mermaid-ursula-slimmed-down-designer-collection_b_1638895.html

Elliot Alfredius

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Elliot Alfredius’s fantasy character concept designs explore the variety and effectiveness of fully clothed female characters.

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Elliot exaggerated body characteristics, such as hight and size in away that does not hyper sexualise or objectify the women but rather adds to them as a character, for example the taller women could come from a more open plane of land and are used to more agility based survival than the stockier women who could have a stronger and more compact bodies do deal with climbing rocky terrain.

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What is so fantastic about his work is that he has crated women within a fantasy context that do not hold up to the stereotypical dehumanisation of women in fantasy. When usually women are put in next to nothing armour and given ridiculously large breast, it can discourage female players from choosing or even liking female charters as they do not represent the kinds of strong warrior women that would have truly existed within that world. Also men who play these games tend to be so use to these unrealistic, hyper sexualised versions of women in games that it leaks over into their real life expectations of women and leads to them seeing and acting towards women in a very sexist manner.

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Another thing that is brilliant about the designs is that the women still retain feminine personalities; they don’t have to become “masculine” just because they look “manly”, it shows how strength does not rely on typical gender characteristics and is more to do with the person.tumblr_mwoez306jK1rt0j1mo1_500 tumblr_mwtp1u4dwo1rt0j1mo1_500 tumblr_inline_mwucbwRMOT1rn2drx tumblr_mwvtc5CwFh1rt0j1mo1_500

The only issue I have with his work is that these women are just put up against plain backgrounds and it would be interesting to see how he deals with putting them in different scenes and scenarios, looking at how they interact within hostile and friendly environments, gaining a better understanding of the characters personalities.

Sources:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2013/aug/16/boobjam-breasts-video-games

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/commentisfree/2014/feb/19/video-games-need-more-women-female-characters

http://elliotalfredius.tumblr.com/

http://www.peowstudio.com/elliot/

Everything I Can See From Here

This work came to be through the collaboration of multiple designers on no budget. It’s easy to see that this animation was made with themselves in mind, with the use of saying things like “head looks like a penis” within the concept art.  Though the piece has none of the traditional plot lines and has no resolution, it does set the scene of a dystopian future instantly with the use of a multiple greys within the colour plate, the lack of life within the first few scene changes and the use of sound effects, such as the wind which on its own, without any other noises sets an ominous atmospheres at the start of the animation.

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The way the Alien ha been designed is one of my favourite (and least) parts of this animation. The creature is not designed into the stereotypical alien persona, it has very little human qualities that it is unable for the viewer to find any qualities to relate themselves to it, making the creature and the viewer unable to be emotionally connected and by doing this the creature becomes more terrifying. It’s actions unpredictable, there are not facial expressions or sound emitted from the creature to even indicate what it is going to do, which is unnerving, especially ad someone who fears the unknown; such as myself. The thing that was really neat that did was to give the illusion that the creature was slightly out of proportion to the rest  of it’s body (by our standard) but the BAM! the side view hows an incredibly disproportionate being and was so effective in causing a sense of unnerving shock that I had to stop the video and wander around my room to collect myself afterwards.

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The latter use of colour change within the creatures hair to indicate a change in mood, when it is attacked was a clever move as the illusion of unknowingness was not shattered by the opening of a orifice or the contortion of the face to show emotions. Along with the fact that the end shows the creature showing little remorse for it’s actions and just played with the ball afterwards gives off the idea that the creature is quite simple and has a limited range of emotions, so violence is a natural reaction when something alters a simple process, such as the dog stealing the ball and the man attacking him. This is honestly terrifying as it show that the creature is not some intelligent being but rather a simple creature with a gun.

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Sources:

http://www.thelineanimation.com/work/

http://blog.drawn.ca/

Animation
Sam Taylor samtayloranimation.blogspot.co.uk
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com
Adam Hodgson AdamTheNog.Tumblr.com
Alexander Petreski vimeo.com/user1621759
Dante Zaballa podoboo.com.ar
Geoff King vimeo.com/user423106
Hozen Britto hozenbritto.blogspot.co.uk
James Duveen jamesduveen.com
Jim Round jimround.tumblr.com
Kristian Antonelli kristianantonelli.blogspot.co.uk
Tim McCourt messytimbo.blogspot.co.uk
Wesley Louis librabear.blogspot.co.uk

3D Modelling and Rigging
David Hunt slowgolde.com

3D Modelling
Max Taylor maxtaylordesign.com

3D animation
Max James van der Merwe  vimeo.com/jamesvdm

Backgrounds
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com

Compositing
Bjorn-Erik Aschim bjornsportfolio.com
Sam Taylor samtayloranimation.blogspot.co.uk

