I love animated films. Why not? They're not just for kids. A really great animated film should appeal to adults as well as children. I have a two-year-old daughter, but when I recently grabbed from the library an old childhood favorite, “An American Tail,” she didn't even watch it – I got it for me, to revisit it and explore the very adult issue of immigration presented in the film. More recently, Pixar consistently delivers great art; “Ratatouille” is a hell of a fun watch, and “Wall-E” is one of my all-time favorite movies.
However, there is an aspect of the genre that may not appeal to many: gender issues. To be specific: the vast majority of lead characters in animated films are male. This is an issue which will be discussed tomorrow at the Carnegie Center in the program “Girls on the Side: The Marginalization of Female Characters in Popular Animated Film,” presented by IUS Sociology Professor Dr. Sara Hare and students Carolyn Coburn and Jennifer Jones. They explain the program much more succinctly than I can:
Films such as Shrek, Beauty and the Beast, and Toy Story have become part of American popular culture and are among the top grossing films in the U.S. Some of us grew up with these films and our children love them too. However, when you look at the number of male versus female characters, you realize that it's a world that is overwhelmingly male. Data collected in a content analysis of the 100 top grossing animated films from 1980 to 2011 were used for this study. The talk will focus on the gender of the central characters, romantic and family ties, and rescuing behavior of characters as well as the potential impact of those portrayals.
The talk takes place tomorrow, March 20, from noon to 1:00 pm at the Carnegie Center, which is located at 201 East Spring Street in New Albany, Indiana. Admission to the talk is free, but requires registration, which can be obtained by calling 812-944-7336. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch; drinks are provided. More information can be found at the Carnegie Center's website.
Image: Internet Movie Database