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Gender Dimorphism: Twisted Tale of Animation

Unrealistic body standards aren't unheard of in the media. However, why is there a need for them to exist in animation? Why are Jessica Rabbit and Betty Boop so sexualized? Why are their eyes bigger than their waist?

Gender dimorphism in animation exists to provide different characteristics to male and female characters in an attempt to differentiate them. The "princess formula" is applied to female characters to accentuate their eyes, make their chins and nose smaller, and give them bigger eyelashes. A child-like face is given to female characters to make them universally beautiful. Similarly, men are massively muscled, given huge hands with towering heights.

Many people view these exaggerated features as being problematic as they shape gender performance. A definition of 'normal' is created that needs to be followed where men are bigger and stronger and women are smaller and weaker. An idea of what perfect a couple ought to look like is also formed shaping audience expectations.

What do you think of gender dimorphism? Is it a big deal or is it just a form of art? Does it really have the power to shape reality and expectations?








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OMG I agree! Why do you need to show genders of the animals, why does a lioness need lashes and eyeliners, and why do male animals have obscenely large noses while the female ones get petite noses.


And in animation, my most traumatizing experience was with the winx club characters and their physiques! It truly does shape reality and experiences

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Ali Roman 23110148
Ali Roman 23110148
Dec 07, 2020

This is something I feel very strongly about. I really don't understand why creators feel the need to always present body types in binaries as if there isn't a large spectrum of human beings that fit into a million different type of moulds. I notice this problematic representation so much that when I come across certain anime that dont have an overly buff male protagonist or overly "kawaii" female protagonist, it actually makes me like the show more (regardless of the plotline lol). I really wish creators could start NORMALIZING different body types not just in animations but also in Tv shows and movies (and even backup dancers for popular singers)

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As much as this ruins my childhood, it’s so true and upsetting that I’ve carried all these unrealistic expectations cause of movies I watched in my childhood, especially Disney!

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Neha Ramchand
Neha Ramchand
Nov 30, 2020

Princesses are always shown as having the smallest, most unrealistic waist! I remember a few years ago there was this video where a girl who already had a very small waist, worse the tightest corset to recreate a princess look and then proceeded to talk about the unrealistic expectations it sets for girls from such a young age. That you have to be thin, small waist, face like a button, and delicate features and what not. I think it needs to be paid more attention to, it really shapes how one thinks, especially when watching cartoons (at a young age).

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I had never thought of animated movies through this perspective but now that I think of it it is so true. Every movie has male dominating and female submissive characters and this is very problematic as these animated movies shape the thoughts of children mostly.

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