The Queens of Animation

The Queens of Animation In The Queens Of Animation, Bestselling Author Nathalia Holt Recounts The Dramatic Stories Of An Incredibly Influential Group Of Women Who Have Slipped Under The Radar For Decades But Have Touched All Our Lives These Women Infiltrated The All Male Domain Of Disney Studios And Used Early Technologies To Create The Rich Artwork And Iconic Storylines That Would Reach Millions Of Viewers Across Generations Over The Decades While Battling Sexism, Domestic Abuse, And Workplace Harassment These Women Also Fought To Influence The Way Female Characters Are Depicted To Young AudiencesBased On Extensive Interviews And Exclusive Access To Archival And Personal Documents, The Queens Of Animation Tells The Story Of Their Vital Contribution To Disney S Golden Age And Their Continued Impact On Animated Filmmaking, Culminating In The Record Shattering Frozen, Disney S First Female Directed Full Length Feature Film

Nathalia Holt, Ph.D is a science writer and the New York Times bestselling author of Cured The People who Defeated HIV and Rise of the Rocket Girls The Women Who Propelled Us from Missiles to the Moon to Mars Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Popular Science, and Time She has trained at the Ragon Institute

[PDF / Epub] ☄ The Queens of Animation  Author Nathalia Holt –
  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • The Queens of Animation
  • Nathalia Holt
  • 04 March 2019

10 thoughts on “The Queens of Animation

  1. says:

    The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt is a 2019 Little Brown publication.Although it is long overdue, it is still nice to see the women who worked on many of the classic Disney films we all know, and love, finally receiving public acknowledgement for their contributions Grace Huntington, Retta Scott, Sylvia Holland, Bianca Majolie, and Mary Blair are the women profiled in this book, which also follows a timeline, beginning in 1936 and ending in 2013 The movies these ladies helped to develop, the influence they had on the process of creating these classic films, and the myriad of challenges they faced professionally and personally, are woven into the climate and history of the Disney studio The book is interesting, especially the creative process, which is perhaps the most enlightening aspect of the book, for me That doesn t mean I missed the author s message, or that I didn t find it important, just that I found the art and the talent these ladies were blessed with fascinating I also enjoyed the trip down memory lane, remembering the films that brought me such joy as a child.The author chose these women to write about because they did a lot of important work on these films and their involvement was invaluable to their success, but unlike today, when even the smallest contribution can earn an accreditation, these ladies were ignored Not only that, their ideas were stolen by their male colleagues, and they often worked under hostile conditions, and were sexually harassed This slight, is a wrong the author is trying to draw our attention to, so yes, this book has a specific intent and the author is attempting to make a direct point However, at times she underlined the issue too forcefully, and was a little too heavy handed, which, unfortunately, gave the book an impersonal tone The book is also a bit disorganized and all over the place at times, and feels rushed through in places, as well That said, I enjoyed learning about this hidden history of Disney The process of change for women, and even for non white males, was a slow one It took years before women were acknowledged and given freedom and control at the studio But the conclusion is an upbeat, inspirational one, showing the great strides women have taken, the impact they had in shaping Disney, which eventually culminated with the first female directed Disney Film Frozen Despite some warbles here and there, I thought this was an interesting book I admire the creativity of these animators and am very happy to see them finally getting the recognition they richly deserve Overall 3.5 round up.

  2. says:

    Note I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review The rise of women in the workplace, no matter what side of the world it occurred on, was frightening to some men, and they approached the perceived threat much as toddlers would a monster under the bed by crying about it Nathalia Holt s book tells the story of the women who helped shape the early days of Disney Studios and its projects Before reading this, I only knew about Mary Blair, but was very excited to learn about other women, including Bianca Majolie, Sylvia Holland, and Retta Scott Their stories were eye opening, to say the least Their contributions to Disney films such as Snow White, Bambi, Cinderella, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Peter Pan and even Saludos Amigos are criminally understated and unknown I would go so far as to say that these works wouldn t have existed without the talent and creativity of these women These queens of animation had incredible hurdles to overcome, including pay inequity and their male coworkers stealing their ideas, but they persisted and helped make the studio into what it is.Reading about the horrors of sexism and misogyny that they had to endure was especially harrowing One incident that stood out was when Holt detailed at time that Majolie brought up one of her ideas at a storyboarding meeting, and Disney disliked the idea so much that he ripped up her sketches The other men in the meeting began jeering at her, and Majolie ran out of the room and locked herself in her office The men followed, eager to hurl further abuse at her, and actually broke down her wooden office door to yell at her some Disney reportedly said of the incident that it was one of the reasons that the studio shouldn t hire women, as they couldn t take a little criticism The Queens of Animation is an ambitious, engrossing book, covering aspects of Disney Studios history that many, including myself, would be unaware of World and domestic politics, World War II, efforts to unionize, the shifting role of women in society and the workforce, money, segregation and racism So much contributed to the path that Disney Studios took with its early work.Holt also forces the reader to confront uncomfortable truths about many of those involved with Disney Studios, from artists and animators complacency in the face of racism and misogyny to Walt Disney himself A moment that resonated with me was when Holt questions whether Mary Blair, a favorite of Disney s, could have utilized her privilege to speak out on the racism inherent in Song of the South, one of if not the most controversial Disney pieces This made for compelling if tough reading, and I m thankful for Holt bringing attention to social justice issues as well as the women who helped shape Disney Studios and its classics.The Queens of Animation will be released on October 22, 2019.

