There are those that say fate is something beyond our command - that destiny is not our own. But I know better. Our fate lives within us, you only have to be brave enough to see it.
Pixar Lessons Learned
A Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class can save the day.
Having a rough day, Russell?
My dad had never seen this movie, so I watched it with him a few weeks ago. Suffice to say, my generally stoic father burst out laughing at this point.
Finding Nemo 3D is now in theaters. I am so excited about seeing Finding Nemo on the big screen because I didn’t see it the first time it came out.
I don’t know if I’ll see it in 3D or 2D yet. The Lion King 3D was the greatest ever and I want to live in it, but Beauty and the Beast 3D wasn’t that great.
I don’t know if anyone is ever going to read this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
I’ve been a Pixar fan since the first time my mom brought home a Toy Story tape and I didn’t want to watch it because it was a boy story. I had been told, from a very young age, that if I liked boys’ stuff I’d become a boy, and I didn’t want that; I wanted to remain a girl, but I also wanted to like whatever the hell I liked without people telling me it didn’t fit my gender. Anyway; I cried and said I wasn’t going to watch it, and then my mother put it in the VCR anyway. Three minutes later, I was completely hooked. I watched it again. And again. And the next day. And I didn’t want to return it to the videostore. Next time my mother brought home a Pixar tape, I’d watch the hell out of it, without caring whether it was a boys-only club…
… which, until June 2012, it always, without fail, was.
In 1997 I was 5 or 6 years old. Now I’m 20, turning 21 in October. I had to wait almost 21 years to watch an animated movie that told me a few important things: love your mother; you don’t have to be a boy to do things people believe to be masculine; you can save the day; your mother can save the day; it’s worth getting close to the women around you, stick together, love each other, don’t engage in girl hate. There are scenes in Brave that are almost real conversations I’d had with my mother, and I couldn’t help crying a little when I realized two things: first, all the men around me had already had their Brave before (The Lion King, anyone? To mention at least one); second, even they hadn’t had any movie telling them about their mothers. We have a lot of animated films that talk to us about loving our fathers, but none about loving our mothers. When was the last Disney movie where the mother was alive and had lines? So that’s why Brave would be a good movie even if it was bad; it would fill a massive hole in people’s, mostly women’s, childhood.
But of course, you people know that already.
The reason I’m writing now is that I don’t want you guys to think, “Ok, we got that out of the way, now let’s move on to more boy-centered stories!”. Like Disney did with The Princess and the Frog. It’s pretty obvious that we’re never having another black girl lead in a Disney movie, because they have their token and that’s it. I hate it. I hate it that we have endless stories about white people, but very few about people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and I hate it that, once a company produces a single movie where a minority race gets some decent screen time, they proceed to never film anything but white people again. It’s terrible and there’s simply no excuse for that. (By the way, Brave totally did that, too - if you guys could be so historically inaccurate as to include a corsets, not to mention magic!, there’s really no excuse for not having a few - not just one! - people of color in Brave)
And I don’t want you, Pixar, to do the same thing. I hate to feel like this is the last female lead character to ever appear in your movies. It was sad enough to see that you chose to open Brave with a cute short movie about… how a boy deals with his father and grandfather and chooses his own path. We have tons of movies like that, and you guys chose to show another one right before the first one ever to deal with a female perspective. And your next trailer doesn’t even have a female character in it; I’m sure we’re seeing some Celia in Monsters University, but I bet she’s having a few funny, jealous lines and that’s it. That makes me sad.
That makes me sad because Pixar has continuously given me some of the most magical moments one can experience watching movies. The thrill of seeing your trailers and being unable to wait to see your upcoming attractions. No other movie company has done that, and I’m a grown up. I pay my bills and have tons of work to do, and yet it’s an animated movie company that manages to always make me excited for the next release. And still, people like me are never in your movies. We almost never have lines. We’re not important characters. And I know there are people inside your company who makes amazing movies that don’t have characters like them.
So I ask you: next time you have a movie about, I don’t know, animals trying to learn to talk, fruits trying to get away from a juice factory, plushies that are brought to life by magic, you have it, make sure at least 50% of your characters, be they whatever they are, are female. Make sure you have some protagonists. Make sure, the next time you have an animation about humans, that many of them aren’t white, and many of them are female. Make sure you talk about lives that are as important as (white) men’s, but somehow can’t be seen anywhere in cinemas. Ask yourself: why are we making this character male? (And, when dealing with anthropomorphic characters, ask yourself why are they white.) Can we change that and have the same story? If we get a different story, is it more interesting and worth telling?
Pixar is so revolutionary in many ways - you have the most imaginative plots, you deal with delicate issues, you can bring audiences to tears with simple stories, you put your heart into it. If you’re not anything like the rest of the industry in all of that, stop being like them in telling only men’s stories, to, about and by men. I’m tired of feeling like people like me can’t have stories, because no one is interested in telling them. Don’t tell a women’s story only once, to get that off your shoulders. Do it again. Do it in your next movie. You have 12 stories (I’m not counting the shorts) about men; I think it’s high time you strived towards making the score even.
Thank you for your movies, and a special thanks to Brenda Chapman.
(I’m pretty sure they are never reading this, but I had to get this off my chest.)
Okay, I’m actually pretty excited to go see Brave this summer, provided I find someone who wants to sit through watching it with me.
Monster’s Inc. shoes I painted for myself!
Okay seriously, what short or whatever is this from? I need to watch it.