Sunday, January 31, 2010

THE GIRLS OF ANIMATION

The first time I walked into an animation studio, (and this wasn't  the 30s, the 50s or even the 70s), I was met by wolf whistles, howls and loud catcalls.  Yikes.  
I quickly checked but no, I wasn’t wearing my high-cut hot pants, low-cut spangly top or translucent platform shoes and my rhinestone-studded thong wasn’t showing either.  Heck, my hair wasn't even blond that day. I wore jeans and a baggy white T-shirt, the animator’s uniform; in one hand I proudly clutched my film (produced, written, designed and directed by me) and in the other, my art portfolio. 
   My appointment was with the head of the studio, who'd heard all this ruckus when he came out to greet me. I looked at him, expecting at least a frown at this behavior, but no, he just smiled and chortled at his unruly boys, smoothed his hair and showed me into his office.
   “What can I do for you, honey?” he asked, his toothy smile unfolding above his splayed collar and gold necklace.
   When I told him I wanted to be a director, he laughed so much I thought he was having a heart attack. When he pulled himself together, he said soothingly:
    “There are so few directors, honey,” he said “And so many other jobs. Why don’t you do cleanup?”
   At the end of the interview, Huggy ran his hand down my arm and looked at my chest, murmuring, “Mmmmm.”
   Had I taken a wrong turn down the career rabbit hole?
   I thought the interview was an aberration, little did I know it was a harbinger of things to come. I just wanted to animate, to make people laugh and cry with my pencil, not to spend my time being harassed and patronised.
   Think this stuff doesn’t still go on in 2010?  Check out these links, note the denials and the vehement anonymous comments:

CORALINE production too much of a boys-only club
BILL and JOE explain where women belong in animation
FEMALE artists at Disney had to work in Ink and Paint
BRENDA CHAPMAN fired from Pixar's "Brave"

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