“Dear Pixar, How About a Chick Flick…?”

NPR.org posted these thoughtful two-cents from a female Pixar viewer. Linda Holmes writes:

“Of the ten movies you’ve released so far, ten of them have central characters who are boys or men, or who are anthropomorphized animals or robots or bugs who are voiced by and imagined as boys or men. These movies feature women and girls to varying degrees — The Incredibles, in particular — but the story is never “a girl and the things that happen to her,” the way it’s “a boy and what happens to him.”

While you’re checking in at NPR, don’t miss the interview with Pete Docter recently broadcast on Fresh Air. Docter talks about UP and animation in general. Good stuff. Here’s the link.

(Thanks, John Paul Cassidy and PJ)


  • http://eggheadcheesybird.co.uk Alex

    I agree with her, The Bear And the Bow is long overdue.

  • Hulk

    I suppose all the Disney Princess and Tinkerbell movies don’t count for anything? You have to try to force your P.C. B.S. on Pixar now? Come on! I’m sure when an interesting story with a female protagonist develops organically at Pixar, they will make that movie. Until that time, stop trying to ruin the fun for the rest of us.
    Don’t tell me that a woman can’t appreciate a good story for it’s own sake. One of my favorite movies is “Malcolm X”. I am not black, muslim or a fan of Spike Lee personally but the movie was so good it drew me in to the story. I didn’t complain about Spike Lee’s lack of positive representations of people of my ethnicity or religion in that movie or any other. I just appreciate it for what it is.

  • Hulk

    I just re-read the article and I changed my mind about a lot of what I said. I think the writer makes a lot of sense. So let me amend it before anyone argues with me.

    It still stand behind this statement:

    I’m sure when an interesting story with a female protagonist develops organically at Pixar, they will make that movie.

    And what I said about “Malcolm X”.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I wouldn’t care if the main character was male, female, or both :P

  • Christopher Cook

    Let Pixar make the movies for boys and leave the chick flicks/teenybopper movies to Disney itself.

  • Tom D.

    perhaps pixar is just trying to balance the scales, as most of the disney cartoons feature female leads.

  • Kate

    Thanks for sharing this! I’m a huge fan of Pixar and they’re one of the few (or the only) studio that knows how to write female characters. It is a little concerning that their first lead with a girl is with a princess, especially since you could take just about any of their previous lead characters, flip the gender, and it’d still work. Same goes for a lot other movies. ‘Iron Giant’ is one of my favorites, and Hogarth was me when I was little. I don’t know how many people realize that there are girls who like baseball, robots, Mortal Kombat, and playing in the dirt, but Eve, Ellie, Jessie, and Colette are proof that Pixar gets it. Here’s hoping they don’t drop the ball with ‘Bear and the Bow’. I’m excited as hell for it.

  • Kate

    Oh and duh, Helen and Dory as well. I’m sure I’m forgetting others.

  • Sara

    I think the title of this post shows exactly why so few animation studios have tackled films with women or girls as the lead characters. The conventional wisdom is that kids in particular will all happily go to see movies about male characters, but put a female character in the lead and the whole thing is written off as a “chick flick” and you can’t pay men and boys to go see it.

    I think Pixar is probably the most likely studio to break the trend and do a non-fairytale movie with a female lead, since they’ve already been willing to mak an animated movie about an old man, which I’m sure Hollywood pundits would have insisted was a bad idea. Much as I’ve enjoyed their films so far, I would like to see them move one of their great female characters into the lead role.

    I had heard rumors that “Toy Story 3″ is actually more focused on Jessie, so maybe that will be a start.

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    I agree with her about Ellie, I could’ve watched her for the entire film.

  • Greg Chenoweth

    What about Jessie from “Toy Story 2″? She is not the main character of the film, but her story is an integral part of the movie and I hope she will be back for “Toy Story 3″. Eve also has an integral role in “Wall-E.”

  • http://thelinknewspaper.com Christopher Olson

    Well, since we know what the next couple of Pixar features are going to be, we can see that The Bear and the Bow, to be released in 2011, is directed by Brenda Chapman and features Reese Witherspoon as a princess from Scotland who dreams of becoming an archer and must save her kingdom (rather that wait to be saved by a daring knight).

    But is two years too long to wait for a female protagonist?

  • thatjuanguy

    Linda Holmes will be quite pleased with The Bear and the Bow, actually, we all will!

  • Mike!

    Ever seem to notice this complaint pops up somewhere every time Pixar releases a film. I basically read this a year ago (EVE was awesome, but where’s our female lead?) Pixar should be the least of this woman’s problems. Most mainstream movies today feature women as either the love interest, a prude, a slut, or all three, and the few movies that feature women are generally dubbed chick flicks. The fact that Pixar prominently displays ANY female character that has weight and a striking personality is a miracle in this cinematic climate.

  • Tommy

    I think you guys are missing the point. I can’t believe you’re saying that movies with female protagonists have to be teeny-bobbers. In Up Russell could have been a girl wilderness explorer. Girls need some good main characters that aren’t princesses.

  • Gary Pearson

    Leave Pixar alone to do the movies they want to make.
    Jessie, Eva, Dory, Violet and Helen Parr are all excellent female characters. The spirit of Ellie, though she doesn’t get much screen time, is at the heart of ‘Up’. I hope they don’t start to ‘market’ to anyone, or we’ll get stuff like High School Musical 3 and Hannah Montana, which are more about hitting demographics than they are about telling a good story. Those type of films are all but forgotten in a few years, but the Pixar films will be like Bambi and Pinocchio, still be loved by audiences decades later.

  • http://davidessman.com david essman

    the bear and the bow looks like it’ll be on the edge of being a traditional princess film.

    Linda’s argument was was not please make a movie about a girl, it was “Please make a movie about a girl who is not a princess.”

    she even wrote about bear and the bow

    “But why, oh why, does it have to be about a princess? Again?’

  • secret goldfish

    Although not Pixar, we were lucky enough to have Coraline this year, which I loved not just for the fact that it was so beautifully made, but that it had such a strong, likeable female main character who didn’t have to resort to the typical ‘girls kicking ass’ or ‘sexpot’ stereotype to be cool. If I had a daughter I’d love her to see more features like Coraline instead of the endless Hanna Montana, Britneys etc that young girls are flooded with today. My mum once told me she was glad she had us boys instead of girls. The older I get and the less positive role models I see on offer in mainstream pop culture for young girls/women, the more I know what my mum meant. Unfortunately the idea of ‘girl power’ or ‘girl empowerment’ to a lot of people still means The Spice Girls in Hot pants and cleavage raising their fist in the air, or Angelina Jolie holding a big gun while wearing undies. Personally I think we need more women animators, illustrators and writers in positions of power within the industry, you don’t need to search far to see that there is a wealth of female talent already out there, it just takes a company with a little foresight and courage to take the lead, Pixar certainly seems like that sort of company

  • Sara

    There seem to be a couple of notions kicking around here that I would like to discuss.

    The idea that Pixar makes movies “for boys” while Disney makes movies “for girls” strikes me as rather ridiculous. I don’t think of “Up” as a “boys’ movie” any more than I think of it as a kids’ movie. It has aspects for viewers of all kinds to enjoy. So why can’t it be the same way with movies where the protagonists happen to be female? Why do they seem to automatically get categorized as strictly for girls an no one else?

    The problem I have with the argument that Pixar just hasn’t organically come upon a story idea with a female protagonist is that no one seems to find it odd that Pixar has “organically” happened upon ten story ideas which all feature male leads. I’m not accusing anyone at Pixar of having a gender bias. I’m just saying that when animation is a field traditionally dominated by men, filmmakers do sometimes have to look at their work and figure out if they’re writing about a male character because that is what works best for the story or because that’s just what they’re most comfortable with. I don’t think “Up” would have worked quite the same way if the role of Russell had been filled by a little girl instead, mainly because I think Carl might have warmed up to her sooner if she reminded him of Ellie at that age. But as Kate points out, some characters would work equally well in their particular stories if they were of the opposite gender. And as Linda Holmes points out, Russell is Asian-American, despite the fact that it would make no difference to the story if he were of any other racial background. He just happens to be Asian-American and the story never beats us over the head with that fact. So why can’t the same principle work for gender?

    Additionally, not every good idea just comes up “organically” out of pure artistry and nothing else. My impression (though correct me if I’m wrong) is that the idea for a “Toy Story” sequel came from Disney, who originally wanted to do it as a direct-to-DVD movie. Pixar may not have just come up with the idea themselves, but whatevers it’s origins, they ran with it and came up with one of my favorite Pixar movies. There are certainly examples of animation I enjoy which was made in part with the purpose of selling a product. “Beast Wars” and “Cowboy Bebop” are two big ones, and I don’t enjoy the debut ad for Beatles Rock Band any less because I know it’s trying to sell me a video game. I completely agree that Pixar should not be made to have every other film feature a female protagonis just to satisfy some desire for political correctness. But with all the stories out there, I’m sure they could find one about a female character who is not a princess or princess type and make it just as amazing as their other films and so successful that every other animation studio puts a movie with a female lead into development to try to chase Pixar’s success.

  • dronon

    That’ a wonderful open letter! Also worth watching on the same subject is a short video by Sarah Haskins, whose “Target Women” video commentaries look at how women are targeted by businesses, marketers, and advertizers. Check out her Disney Princesses episode.

  • drmedula

    Matt Sullivan, are you suggesting Pixar adapt RANMA?

  • Simon

    Talk about focusing on the wrong things.

  • Rose

    One of the many things I love about Miyazaki’s films are that they so often have a strong female character in the lead.

    Even as the older woman I’ve become; I still find it thrilling and consoling to see a female in which a story revolves around. Women/girls have dreams and women/girls have the same need to see themselves represented on the screen as males do.

    We, as a gender, are not well represented in action/fantasy films. Not as a central figure in which the story revolves (there are exceptions to this, certainly…but in most films we are not so represented.) Some of this, I think, comes from the notion that the audience for action/fantasy is male…and men will not perceive an adventure as being as strong with a female in the lead.

    In animation female protagonists tend to be the stuff of romance…a realm in which is generally, still, thought to be mostly the place of women.

    Boys can, and have, enjoyed a female driven animated film…but note the films they do are often with strong, adventurous, or very humorous males as supporting characters.

    I won’t generalize about weither it is possible to attract a strong juvenile audience with a story where there are no predominate male characters…but I think it could be true that a female will support such a film while a young male would be less interested in it.

    Women conditioned to take from films what they can…the action/joy/thrill even without a female face to convey it.

    Just my thought.

    …and I love Pixar and absolutely adored UP.

  • Tony

    The real reason behind Pixar having never released a film focusing on a female character is because all of their films thus far have been directed by males.

    Like all good writers these directors write about what they know. Their films, thus, are greatly influenced by their personal experiences and the themes of their stories are inextricably connected to their personal lives. Pixar’s films reflect closely the individual personalities of each director, so it is only natural that they see their protagonist as a male. Here’s one example, Finding Nemo, is essentially a story about an overprotective father who must learn that sometimes letting go and trusting your child is more important to his development than protecting him from all the potential dangers in life. This theme was something that the director Andrew Stanton was experiencing during the writing of this film with his young son.

    I am not saying a man cannot write a believable woman protagonist or a woman cannot write a convincing male protagonist, but good writers write about what they know. That is what the directors from Pixar have done. With that said Pixar’s first woman-directed film, The Bear and the Bow, is going to be amazing. I had the chance to meet Brenda Chapman, and all I have to say is I think she is about to make the best film ever to come out of Pixar.

  • other mike

    as a filmmaker myself and a guy, i just find it easier to write stuff for male characters. all my female characters are usually caricatures or rip offs of the women i know in my life.. honestly, women are hard to understand! and i think that’s one of the reasons we haven’t gotten many female characters.. there are just so many guys workin at pixar. and in the industry all together.. my graduating class had 3 girls in it out of 20. for whatever reason, i just think more men are drawn to working in animation.

  • Ange

    I like how people are getting all offended by this. You’re missing the point by pointing out the female lead roles that have already made it into Pixar films. The person who stated this obviously KNOWS of the female roles. What she is saying, is that she wants a movie where the movie isn’t revolved around the guy.

    …I find it funny that most of the people talking offense to this seem to be males.

  • Jay Sabicer

    Time to chime in: Men writing female characters has been like tiptoeing through a minefield during a hailstorm. Melvin Udall probably said it best in “As Good as it Gets”: How he writes women – I start with a man and then take away reason and accountability! (that’s not my opinion, of course). Men have a limited knowledge (and I mean this in the deepest most comprehensive definition of the word) of the female psyche. It comes mostly from a lack of experience of what women feel in their day-to-day lives. Those who’ve attempted to write with a female protagonist usually come off with a character less than feminine, to the point of parody sometimes.

    While I applaud having a well-conceived female character show up in a Pixar film, please don’t force it upon our Emeryville crowd. They are 10 for 10 in filmmaking, let it come naturally. When it does, I’m sure we’ll hear “what took you guys so long?” amongst the innumerable words of praise and admiration.

  • Gary K.

    I think it’s a valid point, and I say this speaking as a male working in video game animation at a studio where every single artist and every lead is a male. I don’t think Pixar may be intentionally trying to be gender bias, but I think it’s something they should be thinking about. It’s not about forcing Pixar to do anything, they can make what they want, but it’s trying to nudge them to try other directions. Miyazaka seems to have made a career out of putting females into lead animation roles, and I don’t think it’s necessary for Pixar to do that, but I think it’s about time there was a more central lead female in a Pixar movie. And no that wouldn’t have to make it a chick flick, unless you consider something like Nausicaä a chick flick.

