Like live action television, adult animation has been dominated by men behind the scenes. Onscreen, women are often seen in the usual supporting roles of mother, wife, sister, or sexy fantasy girlfriend.
Now, adult animation has opened up to include:
New styles of animation
Content that pushed the boundaries
More female creators
Women in stronger, more central roles on screen
Of the top 100 animated TV series in 2018* only 17% of animated show creators were women and only 39% of the characters were women. Of those, only 12% were women on color.
Diversity in voicing has been inconsistent. Big Mouth, Central Park, and Bojack Horseman have been called out for casting white actors to voice diverse characters. Big Mouth and Central Park recast those actors and Bojack Horseman ended before making a change While animation allows for more suspension of disbelief, that is not an excuse for a lack of diversity or for casting white actors for diverse roles.
Animation should be held to the same standards as live action in terms of diversity and gender representation.
When watching adult animation ask yourself:
Are women in leadership roles behind the camera?
Are they in central roles on screen?
How are women on screen portrayed, particularly compared to their male counterparts?
Who are voicing the characters onscreen, and is there true representation?
*Not limited to adult animation. Data from USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative