20 10 / 2014
BINGO. This is the precise issue that has been bothering me about The Book of Life, ever since I saw promos for it. Not the indie soundtrack for the trailer, not even my concern that it might be like ‘The Corpse Bride’ - the sameface syndrome for the women. I also believe that sameface should be called out more often, even if you’re super excited for a movie/show/whatever. It doesn’t make it inherently bad or deride its value, it just reflects an ongoing issue in the animation industry.
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.
I still really want to see Book of Life, but the women in this movie are so homogenous it’s confusing. Every time I’ve seen La Muerte in the promotional materials my brain immediately registered her as Maria with a painted face.
12 10 / 2014
02 10 / 2014
14 9 / 2014
My Least Favorite Trope (and this post will include spoilers for The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Matrix, Western Civilization, and—cod help me—Bulletproof Monk*.) is the thing where there’s an awesome, smart, wonderful, powerful female character who by all rights ought to be the Chosen One and the hero of the movie, who is tasked with taking care of some generally ineffectual male character who is, for reasons of wish fulfillment, actually the person the film focuses on. She mentors him, she teaches him, and she inevitably becomes his girlfriend… and he gets the job she wanted: he gets to be the Chosen One even though she’s obviously far more qualified. And all he has to do to get it and deserve it is Man Up and Take Responsibility.
And that’s it. Every god-damned time. The mere fact of naming the films above and naming the trope gives away the entire plot and character arc of every single movie."
whoo boy am I sick of this, yuuuup
The Lego Movie was LITERALLY this trope, no matter how much it tried to be tongue-in-cheek about it.
I also didn’t get why there was excitement about Wonder Woman being featured, when she had even less screen time than Superman (let alone Batman).
11 9 / 2014