  • Scott Roberts

    This is an excellent point, and takes nothing away from Pixar or their great (and not-so-great) films.

    Rose’s example of Miyazaki blows away the majority of the arguments suggested in these comments. He isn’t a girl, yet he directed Spirited Away and Mononoke, films with believable and complex female leads (Mononoke had multiple strong female characters). With Lasseter being such a huge Miyazaki fan, you’d think this could be something they emulate.

    Up, btw, was the first Pixar film that reminded me of Miyazaki, which is just about the best thing I could say about any animated film.

    Even if all of Pixar’s directors are males, can’t they hire a female writer if it’s so tought to get inside a female character’s head?

  • Shawn

    Wow. Wanting a female lead in a movie on occasion who is a real person and not a princess or a fairy, who approaches life’s problems from the stand point of a regular individual has nothing to do with feminazi P.C. BS, frankly, nor does it have anything to do with complaining about the wrong things.

    Pixar writes fantastic female characters. Why, then, can one of those female characters NOT be the lead of a film? They clearly have no problem taking risks. Women are not so complicated that writing us (and I am a woman) is some monumental confusing task.

    Women make up over half of the world, thanks. Once in awhile, it would be nice to be represented, be it by Pixar or any other studio, in a function that has nothing to do with the standard princess fare.

    The only complaint I had about Up after leaving the theater is that Ellie and Kevin were the only females! Even the dogs, who obviously multiplied, had no recognizable females amongst them. (I know it’s hard to tell physically, but there weren’t any lady dog voices.)

    I don’t know how many people have daughters around here, but as a woman, it would have been great to grow up with more female role models in the cartoons I watched, and I know the guys I know who do have daughters are pretty distressed about it too.

  • Kate

    Okay, some of y’all need some help with this. To the boys who get it, thank you, I appreciate it. To the ones concerned this is PC/there are no female leads because they were directed by boys/women are hard to understand:

    Girls can be exactly like boys. We’re just made of different stuff.

    “But girls are irrational/loud/angry/confusing.”

    So are boys. When you try to put us all in this one big group of It’s Different From Us, it’s just encouraging stereotypes. Ripley was written for a guy, and lookit that, they cast Sigourney Weaver.

    PC? Horse apples. I hate the expression because it encourages sensitivity to avoid a lawsuit instead of understanding why we’ve got a collective sore ass about the industry’s depiction of women. Pixar probably knows better than any of the other studios how to write female characters, so it is a little aggravating that it’s taken so long to break out of male leads only. They’re still great movies and I enjoy all of them, but to say that such and such is a boys’ movie and this and that is a girls’ movie, is no different than saying animation is for kids and live-action is for grown-ups. It’s for everybody.

    Greg, Jessie and Eve are outstanding characters and they’re what make their movies so great, but the movie isn’t about them. Toy Story is more of an ensemble gig, but in the end it is about Woody and Buzz. Wall-E is the lead of his movie and although Eve is a great part of the movie, it’s his movie. Mike! I understand where you’re coming from, but your comment reads as “shut up and be grateful”. That’s not good enough. Pixar is always breaking boundaries and it’s disappointing it’s taken so long for a studio as progressive as them to put out a movie with a female lead. Most studios are hopeless since they’re run by their wallets (instead of their brains and wallets), and a number of them refuse to do movies (other than romcoms) with female leads because they believe they aren’t profitable. Except how much effort is being put into making quality movies with women instead of slapping something together, appealing to stereotypes, and then wondering why it flops? ‘Catwoman’ could have been awesome, except for the part where they just phoned it in. I still think a ‘She-Hulk’ action-comedy would be amazing if an effort was made. Meanwhile, you make an effort to do a good movie with a strong female lead, whether it’s ‘Terminator 2′ or ‘Ever After’ (male directors for those two as well), and you’ve got a critical and commercial success.

    Sorry for the tl;dr, but for every person who cries “you guys got equality. Stfu.”, there aren’t enough who understand things aren’t equal yet. We’ve still got a ways to go. Kudos to Pixar for making ‘Bear and the Bow’ and all the great female characters alongside their great movies, and all my thanks to the guys who understand.

    And it must be said. ‘Up’ had the best shit joke I’ve seen in years. Who says girls don’t like toilet humor?

  • http://tresswygert.blogspot.com Tres Swygert

    Pixar will get to certain aspects, on its’ own pace. Before you know, when they do a female lead, then people will wonder when they will do an African American lead. And hopefully one that is not in the hood. Either way, you can’t please everyone, and what I believe on Pixar is that they don’t try to make stories just to fit one’s preference (referring to the cry of having a female lead…or in my case, having an African American lead). I guess the only unsympathetic advice I would give to her, and to myself: Make your darn movie pitch and send it to Pixar…instead of waiting.

  • vzk

    Maybe Pixar should make a CGI adaptation of Tomb Raider or Æon Flux. Those are franchises that feature strong, female leading roles that AREN”T princesses. They could make us forget the crappy live-action movie adaptations.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Seriously, I was thinking about the whole women thing while thinking about my enjoyment of “Up”, and I did sorta wonder how it could’ve worked if it was a girl instead of a boy in the film that pesters the old man. The flashback with Ellie was so good, I sorta wanted a little more of her myself besides the brief glimpses we’re given anyway.

    > Matt Sullivan, are you suggesting Pixar adapt RANMA?

    Hahahaha!

    Though if I had to point out one anime film that has a female lead in it I enjoy, it would be “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com Tom

    If only Pixar had tried to get the rights to Barbarella.

    /I keed!

  • Amelia

    Hi, I’m a woman animator and this is what I have to say about this:

    The day Pixar stops making films that their directors are inspired to make, and they start making films to hit all the right gender demographics is going to be a sad day indeed.

    These films that the directors make are personal films. That’s what makes that studio special. The fact that a group of all male directors made a group of films with all male leads is just kind of natural. Whenever I come up with a film idea the lead is almost always a girl. We write what we know, its as simple as that. I would be really unhappy if Pete Doctor wrote a story intended for a male lead and Disney forced him to make it a girl just because, “Hey we’ve never has a female lead!” If you guys want to get all uppity at someone, maybe you should get pissed off at the only woman director, Brenda Chapman, for making her female lead a princess if princesses are so offensive to you guys. Or maybe you should get pissed off at the women in the industry for not becoming directors and making chick flicks. Getting upset at the Pixar men for not making chick flicks is just ridiculous.

    This why Disney is such a bureaucratic mess that can’t make an original film to save their lives. Its because of this crap right here. The company is so enormous and there’s so many factions of people picking apart everything Disney Feature does, everything just becomes decision by committee.

  • http://www.threedsnack.blogspot.com nate

    I’d love to see them tackle a Miyazaki type female.

  • Redkanary

    Wait, the lack of female protagonists is because the creators are male? How does that work? Coraline and Lilo and Mulan were all created by guys. And conversely, JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Gender shouldn’t really play into it, especially when the characters are kids.