Cleanup
Adam Hodgson AdamTheNog.Tumblr.com
Beth Witchalls pufflingsplace.blogspot.co.uk
Caspar Rock
Clarice Elliott vimeo.com/user885076
Denise Dean denise.dd-designs.co.uk
Freya Hotson vimeo.com/user2647473
Hozen Britto hozenbritto.blogspot.co.uk
Hugh La Terriere hughlaterriere.com
Isobel Stenhouse isobelstenhouse.blogspot.co.uk
Jessica Toth jesscato.com
Jose Saturno
Stewart Wagstaff stewwaggie.blogspot.co.uk
Tom Loughlin tomloughlin.co.uk

Making of
Luke James lukejames.co.uk
Owen Philips breadcollective.co.uk

Website
Tom Loughlin tomloughlin.co.uk

Special Thanks
Our Ma’s and pa’s
Jerry Fleming
Chris King videocircuits.blogspot.co.uk
Andrew Lim Clarkson facebook.com/andrew.l.clarkson
June Frangue junefrangue.com
and Winnie facebook.com/winnie.wadelim

The Line Studio
thelineanimation.com

Steven Universe

Though set for a younger audience, Steven universe is a universal show. It’s creator Rebecca Sugar knew what she was doing when she created Steven Universe. As one of the very few women to ever have their own original animated show, Rebecca Sugar alongside her conceptual artists like Kevin Dart, Have really created something wonderful with this show. The fact that the show contains three strong female protagonist with the main protagonist being a non-white little boy shows how using women for main characters is not a bad thing and that more than one person of a non white ethnic background in a cartoon does not feel “forced”.

 

Steven Universe, though made to sell to a universal audience has a strong effect on one particular target, demographic, minorities. There are characters within Steven universe that represent specific races and gender archetypes which are usually non-existent in other TV shows and cartoons. For example the three main female characters are all-powerful women, and they are never questioned or undermined by others for it. They are never demeaned as less feminine for being strong, Garnet; seen as the one with the strongest physical prowess, is never referred to as butch or ‘too masculine’ but rather praised for her all round badassness. Which to young girls who have a physically strong prowess, is an amazing role model to have because she explore the idea that they don’t have to be weak to be feminine.

This leads me onto my second point. The archetypes Pearl, Amethyst and Garnet represent and why they are important when it comes to what female ideals young children are exposed to within their lives. Let’s start with the leader, Garnet. As previously stated Garnet has great physical strength and as a result of this she is drawn with a more muscular body, something which is very important to depict because there is this idea within children’s media that if you draw a female character as muscular she immediately becomes masculine and therefore is no longer feminine meaning the character is evil. It is a very disgusting and archaic troupe that goes masculine female = bad feminine female =good.

 

Another troupe/ stereotype Steven universe obliterates with this character is a suggestively black character who is not the angry/sassy black women troupe. This character personality default is a damaging stereotype black women everywhere, this idea that black women have to be aggressive and sassy has become expected in both the fictional and real world causing any real world claims of unfairness or oppression to be laughed at as just black women being ‘black women’. However Garnet portrays none of these stereotypical characteristics, she is calm, calculative and has the demeanour and manner of a leader.

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The next female character I want to look at is Pearl. Pearl represents the more classic feminine ideals, slender proportions and graceful poise, what’s good about her is that it in no way inhibits her abilities as a warrior, she uses her grace as a way of becoming more precise in her attacks, turning her fights into a dance. What can be seen as on e of Pearl largest flaws is that she panics too much, frets over Steven and everything that happens to him, this is in no way a negative thing but makes her more relatable to viewers who find themselves trying to control everything an panics over things she cannot control (ie. Steven).

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Last but not least, the final female character I want to pay tribute to is Amethyst. Amethyst is almost the polar opposite of Pearl, brash and not well-mannered she has the personality more befitting of a male archetype for a character instead of a female one.  With this in mind, you would think that the developers would fall into the trap of making her overtly boyish, rejecting all female customs and characteristic in the view that they are lesser than men. However she doesn’t do this. Instead Amethyst only sees herself as Amethyst, she doesn’t fall into lazy stereotypes and, like any of us grows and learns from her mistakes (sometimes). This refreshing perspective on the tired out ‘tomboy’ troupe gives faith and comfort to girls who are very ‘boy – like’ in there behaviour and feel that being feminine is a disadvantage.

The colour schemes, environment settings and character development Steven Universe has blows many modern-day cartoons out of the water. You can tell how working within adventure time has helped Rebecca Sugar develop a vault of knowledge when it comes to creating her own hit TV show.

Sources:

http://rebeccasugar.tumblr.com/

http://www.indiewire.com/article

/television/adventure-time-writer-rebecca-sugar-on-steven-universe

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/steven-universe-creator-rebecca-sugar-is-an-idealistic-trailblazer/2013/11/01/fe622da2-4338-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html

http://steven-universe.wikia.com/wiki/Steven_Universe_Wiki

http://kevindart.tumblr.com