A while ago, I wrote a long-ass article about a certain animated movie’s less-than-stellar treatment of its female character designs. It was not the first, last, or most popular post on the subject, but it did get over 19,000 notes, which is about 18,900 notes more than I thought it would get. By now, everyone is sick to death of hearing about Frozen, and especially about how all the women look the same. So rest assured that I’m not here today to talk about Frozen again.
Instead, I’m here to talk about The Book of Life.
People seem to be getting pretty hyped about this movie, and why shouldn’t they? It’s a film about Mexican culture with an actual Mexican director, and the visual style is certainly a far cry from anything that Disney has ever done. But upon my first viewing of the trailer, I couldn’t help but notice something.
Once again, all of the female characters have the Exact Same Face.
Okay, when I say the Exact Same Face, I don’t mean that their faces are literally exactly the same. What I do mean that if the only difference between their faces is that one has slightly more curved eyes on the top, or one has their nose and mouth placed four millimeters lower, than we have a problem…especially when the male characters look like this:
Last time, we examined why Sameface Syndrome occurs (hint: it’s not about laziness!) and I explained that it’s much more common for it to happen to women than men, since it’s tied to female beauty standards. But what exactly are those beauty standards, and why does the ubiquitous Exact Same Face appear across films and studios in a similar form every time?
Friends, welcome to the wonderful world of gender dimorphism.