  • Katella Gate

    Everybody has an agenda. I’m sorry if this delightful movie didn’t service yours.

    Perhaps we should petition President Obama to oversee the animation industry, and appoint a Gender Equity Czar to implement “representational justice” on the silver screen. I nominate Barney Frank for the position.

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

    I think it’s interesting when people blow off the opinion of someone who has presented it intelligently and eloquently. It’s not like she’s some kneejerk crackpot standing on the street corner that is every other blog comment section on the internet.

    You can blow it off as PC blather (as if political correctness is 100% wrong). Tell the person they’re wasting their time for simply vocalizing their desire to see something or someone equally represented in movies or TV. She simply makes the observation that Pixar’s first female lead is going to be a princess. When I hear that I wonder why they made that decision as well.

    Pixar is known for creating modern stories and characters that are embraced for being progressive steps away from the fairy tale musicals that Disney is known to produce. So why when they decide to take on a female lead, is she a princess? It’s a simple question. (And one that doesn’t necessarily have to be answered.)

  • Kelly

    No mention of Boo from Monsters Inc. anywhere? C’mon…

    Oh, and before I forget, let me add: Oh, please…

  • http://pinkskull.newgrounds.com Sathania Blanchette

    I was going to post more less the same that Amelia did, what’s important it’s the story itself, not the gender of the characters..

  • DanO

    Let them make the movies they want.

    For crying out loud, its not good enough that they create incredible films with amazing stories and perfectly crafted characters of both genders…
    We need a sanitized balance of the lead characters.

    When that is done, these clueless people will find something else to cry about.

  • Tom Pope

    My first reaction to the issue is “Pixar is doing fine; don’t force PC on them (as if you could “force” it). That said, I’m not a female. I might feel differentif that were the case. THAT said, the first feature spec script I ever wrote has a strong woman as the protagonist, and that was very much a conscius decision.

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    “The day Pixar stops making films that their directors are inspired to make, and they start making films to hit all the right gender demographics is going to be a sad day indeed.”

    Nice one Amelia. That is it, really.

  • http://www.chippyandloopus.typepad.com John S

    it’s funny, because back when I worked at Disney, all my freinds back in Denver used to kid me, saying that all we used to make were “girls movies”. That is the perception that everyone OUTSIDE of New York and LA had, that for the most part, American animation was aimed at girls. Then Pixar comes along and makes films that happen to appeal to boys and men. BOOM! Big success.
    Not real sure they should be falling all over themselves to change.
    But they are, as “The Bear and The Bow”, Brenda’s movie, will be one the ladies can enjoy,as well as the fellas.

  • Rio

    I don’t think Pixar cares if their leads are male or female. Story is king and that’s all that matters.

  • Leedar

    Hey, women are completely capable of – and apparently not adverse to – writing female caricatures.

    Good writers may write from experience, but that is easy. Great writers go beyond autobiography.

  • http://www.mynameispj.com PJ

    Hear hear to Amelia.

    I don’t care whether a story’s lead is male, female, or otherwise, as long as the story’s good. Hell, Richard Adams wrote one of the most thrilling, imaginative and absorbing adventure novels I’ve ever read, and it was about a bunch of bunny rabbits (although, yes, a lot of those bunny rabbits were dudes).

    I completely understand that girls need more role models like Coraline, or any of Miyazaki’s leads; strong, brave girls who defy stereotypes and refute the kind of objectification that Hollywood is so intent on imposing on female characters. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that concern, and its one I sympathize with.

    But Pixar is year-after-year cranking out some of the finest cinematic experiences that America has to offer (in my humble opinion). The danger here is when people lose their nerve, step back, and start trying to twist something to make sure that it’ll please everyone. Its what Bill Cosby was talking about when he said, “I don’t know the secret to success, but I know the secret to failure: trying to please everyone.”

    PS: Maybe its just me, but I always saw Finding Nemo as something of a buddy-movie, with Dory sharing equal spotlight with Marlin. And she wasn’t even a love interest–hell, I’d go as far as to say she was more capable than he was (even with her short-term memory loss)

  • Greg B

    I think the reason I find this most concerning, is that we all perceive Pixar as a studio that is in itself the modern equivalent of the masters from the Renaissance or else. They make the work they want to make. Whether it speaks to a particular demographic or insinuates a gender bias amongst there directors and creators is irrelevant.

    The article asks the voice of a creator to adjust itself for the public’s expectations. It’s unfair.

    If the need for a particular film is needed, let it be created by the creator whom is personally impassioned by the concept. If a public view forces the creations of Pixar or any other studio, it seems to me that at the very best, the fruits of such efforts will seem disingenuous. The quality and creativity we all feel for the Pixar films is because someone making a creative decision in that film was personally invested.

    If a female lead in an animated film needs to be created to fill some void and there is so much passion for its creation, that in itself should be fuel enough to start a new studio.

    To sum it all up, no one should get to force anyone to create anything and expect anything great.

  • Cathlin

    First, I would like to share the first few lines in the original letter to Pixar:

    “Dear Pixar,

    This is not an angry letter. It is especially not an angry letter about Up, which I adored. I could have sat in the theater and watched it two more times in a row. I cried, but I also laughed so hard in places that it wore me out.

    So I’m not complaining; I’m asking. I’m asking because I think so highly of you.

    Please make a movie about a girl who is not a princess.”

    The key is “not a princess”.

    I have worked in animation. I am a female. I happen to like stories. Good stories. I have seen enough princess stories to last a lifetime, and believe me, I loved fairy tales as girl.

    I also was a bit of a tomboy. I also love action, adventure, sci fi, time travel stories.

    Ellie stole my heart. I would see a thousand films about characters like Ellie.

    Just a wish, a plea as it were.

    I will continue to strive for that in my discussions with others in the industry and with writers that I know.

  • Joe

    The upcoming “Newt” movie seems to imply that there will be a central female newt character. Sure not what everyone is bargaining for. hopefully, this will be a stepping stone toward having an actual female central protagonist.

  • Floyd Pendershaft

    If your an artist with a good imagination you should be to create a film that reveals around a main character that can be any race, age, gender or social class. For some reason, men/boy, particular white men/boys seem to be the main characters in Pixar films.

    I think Pixar films are great – but develop in an organic fashion, because they are the products of men who have the most say in the creative process.

    Most Pixar movies deal with things men and boys love: monsters, cars, bugs, fatherhood, and male bonding. Not to say women and girls don’t love these things as well. But my son relates more to Cars, Bugs Life, and Monsters Inc…, than he does to Pocahontas and Snow White.

  • Stacey

    I love Pixar films, but I have to admit, the ‘lack of female protagonist’ issue has been bothering me for a long time – it’s fantastic to see people discussing it.

    (Some of the replies in the comments do worry me a bit – it’s not rocket science, guys, REALLY. Pixar have proven time and time again that they can write female characters – being unable to write well-rounded characters outside of one’s own gender makes you A Rather Bad Writer, which the Pixar team certainly aren’t. Plenty of male writers have written brilliant female protagonists, so it’s not really an excuse.)

