The first thing that comes to mind when the terms “gender standards”, “gender roles”, or “gender norms” appear is typically women. It makes sense. For centuries women were oppressed by the patriarchy, unable to get an education, work, or own land. Women were expected to conform to society’s constructs of femininity. But as time has progressed, so have society’s standards. Today, women are gradually gaining equality and earning their freedom. However, in order for there to ever be true equality, equal amounts of attention must be paid to the social issues of both women and men–regardless of which has been the oppressor and which has been the oppressed. Prioritizing the issues of one gender over another can prove to be detrimental in the fight for social freedom and the removal of labels.
I believe that a key part of misogyny stems from the pressure that men face to be considered “manly”. This is why rather than having a female protagonist, I chose to use a male protagonist in my GIF. The GIF’s handmade quality is meant to communicate authenticity while the comedic narrative is meant to lighten the mood while addressing a serious topic. Paper dolls are generally associated as something feminine yet the character is male. The character appears to be female at first but after the removal of makeup and a wig, the audience discovers that they have been watching a male this entire time. Most who see the GIF would be surprised at the plot twist, but not offended. Most likely, they would laugh at the character’s antics. This reaction, paired with the GIF’s contradictions of the concept of male and female, are meant illustrate the decay of society’s gender standards and the evolution of our society as a whole.
I finished the GIF yesterday but I think I’m just going to let everything marinate for a little bit in my brain, check on the gif one last time tomorrow in class, and then finalize and post the finished product.
After doing this project, I have a much deeper appreciation and understanding for animators. The amount of preplanning and finagling with the multiple layers in Photoshop just about short circuited my brain. I still haven’t gotten used to the workflow of animation. The things that I spent hours on only amounted to fractions of a second in the GIF. It’s a little frustrating to think about. And while I’ve been vowing to never EVER make something like this again, a small part of me is now rethinking that because the end product is quite fun.
I’ve also grown a bit more confident in my rendering skills after completing this project. I kept telling myself that I wouldn’t be able to create a decent looking character and as a result, every success I had became a surprise. I ventured outside of my comfort zone. Usually, I avoid drawing like the plague because I always feel that the work resulting from my drawings looks tacky and childish. Or maybe it actually doesn’t and this is all just some crazy illusion in my head. Who knows.
Speaking of childish, I’m glad I decided to portray the subject matter in a lighthearted sort of way. In retrospect, I don’t think there was any other way that I could have gone about it. The handmade aspect of it also added a sense of authenticity and tangibility to it. The goal was to display the concept of a decay in stereotypical gender roles as a good thing (without actually having to literally say that it was good). I think the lighthearted GIF subtly implies this. The implication lies in the fact that anyone today who sees this GIF would think it’s cute and laugh. Most would not be offended or surprised by it. That reaction in itself shows how our society as a whole has progressed. I could have also just as easily done a gif with a female protagonist. But I didn’t. That’s because while I do firmly believe in women’s rights and equality between the sexes, I think that sometimes we forget the social pressures that men also face to be masculine. I believe that in order for there to be true equality, we need to pay equal attention to the problems of both sexes. The use of a male as my protagonist for this gif rather than a female was because I just wanted to portray what I felt was a slightly less thought about side of things and use that as a depiction of the change in gender norms.
For some reason, WordPress wouldn’t let me update my last progress post so I had to make a new one. Anyways, this is how far I’ve gotten in the last 2 hours. This has literally been the most frustrating thing ever. The most difficult part is finagling the layers so that none of the previous frames get mess up.
The two websites I linked above also really helped with their tutorials and tips. I’ve realized that it’s not possible for me to actually make the paper figures that I was going to make because of the time crunch that I’m on. I’m also too broke [can also be read as cheap] to go out and buy all of the supplies that I would need to make everything. So I’m going to use Photoshop and Illustrator to mimic the qualities of an actual paper illustration.
These are the paper textures that I used for my project. They can be found on the Every Tuesday Blog that I have linked up above. You can also click on the images to be taken to the page for a free download.
So I’m thinking that I want to make my gif in the style of a paper illustration/animation. It’s something I’ve always been fascinated by. I love all of the texture, details, and layers involved. It’s definitely something that will take a lot of preplanning. And knowing me, I’ll get caught up in the details of getting every piece that I cut out perfect. I predict all nighters in my near future. Things are gonna get messy. There’s a 99.99999% chance I may just go insane. It will be a race against time.
Go big or go home you know?
Anyways, here are some pictures of inspiration that I’ve gathered so far.
I really admire Nancy Liang’s craftsmanship. The textures here are definitely one of my favorite parts. Her website (http://cargocollective.com/nliang) is also insane. Who needs boys to fall in love with when you have Liang’s paper gifs and other paper illustrations?
The sense of movement and use of negative space for patterns is 430948/10.
This is the kind of thing I would want to turn in as a project for one of my studio classes but I would NEVER have the time to finish.