Same face syndrome in female characters in Western animated films.

Same-face syndrome refers to a trend in illustration and animation towards deriving different characters from the same model. While this is seen as an amateurish way to do things, we consistently see it in the work of big studios such as Disney. In Frozen (2013), Elsa, Anna, and their mother all have the exact same facial structure, and share that facial structure with Rapunzel from Tangled (2010), then Honey Lemon and Aunt Cass from Big Hero 6 (2014). Meanwhile, male characters from the same films all have unique identifying features apart from their clothes and hair colour.

Why do the same facial features (tiny nose, big forehead and eyes, heart-shaped face) keep on coming up for female protagonists in Disney films?

  • You can discuss one of the evident reasons: imparting beauty. There's a way in which females in animation look beautiful (tiny nose, big forehead and eyes, heart-shape or v-shaped face). It could be seen in Japanese anime as well. Just like with the body, the male-female characters are quite predictable. Females would have hourglass-shaped bodies while males all look different. That's also a measure to make the females look even more beautiful. The same syndrome is in play here. Interesting topic to discuss. – Abhimanyu Shekhar 7 years ago
  • Studies have shown that when subjects are asked to pick the most attractive female features from many options for the purposes of creating an ideally beautiful female face, the lips and face shape are those of an adult woman, while the eyes and nose skew very young, in the 12-year-old range. It speaks to many different issues -- ageism, for one, but it's pretty clear that the Disney female characters are being built according to this model. Not consciously, I'm sure. But the "big eyes" thing makes the Princesses look younger and more innocent, as well as reading to the audience as "attractive". – Monique 7 years ago
  • Diversity should be a huge focus here. We need need more representation of minorites in general. Also, without pandering. – Joseph Manduke IV 7 years ago
  • Definitely an interesting topic to discuss. Disney is almost infamous for re-using old animation weather it is just body structure, in dance scenes or characters (such as goofy and Donald in the little mermaid.) As a counter argument you could say it is a way for disney to save money by re-using the old animation as they have so many prominent female characters. I defiantly would also discuss how this image being projected on young girls could affect their ideas and thoughts on what beauty is, with big eyes small noes..ect – nicolewy 7 years ago
  • I think this is an interesting title because while I recognize the syndrome as i'll call it. I also see it in eastern animation as well. It's something someone pointed out to me almost 10 years ago in life action media. "It's not that everyone in hollywood looks the same, it's like the casting director is casting from the same picture". If you're looking for a highlighting picture there's one that does the job perfectly. In The Big Bang Theory 8x20 "The Fortification Implementation" in the end of the episode Penny goes to audition for a role and when she opens the door everyone in the room is a skinny white blonde girl like her. --- It would be interesting to play devil's advocate and argue that sameification is representative. Different cultures will express sameification differently. Perhaps in American the blonde bombshell is the goal and perhaps in India the bold and fearless is the preferred type. You can look at what sameification says about the cultural standards. What does it project to other cultures. – wolfkin 7 years ago
  • Another thing that should be pointed out is that this wasn't the first time Disney made cut costs or had coincidences on similar designs when you look through the history, for example, Disney's Robin Hood has the exact same outfit as Peter Pan's. Another interesting factor to point out is that this hasn't happened to just women in film, but even men. Best shown in the animated Don Bluth films when you look at the men in films like Thumbelina, Anastasia, and Titan A.E., the leading male look almost exactly the same. And one more think I like to add, though I might be alone on this, while I do get the importance what the topic is striving for, the topic also infamously started a gigantic flame war among the internet community. People taking the topic WAY out of proportion as an excuse to hate the film, and attack anyone who enjoys the film, claiming them to be sexist. Its an ugly issue where a quote was misinterpreted and taken WAY out of context even though the intentions to bring more diversity in female designs in disney films is progressively positive. – Ryan Walsh 7 years ago

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