What happens when we experience the world through male artists?

Animator and I are in a debate which I just blogged about, and in response, he sent me a link to to a post about Joanna Quinn, one of the top animators in Europe.


Here’s Quinn’s quote in response to DiSalvo’s comment:

It’s not at all hard to draw women showing emotions. The only challenge is the notion of beauty. It’s really hard to inject lots of emotion because you’re always trying to keep them [as] this sort of shiny, lovely character. I am looking for strong female characters that are not always gorgeous.


So there’s yet another established artist referring to the need for female characters to be pretty.


As I so often do on this blog, I ask again: What is “pretty”? For a male protagonist, his attractiveness is often determined in a narrative by his actions. Rescuing someone, risking pursuing a dream, brilliance, talent, excelling at a sport or at a skill, is all attractive. While for a female character, her “attractiveness” is usually primarily determined by how well her appearance fits into a limited definition of physical beauty.


Animator directed me to Joanna Quinn’s site, writing that I would enjoy her work. I do! Please check it out, and think about what our world would look like if female artists dominated our cultural imaginary the way male artists do. How differently would we see women and how differently would we see men? For thousands of years, females have been limited to supporting roles in stories that star men. Don’t you think it’s about time for that to change? At least, for our kids?