  3. says:

    I consider myself very lucky to have grown up during the Disney Renaissance The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc I have been a Disney nerd ever since As soon as I saw The Queens of Animation was going to be releasing this fall, I knew I needed to read it Thank you littlebrown partner Pub Day 10 22 2019.The Queens of Animation explores the often unacknowledged role of women in the history Disney Animation 1930s present..I really enjoyed this book While the structure of the book is the timeline of the studio s history, Holt does a great job weaving individual women s stories into the timeline She maintains a balance of discussing the women s contributions while also telling the history of each film, technological advances and hardships these women had to overcome personally and professionally What was most fascinating was the glacial pace at which women were given credit or even fully appreciated for their work Even as late as the 90s, Disney was still considered a boys club Holt also offers interesting perspective on the evolution of female characters in Disney movies from damsels in distress that need to be saved by a prince to independent fighters Mulan, Merida, Moana There weren t many downsides to this book I will say there is a decent amount of technical talk about cameras, technology, and animation that may make some glaze over I find it fascinating There were just a handful of anecdotes about some of the women that didn t move the book along, but did paint a better picture of who they were..Overall, this was a very interesting and fascinating perspective on Disney Animation history Now, please excuse me while I watch every Disney and Pixar movie.

  4. says:

    I was interested in the biography aspects of lesser known employees at Walt Disney Studio in the early years But what we have here is a book with an agenda so thick, that this isn t a biography so much as a platform to scream white men are pigs The women and non white males are made out to be god s gift to the world read angelic and perfect and supremely talented while the obviously Caucasian men either refuse to do work, jeer at everyone, go to parties, create the worst aspects of Disney films, or have special club areas that no one else can attain so they can lounge do nothing The irony to me is that this book is the exact same thing it purports to abhor it s just as one dimensional in its thinking at the misogynistic racist men it is lambasting I want a biography, not a soap box that over idealizes its subjects into absolute sainthood and turns every one else into cartoonish oafs.Kudos to the women and non white males who had to work in the Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s 1960s and deal with so many obstacles I would have liked to have read their stories but the focus in this book is squarely on misogyny and racism aspects of the Walt Disney Studios The biographies here are just props and so over exaggerated as to be non believable The irony for me is that I consider myself a liberal female and even I could not stop rolling my eyes through it all.

  5. says:

    Won from a Goodreads Giveaway On Sale October 22, 2019Very informative, The Queens of Animation tells the story of the women who worked on and influenced Disney animated films from the very early days to Frozen and beyond Their place at Disney was tentative, an uphill battle, and rife with misogyny, jealousy, and vindictiveness Not a picture of Disney any of us would ever dream of but one echoed throughout the workplace especially in those early days I really enjoyed reading about the various women s work on the films As a fan of Fantasia, I particularly enjoyed learning why I enjoyed the sequence with the fairies, which was headed by a woman and comprised by a nearly all woman team, as the majority of men at the time viewed drawing fairies as unmanly and abhorrent It also opened my eyes to why I never liked the Pastoral scene, spearheaded and comprised of men the sequence is misogynistic and originally contained an extremely racist depiction of a character.The story and antidotes held my interest and I was immersed in the book The drawbacks will, I hope, be fixed in the final draft as this is an Uncorrected Proof copy The opening of the book where Bianca Majolie s work is torn to shreds by Walt Disney and her door is broken down by the men on her team so they can poke fun at her in her despair was strange and felt really off Especially since it felt like a dream, nightmare really I wasn t even sure it wasn t a bad dream until much later in the text as it isn t made clear.I had a hard time with the transitions which were abrupt when they even existed The author occasionally let her personal feelings peek out in the text but that s not necessarily a bad thing as long as the vitriol is watched I would also like to see pictures in the final draft I have no idea if that is the intent or not This copy only has a few of some of the women from the early days More pictures of the women, particularly of them going about their work, if there are any, and pictures of their art would be a welcome addition I would love to have seen the gorgeous artwork that is spoken of, especially the work of Mary Blair.The Queens of Animation is definitely a story that needs to be told I can t believe there are few to no references to the women who contributed to Disney animated films in the existing biographies and such So sad that even today they are excluded I haven t read any of them, this is just from what Nathalia Holt mentions in this book.

