An Idea for my Essay

Title: Gender Stereotyping and Heteronormativity in Animation

Research Question: Why are specific genders and sexualities associated with certain character archetypes and will the modern animation industry be able to break these associations?

Within this article I would like to examine the character archetypes set out in ‘The Writers Journey’ and how these archetypes have been used through out animation. I would like to write about why gender stereotyping has become a huge problem with these character archetypes as well as why Heterosexual relationships are presented as the only option in many animations. I would also like to look at how in Animations made in the last decade these ideas are changing and some of the stereotypes previously associated with some character archetypes are now being broken.

A few examples of specific areas I would like to look into are;
1. The Passive Princesses and Nameless Princes of Disney

2. How in some animations if a characters sexuality deviates from Heterosexuality it is often used as a joke or only alluded to rather than fully made an example of (See How to Train your Dragon 2 and Paranorman)

3. I would also like to look at the idea of the Female Heroine and how certain Directors and Studios (Ghibli) Have often had strong female characters in the past and how it is only in more recent animations that other studios (Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks) Have begun creating stronger more independent female characters.

Some of the films I would like to examine are;
1. Paranorman
2. Brave
3. How to train your dragon
4. The Croods
5. Nausicaa of The Valley of The Wind
6. Princess Mononoke

I believe these films have good examples of strong female characters (Astrid, Eep, Mononoke) and characters where their sexuality does not follow the normal Heterosexual pattern as in many other animations. I am also going to use, ‘The Writers Journey’ to examine character the roles of characters throughout this essay.

In this article I would like to begin by writing an analysis of which character archetypes apply to each of the main characters in the animations I have chosen. I would also like to make reference to how many of the female characters in these films are complete opposites of some of Disney’s Classic Princesses. I would also like to look at how the sexuality of some characters is left ambiguous or even outright stated as being homosexual, this also includes looking at the potential for Merida from Brave to be an asexual character. I am going to write an analysis of why in many Ghibli movies female characters were given more power and influence and are aligned with Nature. While male characters are aligned with Human influence and have less impact over the plot than their female counterparts. Whereas in many Western animations plot was mainly driven by the influence of a male character while a female character had action happen passively around her. To conclude my article I would like to explain how more animations in order to become relevant to a modern audience are now breaking with most stereotypes particularly when it comes to gender and sexuality.


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