A while ago, I wrote a long-ass article about a certain animated movie’s less-than-stellar treatment of its female character designs. It was not the first, last, or most popular post on the subject, but it did get over 19,000 notes, which is about 18,900 notes more than I thought it would get. By now, everyone is sick to death of hearing about Frozen, and especially about how all the women look the same. So rest assured that I’m not here today to talk about Frozen again.
Instead, I’m here to talk about The Book of Life.
People seem to be getting pretty hyped about this movie, and why shouldn’t they? It’s a film about Mexican culture with an actual Mexican director, and the visual style is certainly a far cry from anything that Disney has ever done. But upon my first viewing of the trailer, I couldn’t help but notice something.
Once again, all of the female characters have the Exact Same Face.
Okay, when I say the Exact Same Face, I don’t mean that their faces are literally exactly the same. What I do mean that if the only difference between their faces is that one has slightly more curved eyes on the top, or one has their nose and mouth placed four millimeters lower, than we have a problem…especially when the male characters look like this:
Last time, we examined why Sameface Syndrome occurs (hint: it’s not about laziness!) and I explained that it’s much more common for it to happen to women than men, since it’s tied to female beauty standards. But what exactly are those beauty standards, and why does the ubiquitous Exact Same Face appear across films and studios in a similar form every time?
Friends, welcome to the wonderful world of gender dimorphism.
It’s a cute little thing though.
Sometimes it is hard to remember that owls are incredibly dangerous predators seen by cultures throughout the world as ill omens. Especially when they look like toasted marshmallows.
My boss once described them as flying pillows filled with seething hatred.
Further confirming that owls are the avian equivalent of cats.
I just don’t understand where this concept of ‘fake geek girls’ came from. Like, AT ALL.
Cus when I look for fandom related stuff like 90% of the fan art and the fanfiction and the meta, zines, comics, etc. Like 90% of the shit that I’ve seen is created by women & girls.
And all that stuff take’s a lot of work and research and critical analysis and staring at reference photos for hours.
We are literally the most well versed and invested group in the fandom. So, like, What the fuck boys? You mad you can’t keep up?
I saw an argument, and
I can’t find it now, (edit! KILLERZEBRAS FOUND IT. Go read the original thoughts here: LINK)) but it totally made sense, that there’s a gender split in fandom. Male fandom tends to be a curator fandom; male fandom collects, organizes, and memorizes facts and figures. Male fandom tends to be KEEPERS of the canon; the fandom places great weight on those who have the biggest collection, the deepest knowledge of obscure subjects, the first appearances, creators, character interactions.
Female fandom is creative. Females create fanart, cosplay, fanwritings. Female fandom ALTERS canon, for the simple reason that canon does not serve female fandom. In order for it to fit the ‘outsider’ (female, queer, POC), the canon must be attacked and rebuilt, and that takes creation.
"Male" fandom devalues this contribution to fandom, because it is not the ‘right’ kind of fandom. "Girls only cosplay for attention, they’re not REAL fans!" "Fanfiction is full of stupid Mary Sues, girls only do it so they can make out with the main character!" "I, a male artist, have done this pin-up work and can put it in my portfolio! You, a female artist, have drawn stupid fanart, and it’s not appropriate to use as a professional reference!"
In the mind of people who decry the ‘fake geek girl,’ this fandom is not as worthy. It damages, or in their mind, destroys the canon. What is the point of memorizing every possible romantic entanglement of heterosexual white Danny Rand if someone turns around and creates a fanwork depicting him as a bisexual female of Asian descent (thus subverting Rand’s creepy ‘white savior’ origins)? When Danny Rand becomes Dani Rand, their power is lessened. What is important to them ceases to be the focus of the discussion. Creation and curatorship can work in tandom, but typically, in fandom, they are on opposite poles.
This is not to say that there aren’t brilliant male cosplayers or smashing female trivia experts, this is to say that the need of the individual fan is met with opposing concepts: In order for me to find myself in comics, I need to make that space for myself, and that is a creative force. Het white cis males are more likely to do anything possible to defend and preserve the canon because the canon is built to cater to them.
A vintage NASA-commissioned Rick Guidice painting gives a cutaway view of the inside of a space colony design known as the Stanford torus, a proposed habitat that would house 10,000 to 140,000 permanent residents. The rotating, doughnut-shaped ring could have a diameter of around 2 kilometers, revolving once per minute to give about 1.0g of artificial gravity on the inside of the ring through centripetal force. A massive system of mirrors would provide the sunlight needed for daily activity, agriculture, and so forth. (NASA Ames Research Center)