  6. says:

    I received a free copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway The Queens of Animation is the story of Disney s female workforce over the course of the company s history Like other works discussing women s history in the 20 th century this one follows the big historical events struggles through the depression, expansion of women s roles in the WwII homefront, post war regression and changes brought forced by technological advance.For Disney it seems nothing is new, every film was considered years or decades ago Tokenism still seems present as well as the battles to portray female characters realistically.What I did not expect was how little I was able to differentiate between all of the women featured in this book Mary had to contend with domestic abuse, but is the only one who s name I remember One of the others really really wanted to be a pilot, several were single mothers working to keep there children All were driven and talented.Readers are provided many brief biographies, but many seem to flitter away as soon as they re introduced.In discussing the culture of the workplace, it is made clear that it was male dominated and focused, with credit typically going to men aside from a few, rare credits What we would now call sexual harassment or a hostile workplace are detailed, or remembered by anecdote, but not given a whole lot of analysis or discussion The removal of John Lasseter gets a mention but only that.As is often for books like this, the earlier history is told in great depth, but as the book continues explanations and depth of coverage are lessened as we approach modern day I would have liked to hear about the development of many of the films, or learn about motivations of those involved as possible by documentation.Not a book I plan to recommend to anyone It is not comprehensive enough to be a history of Disney nor is it that effective in meeting its title, I feel there is still much of this story to tell.

  7. says:

    Hoping there would be something about Mary Blair.

  8. says:

    Read if you Are a Disney fan, interested in entertainment history, or just want a fabulous read about incredible women. For many of us, no matter our nationality, age, or ethnicity, Disney movies were a staple in our childhood and can serve as a connection between the generations From 1937 s Snow White, 1950 s Cinderella, 1991 s Beauty and the Beast, and 2013 s Frozen, Disney s animated feature films have been loved, criticized, analyzed, and reintroduced to new audiences over the years And is any first time trip to Disney complete without enduring the dreaded earworm that is It s a Small World These movies and attraction would not have been possible without the groundbreaking work of female Disney animators, art directors, screenwriters, and visionaries Their little known stories are brought to life through the brilliant writing of Nathalia Holt, who tells of their dreams, accomplishments, heartbreaks, struggles, and triumphs in this extraordinary read After learning of the astonishing Mary Blair s anguish poured out in the Baby Mine scene from Dumbo, Ellen Woodbury s hilarious creation of Zazu in The Lion King, Brenda Chapman becoming the first woman to win the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar for Brave and dedicating her win to her daughter , and Jennifer Lee organizing a women s only Sister Summit for Disney employees to discuss the bonds and difficulties of sisterhood during the creation of Frozen, you will be tempted to run through the highlights of the Disney canon in order to see these movies with fresh eyes even the ones you might view as problematic, like Cinderella, or emotionally fraught, like Bambi Holt does not shy away from discussing racial stereotypes in Song of the South and Peter Pan, so this is definitely not fan service It is filled with stories of fascinating women who broke down barriers, overcame obstacles, and made their marks on entertainment history Many thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Edelweiss for a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  9. says:

    This is the second and last book that I have read by this author She has a gift for taking potentially terrific material about little known women and making a hash of it Interesting tidbits here, such George Balanchine s role in the creation of the Nutcracker scenes in Fantasia, and how that may have been the seeds of his later staging of what is now THE holiday ballet, get lost, and as in her previous book, so do the women she seeks to honor.

  10. says:

    The Queens of Animation offers a chronological view of the lives and work of women writers and artists at Disney studios, from Snow White to Frozen Author Nathalia Holt presents their story sympathetically, detailing the slights they experienced, such as being left out of film credits and receiving far lower pay than their male counterparts Holt describes the boy s club atmosphere that permeated the studio throughout much of the twentieth century there was in fact a Disney club only for top male animators and executives and how sometimes women managed creative and artistic triumphs despite this, while at other times they were thwarted, frustrated, and even driven to desperation While there are many names and storylines to follow in this history, Holt does an admirable job of making clear who s who and presenting the women she describes as complex and memorable people The most compelling figure is perhaps Mary Blair, whose colorful, modern artwork informed Disney animation for decades even as she faced sexism at work and personal tragedy at home Holt is likely at her best in describing the era when Disney animation was at its midcentury peak, though I may have found this to be the meatiest and most enjoyable part of her work because my own favorite Disney films were produced in this era But as overt sexism begins to wane in the late twentieth century, one of the central themes of the author s work begins to fade from view, and I can t help but think that the book might have been stronger if it had been shorter and focused strictly on the first thirty years or so of women s experiences with the studio.Some may find that Holt s description of the men at the studio to be over the top or a pile on but the women of Disney clearly suffered in a climate where they were often not paid like their male colleagues, respected as they were, nor empowered as they were Holt s work might be a popular history in the vein of her earlier The Rise of the Rocket Girls, but she meticulously provides her sources If the men of Disney are portrayed here as at times having the boorishness of Gaston, the conniving of Scar, or the arrogance of Shere Khan, there are also times in the account where men including Walt Disney himself are allies, giving women opportunities, embracing their contributions and honoring them even if not enough It s a nuanced picture and a hopeful one, as cultural shifts are leading to women enter animation and cultural reckonings like metoo lead us to reassess where we have been as a society and where the future might lead.

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