Are animated women stuck in the fifties?

Kennedy-Parr, Sarah Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9770-1799 (2020) Are animated women stuck in the fifties? In: Animafest Scanner VII 29th - 30th September - Symposium for Contemporary Animation Studies, 29th - 30th September 2020, Zagreb. (Unpublished)

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There is a lack of women working in key creative roles in the animation industry in the UK and America. Since 1990 in the UK there have only been 6.5% of animation series created, written and directed by women. The impact of this lack of women writers and creators affects the kind of content being created particularly in the adult market. Starting with The Jetsons in 1962 and ending with American Dad in 2014, all these primetime sitcoms have one thing in common – a mother character who is a happy to be a stay at home ‘mom’ and is the voice of reason within the family. This idea of the ‘fifties’ housewife is the mainstay for all of these cartoons across the decades from The Flintstones to The Simpsons. Tom Shale from the Washington Post cites The Simpsons as America’s ‘favourite family’ yet their family structure doesn’t take into account many family structures today – single mothers, single dads, or same sex couples. My paper will examine why this character and social set up is still so popular in animation when ‘live action’ shows such as Absolutely Fabulous, Will and Grace , Motherland, The Golden Girls or Fleabag embrace more radical notions of femininity, and motherhood.

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