April 9, 2009

Feminism in Cartoons

My inner geek would scold me if I did not send you over to this post at Shakesville, though I have to admit I was a bit surprised when I read it. How often does one open one's inbox to find a feminist critique of one's favorite childhood cartoons?

The post is mostly an in-depth critique of Disney's Kim Possible, which I liked as a kid but actually did not pay enough attention to to notice most of the things he pointed out. However, then it goes on to talk about Avatar.

Would I have watched all of Avatar of my own free will? I'm not sure. But my best friend is madly, deeply in love with the show, so watching it took up most of my first 2 or 3 years of high school.

An excerpt of this fine review:

The women of Avatar display the fullness of variety and humanity that fictional women are so often denied: They're brave, funny, gross, wiseass, overbearing, smart overall with moments of extreme stupidity, vengeful, angry, as sexual as kids' TV will allow them to be (they actually get a fair bit past the radar) – the only thing they have in common is they are all extremely (in some cases terrifyingly) badass. Their power level ranges from "God-stomping" to "Badass Normal," and for once there's more of the former (not that the Normals can't more than hold their ground). What's more, they get to use that power in effective ways, rather than being reduced to really impressive damsels in distress so the boys can look heroic. Better yet, they're not mere tokens: Except for the first season, when the core cast totaled three, the ratio of men to women has been kept scrupulously equal.

So now I'm trying to think of other kid's shows that I liked that had genuinely feminist characters. The only one that came to mind was Teen Titans; the female characters were pretty badass; they had the cliche obligatory flaws that got the team into trouble, but so did the guys.

I miss that show. I saw it on Boomerang the other day and felt really old.

Any other examples of feminist cartoons?

1 comment:

Emy Augustus said...

well i would love to find out more about this cuz i am really curious about feminist analyses of certain cartoons. Like Jane and the Dragon. Is that feminist because Jane is a rebel? Or is it really not because she's just trying to be more like a man?