    The comments about a female protagonist equating to a ‘chick flick’ is utter rubbish!

    I’ve found it fascinating to read everyone’s comments/opinions – keep the discussion rolling! Unfortunately, “UP” is yet to be released in Australia, so I desperately look forward to seeing the film in the following weeks – and Ellie besides!

  • Brenda Holdengutz

    I’m a cartoonist and an animate- HER who is wondering where all of the top-notch womyn characters are today.

    I too would love to see a movie from Pixar where maybe a fairy princess has an adventure (call it an advent-HER!), falls in love with another woman and is applauded for her bravery for coming out to her mother and her mother’s new (latest!) boyfriend, even though her (s)mother never gave a damn about any of the princess’ accomplishments in high school and instead had to bring up the one episode at Bible camp when she drank peppermint schnapps and got caught making out with Jenn Ferguson (not her real name) as if that was such a big goddamn crime or anything. There could also be a dragon and a lady fox who has been sent from her fox village for being herself and she might move in with the princess and her gyrlfriend for a while, like, maybe on a trial basis until they saw how things work out, but in the audience we all know that it WILL WORK OUT no matter what the princess’ wicked mother has to say. Maybe at the end they are all at the princess’ mother’s funeral or something.

    GO PIXARRR!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • a reader

    Or maybe you should get pissed off at the women in the industry for not becoming directors and making chick flicks.

    Where the open applications for women “becoming directors”? Really, think abut this dismissive and sarcastic comment. You obviously have no idea how “becoming a director” happens at Pixar or any studio. Do you think the reason there are so few women directors in animation is because the women who are in any kind of position to direct are choosing not to?
    What kills me is how the mere mention of this topic causes so many to blow a gasket. Fortunately there are a lot of thoughtful and intelligent posters here, too.

  • http://thecolourplouffe.blogspot.com Ben

    Well as far as female leads in animation recently, ill put this one out there which wasnt mentioned ( i dont think). Susan Murphy/ ginormica from monsters vs aliens….. Sure its not a “pixar” movie but dreamworks beat pixar to it i guess…

  • Lauren

    The belief out there is that boys will not watch movies about girls. If you have a female lead, you lose half your audience and half your money.

    It’s another factor in the decision making process that keeps content for girls being made. I actually doubt that’s the reason behind Pixar’s lack of female leads, but it’s certainly out there.

  • Seth

    I just saw Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind a couple nights ago, and I loved the the fact that, once again, a Ghibli flick used a female lead rather than a male lead. How is it that this studio can produce exquisite films with female leads, and Pixar can’t? Nausicaa, Only Yesterday, Whisper of the Heart, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, The Cat Returns, Spirited Away… all of these have female leads who are tough, energetic, and strong-minded. Plus, they are neither a princess, strictly a love interest, or just eye candy. Because of this, these characters are great role models for girls everywhere. Hell, they’re great role models for everyone. And I never even once considered these movies a “chick flick” (though Only Yesterday is a close call). Now that I think about it, I never once thought it weird that Ghibli movies used a lot of female leads, just as I never thought it weird that Pixar only used male leads. I wouldn’t have given it a second thought until I read that article. While I don’t think Pixar should be forced to fill a gender quota, would it hurt them so much to make a flick or two with female leads? Ones that don’t involve them being princesses either. And don’t give me that crap about men not being able to write female leads (or vice-versa). Both men and women have been shown that they can write wonderful stories about the opposite sex as well as their own.

  • Amelia

    A reader – Maybe that would’ve been better worded as, “Maybe you should get pissed off that there aren’t more women directors in animation.” But this does beg the question, “Why are there not more women directors in animation?” I think its probably because there aren’t many women in animation to begin with. I think that’s been starting to change though the last few years. I’ve noticed more and more young women coming in with each passing year. Its awesome! I’m glad the boys club is breaking up a little. I think in a decade or so we’ll start to see a few more women directors out there. I don’t think there’s any outside force holding us back. Maybe there was in the past, but from what I can tell not anymore. Its up to us young ladies to work hard and get to that position. And in this regard I feel it is very much a choice. A choice to aspire to that position.

    Regardless of if there are women directors or not, I just want the films at Pixar to be whatever inspires the directors. I want the inspiration for a female lead film to be, “I have this idea for this film about this girl who does A and B.” I don’t want it to be, “Ya know we haven’t done a movie with a female lead yet.” Miyazaki is inspired to create stories with female leads, but for whatever reason Pixar has ended up with 4 or 5 male directors who are inspired to make films with male leads. I don’t think its a conspiracy or anything. I think they are writing what they know and what inspires them. You tend to project yourself onto your main character. Perhaps those guys do happen to have some stories about ladies bouncing around in their heads. I don’t know! I just hope the stories come about naturally, and not because they are guilted into it. But in the mean time Pixar actually does have a female director making a female lead film. I guess she’s a princess, but, and I guess I don’t really know, I assume Brenda made that decision. I don’t really care if she’s a princess or not, from what I here the film sounds amazing.

  • http://zekeyspaceylizard.blogspot.com Zekey

    hey now

    mike wazowski was clearly a girl

  • http://www.christinawald.com Christina

    I find Disney/Pixar pushing rat slave labor far more disturbing… (Examples: Enchanted (good female role model but what’s up with making poor unpaid rats do all the work in her shop???) and Ratatouille (for obvious reasons)) :)

    Seriously, I agree with Amelia, there need to be more female directors of animation. I listen to the Simpsons commentaries all the time and there is like one female director? There are plenty of women’s names in credits lists, they just must not get those promotions to the higher levels…

  • Floyd Pendershaft

    Amelia is right. Men dominate in computer animation and digital effects industry. You visit the campuses of Pixar, Sony, and Dreamworks and it seems like the ratio of women to men are 1 to 10. I remember being at Dreamworks during one of their lunch breaks, and there seemed to be an endless flow of guys (I’m sure most of them where TDs) coming out of the building into the cafeteria. I think it is even worse in the VFX industry. There was a funny segment on Conan O’brien awhile back where he visited ILM and yelled out: “are there any women here!!???” amidst the cubicals. No one stood up.

  • Christopher Cook

    I don’t have a problem with a female lead character in a movie. But “chick flick” implies the sort of stuff reserved for ABC Family–romantic doggerel that’s nothing more than a Mary Sue story somebody is getting paid to write. Disney’s teenybopper stuff is what little girls write Mary Sue stories about.

  • elan

    Dear Pixar. Keep doing what you’re doing

  • http://www.mikebustacappa.blogspot.com Mike Caracappa

    I think the problem with girls in Pixar movies is that most of them are tomboys. Its not impossible for a guy to write a really strong female character, but more often the girls are saddled with boy qualities which is more often than not the creators trying to work out their own issues through that character. There should be more animation out there for girls, and if its written by a guy, there needs to be a lot more observation of the wants and needs of women, and not just a channel for the guys personal issues.

