Why are there so few women artists working in 3d?

I am writing a paper examining the lack of women creating 3d cg art. I’ve found some interesting material, but I thought it would be good to collect some community opinion. I’m especially interested in the opinions of people on this forum because it tends to be populated by hobbyists, rather than a more industry-oriented forum like CGTalk.

Now before anyone asks, I guess I should make a point… yes, I know that there are a few polls out there on this forum that are asking what everyone’s gender is. That’s not the point of this. I think it is fairly clear to anyone who has been following the trends in 3d that there is certainly a gender gap. So the question is… why?

This paper is unlikely to be published in any sort of journal, as it is just an undergraduate paper. I could post the completed paper here though, if people are interested, when I am done with it.

So why is there this gender disparity among 3d artists? I’m sure many of you have opinions (though please try to not make this erupt into a flamewar). Feel free to note your gender if you want, but more importantly I am interested in your opinion.

Perhaps computer-related jobs are less appealing to women.

I’d say try to find a similar report, but on computer work in general, see if THAT’S a trend, too.

Wu scared them away. :stuck_out_tongue:

There are some but I think women and computers generally don’t mix well. It’s the same problem with men and washing machines. You can quote that.

There’s also been a lot of studies done showing how there is a (often subconcious) bias by teachers that causes them to discourage girls at a young age to not be interested in math and science related coursework, which causes a strong gender gap in all fields related to that. There’s a good article here about it, and I’m sure you can find many, many more.

See, I knew he was a problem!!!
It’s his fault there aren’t any Blender girls!

I’d approach it from two standpoints:

If you think about it, most of the current ways of constructing, purchasing, configuring and operating computers were designed by men. Men and women think differently. No matter how much a team of men strive to make things accessible to everyone, there will inevitably be choices and assumptions made that simply work better with how the design team thinks. Over decades, those design and architecture choices lead to a product that, on a technical level, is much more suited to attract men than women.

The second half is to look at the overall world of realistic representational art. I’m not talking abstract or modern. It has been dominated by men. Most likely it’s because men have been shown to be better (on average) at internalizing the 3D structure of the world around them. This is an essential skill for lifelike drawing, which leads one to other forms of art, and finally, in our case, to the world of computer 3D.

When you filter the female population by those who have the 3D visualization capabilities to maintain an interest in art/drawing, then filter that set again by those who are comfortable working in a completely male-designed medium (3D CGI), you end up with a really small number of people.

Edited-to-add: Females reading this should not take offense. By this reasoning, it means that you are one of a small set of women who have exceptional 3D visualization capabilities, as well as the ability to get past the built-in biases of computer systems and applications. w00t!

I definitely would have to agree with Harkyman that it would appear to me that men are usually more adept at internalising 3d structure in art, as well as grasping the abstract concepts of computer science. Also, it always seems that if difficulty is found in pursuing a computer-related career, female students are more likely to assume that they would be more adept in some other field rather than pushing the issue.

In my experience, my entering class of computer-science majors had five women, now i’m the only one (and i tried so hard to get them to stay…). Note though that I have a different perspective on technology as I practically grew up attached to a computer and ‘techie’ relatives and that I attend a very small university.


[QUOTE=paroneayea;738599]I am writing a paper examining the lack of women creating 3d cg art. I’ve found some interesting material, but I thought it would be good to collect some community opinion. I’m especially interested in the opinions of people on this forum because it tends to be populated by hobbyists, rather than a more industry-oriented forum like CGTalk./QUOTE]

I don’t have much usefull to say on this subject as is, but I would recommend that perhaps you track down a copy of Linda Nochlin’s seminal essay ‘Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?’. It might give you some rather interesting ideas.

Good luck!


In the U.S. there are more women going to college and completing it than men, at this rate things will flip in the next 20 years.

That said, I think the difference is because young women have an easier time getting laid than young men. A male geek who spends all his time with his computer in the hopes of one day being rich and powerful enough to finally get a woman (Bill Gates) is going to be more employable than a woman whose nights are otherwise occupied.

Well from personal experience, I found getting into 3d rather difficult. All tutorials and documentation are written with a male bias and on topics that appeal to men. It was a struggle learning how to use tools when at the time all tutorials were on how to make cars, spaceships and nakid women, (i.e. not of much interest to me :D.)

There is also the “old boys club” mentality that assumes that anyone doing 3d is “MALE”. I had been a member of this community for a couple of years before I corrected the assumption that I was male. LOL, and in fact there are still quite a few around here who still think I am male.

