Since birth, I’ve had a love affair with Disney. From trips to Disney World to my obsession with Minnie Mouse to being forever traumatized by the combination of Bambi and Mufasa’s death to falling in love with Prince Eric to sobbing at the end of Toy Story 3, Disney has always had a presence in my life. Pixar is what many experts agree to be the most critically and commercially successful of all the Disney branches. But speaking from a girl’s perspective, there seems to be a huge yet heretofore unnoticed gap in Pixar’s lineup. One journalist, Joel Stein, noticed it too, and decided to take a trip to Pixar Studios in California on the eve of the company’s release of Brave, their very first film with a female lead. What he found might surprise you…
Until I visited Pixar’s offices, I did not know that 12-year-old boys were allowed to run major corporations. Yet I am walking through the lobby, and the room to my right is full of plastic bins dispensing every kind of cereal, free. Men pedal scooters past me. On Friday mornings an employee named Mark Andrews stands on the front lawn in a kilt, challenging co-workers to actual sword fights.
Deep in the back of the giant main building on Pixar’s 22-acre campus in Emeryville, Calif., animators work inside toolsheds designed like castles, jungles and Old West jails. In one office, a fake bookshelf opens onto a secret lounge. Guys carry official Pixar laminated cards in their wallets that read, “This card entitles the bearer to one Star Wars reference in a meeting.”
Even weirder: all the adults kind of look like 12-year-old boys. In fact, as I’m walking upstairs toward a display of clay model cars festooned with spy gadgets, a man passes by who looks precisely like the little boy in the movie Up. It turns out he’s animator Peter Sohn. And the boy in Up was based on him.
There are no rooms full of princess costumes to dress up in. No frosting stations. Not one My Little Pony poster.
Pixar has a girl problem.
I recommend reading the rest of the article. Stein addresses some uncomfortable issues and gives us a never-before-seen look into the Pixar Animation Studios.
I can say that personally, Brave is one of my top 5 most anticipated movies for 2012. Being a red-head of slightly Scottish descent and someone who used to take archery lessons at summer camp (yeah, I was super cool), this movie has me beyond excited. Even though Pixar has its issues, everything they produce is beautiful (I’m leaving out Cars 2 for arguments sake) and brilliant. The sneak peaks that we have gotten so far for Brave have been exceptional. My favorite tease to date was released just this past weekend and shows our heroine being supremely bad-ass.
….like I said, brilliant
*Clears Throat* Excuse me while I put on my Cap of Feminist Righteousness…
Pixar must understand that one movie alone does not make up for over a decade of female under-representation. I hope that Disney keeps on this trend and continues to put girls at the forefront of their films.
*Winces* Okay I’m done
Oh, and before I forget: the movie comes out June 22, 2012!