  • Tio

    Boy have I seen many movies with female protags, and I never had problems identifying with them. Why should it be different for women?

    I hope Pixar keep trying to create good films, with great characters and storylines that come up naturally, not motivated to pander to political motives.

  • Steve

    The ranks of animation industry creative executives have been heavily populated with women in the past fifteen or so years. It’s far easier for corporate studio heads to empower women in that job description than it is to locate and mentor talented directors, if they even had a clue how to do that.

  • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com Moro

    Mike wrote- “I think the problem with girls in Pixar movies is that most of them are tomboys.”

    I suppose it might be possible to do an animated movie about a girl who really likes jewelry, doesn’t get in adventures and eventually becomes a housewife, but I…….don’t want to see it.
    I agree with Amelia, Pixar should do what they want. If someone at Pixar comes up with a good story about a female character, they should make that movie. Miyazaki (and frickin’ Shakespeare!) have proven that guys can imagine interesting female characters.
    And of course, it goes the other way, too…Disney seems unable to come up with good MALE characters. Either way, it looks to be a combination of intellectual laziness and marketing decisions.

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    I thought Linda Holmes was right on the money with her letter.

    I would love to see Pixar do more female leads. Most recently, we’ve seen Laika do CORALINE and Nickelodeon do THE MIGHTY B! (both of which I am a really big fan), so I could see Pixar doing characters along those lines.

    What Linda was worried about, and I thought it was valid, was that Pixar would sell out to Disney Princess standards with THE BEAR AND THE BOW. With Pixar creating a movie about a *princess*, that conjures up images of yet another marketable, over-the-top, musical fairy tale; something Pixar never tried to be. But at best, I can see this film being Pixar’s answer to PRINCESS MONONOKE, so that’s what I’m hoping for. It’s not impossible to do good princess stories, just stay away from the Disney formula at all costs! It’s old and it needs to die.

  • http://ghostdigits.blogspot.com Kat

    Mike: “Its not impossible for a guy to write a really strong female character, but more often the girls are saddled with boy qualities”

    The point a lot of people are trying to make here is there shouldn’t be such a great distinction as to what “boy” qualities are versus what “girl” qualities are. Yes it is true some girls prefer Barbies to Hot Wheels, but that doesn’t mean every girl does, and the girls who do like Hot Wheels don’t suddenly become boys.

    It’s true the best films are those without an agenda. Pixar shouldn’t make films starring females specifically to please female audiences. Rather, while developing stories, they should ask themselves “can this character be a girl? Will anything be taken away by switching genders? Will something be added?” Don’t insert female protagonists frivolously; make a well thought out decision for what is in the best interest of the story. The answer won’t be “male protagonist” every time.

  • roz

    who is that chick from FLCL…I wanna see some american stuff with crazy female leads like her.

  • http://www.mikebustacappa.blogspot.com Mike Caracappa

    Sigh…

    Moro, I wasn’t labeling tomboys. I was reffering to the fact that woman characters who are considered “strong females” are usually either tomboyish, or if it’s an action peice, a butched out muscular female character. The characters are basically boys in girl suits. Male creators usually portray women this way in order work out their emotional issues, except the problem is men are still placing a role on women in film, even if they aren’t portrayed as the supportive housewife anymore. I think what were seeing now in animation still isn’t nessiserily sincere to woman, despite the men who label them as “strong characters”.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com Emily

    I just think Pixar could use more female directors. I don’t think the past and present Pixar directors have done any disservice to women in their films–I think they’ve painted some very sensitive and interesting portraits of women (and girls) that range from “girly/feminine” to “tomboy.”

    But as it’s been said earlier in this post, it takes someone who’s truly interested in telling a female-driven story to make the film (like Miyazaki or Brenda Chapman).

  • Handel

    I agree with john up top. Kudos to ya.
    I think that American animation has pretty much been dominated by female leads. I think its also a false notion that the “princess” type has been one of weakness and frailty. And that is exactly the stereotype that has been put on them. (yes stereotype).
    The ‘princess’ has been a type that at its core is about survival. Staying alive and surviving takes strength. It is only loathed by what is commonly known as the ‘modern day’ woman. (circa 1960 to present).
    The reason (mainly) that it IS so loathed is that there is the entrance of the male figure who (only in the end ) works with the princess for the common good. (usually freedom).
    But that TOO is something not looked upon by ‘modern’ feminist movement….the male.

    THAT SAID…I too see nothing wrong with strong and yeah..tomboy types. And frankly..I think we have MORE OF THAT today than ever.
    From Mulan, to Cats cant dance, to the Incredibles, to even the female ogre in SHREK.
    And while we’re talking about it..when exactly WAS the last time we had a female cast in the ‘princess’ mode?
    (crickets)
    So….what exactly are we complaining about again? Unless of course…that’s the point. To complain.

  • Kirb

    I find this entire issue pointless and almost rather insulting, and the last thing I want is Pixar focusing on having a strong female lead instead of first focusing on a plot.

    Miyazaki makes many wonderful films with female leads, but I’m confident he doesn’t get people asking him to make more films with male leads, because people don’t (and frankly, shouldn’t) care. The same should apply to Pixar.

    So let’s try to not force agendas on Pixar so we can fill a gender quota, shall we? Or at least wait two years for Bear and the Bow, which is looking to be fantastic, (and not just because it has a female lead.)

  • http://mrdarbyshire.com Michael

    They need to focus on making a good character at all, first.

    Can you imagine a Miyazaki lead personality, in the same film with Pixar characters?

    It’s not just gender that’s wrong with Pixar.

  • Sara

    Since it seems to keep coming up, I don’t think anyone is really arguing that Pixar should make a movie with a female lead because they just can’t relate to movies with male leads. I certainly didn’t watch “Up” and come out saying “Well I didn’t like it because I couldn’t make heads or tails of all these male characters.” I loved “Up.” Linda Holmes, who wrote the original opinion piece cited here that some people commenting clearly did not bother to read all the way through, loved “Up.” This isn’t about saying that Pixar is doing something wrong or doing a bad job. This is about something that is going on industrywide and the main reason Pixar is being targeted in this article because Pixar is currently the best animation studio in Hollywood and the one most likely to ignore the pundits who insist that you can’t have an animated movie with a female lead that makes money unless the character is a princess. If the shoe were on the other foot and the only lead male characters in any animated movies were handsome princes, wouldn’t you wish that just once there could be a film where that wasn’t the case, even if some of the films with handsome princes or female leads were really good?

    As long as Pixar turns out top quality animated films, I will go to see them, no matter who the protagonist is. I suspect Ms. Holes will too. But I can love Pixar films and praise them for all the good they do and still wish that the studio would take on a certain kind of project. If I were to ask what people would like to see from Pixar next, I’m sure we’d see a huge variety of suggestions for stories that could be adapted into great Pixar films or just concepts that would make amazing Pixar movies. And not one of those suggestions, however far off they may be from what Pixar is doing currently or does in the future, would mean that the person who made it hates what Pixar is doing.