There are instances of naked men here too…
Wu for instance…has posed unashamedly for the ladies on at least one occasion :eek: :smiley:
…and there is the Ton Action Figure (with vroom jacket) to set the pulses racing…

So what sort of subject interests you as a ‘girl’?
Why don’t the girls get together for a short animation project or something in a style that suits you?..
Blender sisters doing it for themselves… :rolleyes:
No reason to be shy for 2 yrs… goodness… :slight_smile:

Most people who take up 3d are geeky guys that find it mathmatically intresting to create realistic photon maps. 3D is not an intuitive art medium. You don’t see to many sketch artists just picking up 3d, and since you don’t see very many women just messing around with math and computer simulations, and thoes that are have no art ability at all, so they don’t go for 3d. (hows that for a run-on sentance). I’ve tutored a couple females intrested in 3d, and they went on to get jobs, but that was rare, they really were looking to bridge the artistic gap between art and 3d.
As 3D has gotten a lot more about making art and a lot less about the details of it all, there are more girls. (see turn key apps, Poser, bryce etc.)

Men are more aggresive while women are more passive. Maybe that has something to do with it.

Also, to be honest, I don’t know that many girls that do anything at all (things that are bigger than usual and arn’t of the norm).

I have taught Computer Graphics for 5 years now at a high school level. It includes 2d and 3d work. For the most part women have made up 1/3 to 1/2 of the class. There is not much discrepency between those that understand it based on their sex through my experience.

It’s because how the brain is organized. A male brain is different from a female brain. This is not anti-womanhood or something. A male brain is bigger than a female’s, but the brain halves of a female’s brain is far better interconnected. Those are just subtle differences in why a particular field is more appealing for men and other for women. A guy has better abstract spatial perception, where a gal has better language skills. A guy can focus better amongst chaos on one subject, a gal can handle multiple task in parallel much better. etc etc.

most 3d artists tend to be self taught to a great extent. guys are better, generally, at breaking a task into steps on their own, though girls can follow steps just fine. Thats why there’s more male programmers, male 3d artist, and male [insert anything that requires each individual to break a task into steps

Also, guys usually go for “significance” (i.e. look at me), which is what they get when they post something cool. Girls go for “security” (ie. I know I am accepted and cared for)

There is also the matter of emotional makeup. Women tend to be more ‘people oriented’ and that means they usually care what people they care about think of them. In my experience, 3d and computers are usually discouraged by the ‘popular’ crowd and by relatives. While guys like me just blow it off (my dad’s really mad at me… I don’t really care, I do it anyway. It’s his problem), it’s harder for girls sometimes.

btw, being people oriented is a good thing… It is a credit to the guys that are.

Here’s my theory: everybody is basically motivated to try to appeal to the opposite sex. Men are motivated to try to do cool stuff to impress women. Even geeky stuff, we secretly think “when Judy Beth gets a load of these hand-painted elves, she’s gonna swooon”.

Sure, eventually we derive pleasure from the act itself and by the time we’re painting elves at age 47 in our one room apartment we’ve pretty much given up on the hope of finding any woman who will appreciate that skill. All we’ve got at that point are the elves, so we’re not going to be giving them up.

But early on, somewhere in the back of our minds, we started painting those elves in a woefully misguided bid to get chicks.

I can’t think of a single profession or hobby that doesn’t start this way in most cases. When I was back in 3rd grade drawing pictures of dudes with swords, and one of the girls in class came by and said “Wow, you’re a really good drawer” I was set on course for life. I’m sure that girl didn’t have the slightest interest in what I was drawing, but she seemed impressed that I could do it as well as I did.

So if you just think strategically, given what people’s various assets are, how they should best use those assets to appeal to the opposite sex, you can see how people with similar motivations would wind up going down very different paths. A girl who grows up getting attention for her appearance (and, such is the nature of guys that this is a big factor for girls) is going to gravitate to different things than a guy who gets attention for drawing dudes with swords.

I’m sure this isn’t all there is to the story, but I think it’s part of it.

I think you hit the nail on the head katt. There are lots of women out there that are great artists, but if your not familiar with the way computers work then your more likely to not become a cg artist.

wow guys hold the horses?

not enough girls? well I can only say that in all of my classes girls dominate.

the reasons why maybe in the classical art men are dominant has more with the sociaty to do than women not doing art. ofte they were plainly ignored ore prevented from doing art. that doesnt mean the gender is less qualified for that.

i can say that in 3d guys seem to look for the techincal challange and exploration while girls rather prefer to get the job done with what they know. but there are more girls in 3D and multimedia than guys.

maybe blender as opensource tool not hardly used everywhere is just not a common tool female 3d artists would work with. but that doesnt mean that hardly any girl is doing 3d art.