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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

curated: seven white guys mansplain gender and ethnic diversity onscreen


  • Dent

    You know, if they wanted to talk about diversity and subverting genera tropes in children’s media they should have talked to Rebecca Sugar. Her show “Steven Universe” teaches kids about consent with magic. Instead of getting into giant robots to fight evil the powered characters on the show (who exepting the lead are all women) fuse their bodies and personalities into giant multi-limbed superheroes. By essentially personifying close emotional relationships Rebecca Sugar sets up a way to approach unhealthy and damaging examples without having to include adult language.

    The show isn’t perfect but at least it’s creative.

  • bronxbee

    they should talk to the organization Women in Animation… a group that encourages women to voice, make and produce animation.

  • amanohyo

    That’s a good example – Stephen Universe is also unique among western children’s cartoons in the way it frames its violence with emotionally complex and authentic backstories – a “romantic” violence typical of the action shoujo/yuri anime that Sugar was inspired by, like Sailor Moon and Utena. SU also employs the anime tropes of bad guys joining good guys after being defeated and vice versa, a stereotypically Asian approach to good and evil.

    However unlike most anime and western cartoons, there is an overall sense of warmth and safety that permeates the writing and art style that contributes to the quality you mentioned – the ability to provide children with an emotional education in the context of healthy and unhealthy relationships (Adventure Time also has this quality to a lesser degree). Harem anime typically glorifies objectification and oversimplification in unhealthy relationships. I like to think of SU as an anti-harem anime. It does slip into melodrama from time to time, but it’s a unique show and I hope that as women reach higher levels at animation studios we’ll see more mold-breaking children’s programming. It might take a while though – I stumbled on this depressing list while trying to think of other powerful women at animation studios:


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