    I’m not sure why some people seem to be suggesting that having a movie with a female lead and having a inspiring idea for a great story would be mutually exclusive. Inspiration can come from a lot of sources other than sitting out in a peaceful meadow and being struck from above with the perfect, fully formed story idea. The almighty deadline has certainly been an inspiration to any number of creative people and the results are not always bad. Listen to the commentary tracks on Pixar films and you’ll hear the filmmakers talking about their daughters and how they served as an inspiration to make strong and important female characters like Dot from “A Bug’s Life” or Jessie from “Toy Story 2.” Pixar has tons of great female characters who are essential to the stories they are in, not add-ons designed to satisfy some PC directive. So what’s to stop Pixar from taking the next step and putting one of those great female characters center stage?

    Reportedly, when people ask Miyazaki why so many of his films feature girls in the lead roles (and the fact that he has been asked that seems to negate the argument that “nobody cares”), he’s answered “Why not?” That’s really all we’re asking here. Not “How could you do the women of the world such a horrible disservice by refusing to make a movie about a female character who is not a princess?” Just “Why not?”

    I am looking forward to “The Bear and the Bow,” which I am sure will be a wonderful film, as well as every other Pixar film that comes along in the future, whether the main characters are men, women, boys, girls, princesses, princes, monsters, newts, lawn gnomes, cabbages, or whatever.

  • http://asteriskpix.blogspot.com richard o’connor

    Quote: “Story is king and that’s all that matters.”

    I have just seen “Up”. The king, apparently, is dead.

  • Oscar Grillo

    The don’t make movies about native americans or whales or handicapped people either.

  • http://www.goonytoon.com Aj H

    While it might be nice to see something different like that, i think that it’s a simple matter of the natural process of things. I believe it’d be rough to try and shoehorn “female” into something that wasn’t inherent in the idea just to have a female lead. It’s unfortunate, but true.
    The other side of things might be in part of the old military argument of nobody wants to see women get hurt or beaten up. Flip roles in wall-e and see how you feel about Eve being crushed and beaten and electrocuted throughout. I know it’s all just in our minds, and it’ll be more time for this to be broken down, but i do believe it’ll come in time at pixar, since the longstanding disney tradition of doing both female and male leads.
    Somewhat of a side note, i can sympathize with the original writer of the quote because a friend i once knew in highschool who was studying to be a writer mentioned that Iron Giant didn’t float her boat and that “boy and his dog” stories weren’t for her.
    Conversely, i never liked most of the old disney female lead movies, i guess it has to do with never empathizing… which leads me to my conclusion; should it not matter what gender it is, as long as you can empathize with the protagonist and put yourself in their skin, shouldn’t that always be the main focus.

  • http://dailygrail.com/blog/8389 red pill junkie

    Why doesn’t Pixar just hire Nina Paley and be done with it? :)

  • Lauren

    “The don’t make movies about native americans or whales or handicapped people either.”

    Nemo was a handicapped fish….

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    Hey Aj H:

    Um… Wall-e (guy) was the love-able robot. Eve (girl) was the cold, shallow robot. Well, just sayin’. I just think that says more than the point of not wanting to see a female robot get hurt. But as I said previously, I don’t believe Pixar has done any shame to women in their caricatures.

    Not sure if we’re supposed to comment on other people’s comments anymore, but I guess it’s still happening ;)

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Kirb,

    You’re missing the point. It’s not about agendas, or Political Correctness. Linda’s comments are right on the mark. Every time females are leads in most modern animated films, princess or otherwise, they’re usually a wimpy Disney-style princess singing & dancing, and looking for some prince. It’s a cliche that’s been used to death, compared to the more *diverse* portrayals of females in some good animated productions nowadays (I mean *good* and *well thought out* female leads, like the ones I mentioned in my previous post, not the forced PC “feminist” stereotype that’s so common in most TV cartoons).

  • a reader

    “While it might be nice to see something different like that, i think that it’s a simple matter of the natural process of things. I believe it’d be rough to try and shoehorn “female” into something that wasn’t inherent in the idea just to have a female lead. It’s unfortunate, but true.”

    I know this is written with the best intentions, but it really encapsulates the whole problem. And why it IS a problem, if you wish more stories featured not-guys.

    50% of the human population are females, so why is having almost all male leads in stories “the natural process”? Why would a story told from the pov of a female be “different” from “normal”? If it’s seen as “unfortunate” that it’s weighted so heavily to one gender why must it be called “true” as in “that’s just the way it is-too bad”?

    If all it would take to do more fantastic and interesting and memorable and successful characters that happen to be female is making a conscious decision to do it that way, then bringing it up is a really good thing to do. And it’s my belief that the reason it isn’t done more often isn’t because it’s “natural” that all those main characters be male, it’s because it’s easier. Or seems easier-that is, more natural.

    Try telling your daughter that Nemo is a boy fish because it’s “more natural” that marline is worried about his little boy than he’d be if it were a little girl in the story.

    I’m very glad that all the films that have been made to date are what they are.
    But it still bears thinking about. I’m also pretty sure given the upcoming films that it has been thought about, very seriously.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    I still believe that Belle from Beauty and the Beast is a great female protagonist, and good role-model for little girls (such as myself when the film came out). She reads. She has a great imagination. She doesn’t want to marry for looks or reputation. She follows her heart. She bravely trades her life for her father’s. She stands up to a scary dog-bull-thing (Beast) and eventually falls in love with it despite its ugliness. I’ve always liked her!

  • http://kambodiahotel.blogspot.com Moro

    ” I think what were seeing now in animation still isn’t nessiserily sincere to woman, despite the men who label them as “strong characters”.

    What kinds of characters do you think *would* be sincere to women?

  • http://www.mikebustacappa.blogspot.com Mike Caracappa

    “What kinds of characters do you think *would* be sincere to women?”

    Well, this isn’t animation related, but I’m really fond of the writing on Six Feet Under, and the portrayal of the three women characters on that show. The three of them are of different ages, a teenage girl, a young adult woman, and a middle aged woman, all of whom don’t know who they are and have to go on a search for their identity. I may not be a girl, but I think it’s a really powerful, honest portrayl of women trying to find their place in society, especially in such a male centric world. I don’t see why animation (even animation for children) can’t do something similar.

  • 3-D Trend

    “The day Pixar stops making films that their directors are inspired to make, and they start making films to hit all the right gender demographics is going to be a sad day indeed.”

    That day has already come and gone.
    It’s called Cars 2. Excited?

    The Vancouver studio is part of that sad day as well, with its T.V. specials, exploitative shorts, and what ever else they come up with to make up there in order to milk every single penny they can out of a “legacy” franchise.
    The audiences won’t see the real effects of this for 2 – 3 years once all these projects are released. Of course I’m sure we’ll all love them after they come out, it is PIXAR after all.

  • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto

    I think John Paul Cassidy is right about The Bear And The Bow, I also feel the princess in that story is going to be quite different to those of Disney. For example, Jeff Smith’s “Bone” is an epic fantasy type of story that doesn’t follow the exact Disney formula and the female character, Thorn, is quite different to Disney’s princesses. I can see Pixar creating something more similar to that type of story instead of the Disney formula.

  • http://reddiabla.blogspot.com/ Red Diabla

    I guess it needs to be said again:

    Pixar is one of the few animation studios that doesn’t do stereotypical princess-type films, and the first time they have a female lead character she’s…a princess.

    Uhm, really?

    Out of all the subjects they could do, they pick that?!

    I’m disappointed too, especially after seeing Up and Ellie as a girl. She was great! Princesses? BORRRRRRING.

    This isn’t about quotas, or the Pixar directors not being women. For a studio who regularly breaks new ground, do princesses really seem that interesting? Truly? I’m falling asleep just thinking about it.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com Emily

    A princess can mean many things. Remember Princess Mononoke?

  • acetate

    “A girl and the things that happen to her”

    The lady in front of her in line got the pair of shoes SHE wanted at Payless.
    The girl in the cubicle next to hers keeps laughing on the phone all day and getting on her nerves.
    She starves herself all weekend and yet gains 2 pounds !

    All exciting and true topics to be sure (courtesy of my wife) but I can’t say as I’d like to see them animated with 3-D characters.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Re:
    –“A girl and the things that happen to her”
    The lady in front of her in line got the pair of shoes SHE wanted at Payless.
    She starves herself all weekend and yet gains 2 pounds !–

    Oh boy, a CATHY movie. AACK!

    Maybe some damn girls can start their own animation studio and make all kinds of boring movies about yukky girl stuff, like dermabrasion and the BEDAZZLERâ„¢.

  • http://reddiabla.blogspot.com/ Red Diabla

    The lady in front of her in line got the pair of shoes SHE wanted at Payless.
    The girl in the cubicle next to hers keeps laughing on the phone all day and getting on her nerves.
    She starves herself all weekend and yet gains 2 pounds !

    All exciting and true topics to be sure (courtesy of my wife) but I can’t say as I’d like to see them animated with 3-D characters.

    Is that ALL your wife does? Pretty sad for the both of you if that’s the case.

  • Brianne

    Acetate and FP: Wow. Really? You guys must think girls are really boring. That makes me depressed. If you only knew the messed up stuff that goes on in our heads, but obviously, you don’t care, and those stories aren’t worth your time. Reminds me of a certain exec I pitched too. As far as the cube neighbor talking on the phone, buying shoes, and gaining weight, those seem like things guys deal with too, or at least the ones I personally know.
    I like movies and tv shows that appeal to both girls and boys, like “Up!”, but most studios want only 50% of the audience.

  • Susi

    For instance, have a look at this upcoming movie:
    http://www.catsuka.com/news_detail.php?id=1243975291 -french-
    http://www.shochikufilms.com/film/detail.php?product_code=718

    See? It is possible…

  • acetate

    Of course she does other things Red. Just making a generalization, but it’s the same one that has been made for years. That guys are usually into more adventure and action, and girls like to bake cookies and be princesses. Of course there are plenty of exceptions and variations but in general I think its just human nature. My wife and I both find it funny that for all the enlightend , artsy friends we have, when we go to a christmas party everyone seperates into 2 camps. The guys talking all the geeky/spaceships/things blowin’ up real good stuff. The girls talking shoping/relationships/food stuff.

  • http://www.eatabullet.com Ted Sheckler

    Coraline was awesome.
    discuss

  • Jenny

    “The lady in front of her in line got the pair of shoes SHE wanted at Payless.
    The girl in the cubicle next to hers keeps laughing on the phone all day and getting on her nerves.
    She starves herself all weekend and yet gains 2 pounds ! All exciting and true topics to be sure (courtesy of my wife) but I can’t say as I’d like to see them animated with 3-D characters. ”

    I’m speechless.

  • Gary K.

    Wow, listening to the guys in this discussion has just dropped my respect for the animation community down a notch. No one is arguing let’s mandate Pixar this or that, let’s make all films PC, no one wants that. But that doesn’t mean this sort of thing is off limits to discuss and critique, it’s a cultural product, and like all cultural products is going to be critiqued from various angles. Responding to serious discussion with nonsense like “The don’t make movies about native Americans or whales or handicapped people either” is childish. I think at this point in Pixar’s career as a studio it’s a valid point to make concerning the absence of female leads. And considering all fictional stories are made up the, “well it should come out of a natural process” argument that keeps popping up sounds silly to me. Stories don’t grow on trees, and writing a story with a strong female lead doesn’t mean the PC police have to sit there and stifle the creativity out of it.

  • Philboyd Studge

    Why pick on Pixar?

    Why doesn’t Oxygen produce some animated movies with female leads? Is there a sudden shortage of employable animators? Is Oprah low on cash? How can you complain about the guys if you don’t complained about the girls? I’m just askin’…

    And where is Lifetime?

  • Poor White Guy

    I totally agree with Linda Holmes. I wish rap music addressed the life choices and challenges of us rural-Utah, white, male Mormons. Why does 50cent always have to rap as a black guy?

  • http://www.rosscarroll.com Ross Carroll

    Story is more important than gender.

  • Redkanary

    It’s funny how Disney is pointed to as a some kind of princess movie factory, when their ratio of male to female leads is actually about even. Aladdin, The Lion King, Hunchback, Hercules, Tarzan, Emperor’s New Groove – all pretty recent, all solid and memorable.

    Heck, even Miyazaki’s had his share of male leads – Pazu from Castle in the Sky, Porco Rosso, Prince Ashitaka, and of course, Lupin the Third.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com emily

    Sexism is alive and well on Cartoon Brew. Not very surprising. I’ve already been fore-warned about the animation industry being “not easy for women” by successful women in animation who have fought the ongoing fight. Reality sucks.

  • Citizen M

    I posted this reply on Cinematical, but you all should hear it too. Hopefully it does some good for you both.
    .
    .
    .
    I’m going to make an honest attempt at a reply. I know I shouldn’t try, but I hope some good will come of my words. I hope at least some women will agree with what I say. I hope.

    Do you want to know why some men (and even some women) react negatively at NPR’s Linda Holmes for her article? Why Cartoon Brew reacted the way it did? Why Dawn Taylor will be criticized?

    The truth is that neither Dawn Taylor nor Linda Holmes are decrying under-representation of women in film, nor are they denouncing over-representation of men. The motive from their declaration of sexism is the exact same motive they criticize in others; to represent women at the expense of men.

    “What? No, that’s not it at all! You’ve got it wrong!”, as I hear the yelling across the internet.
    Isn’t it? Are you SURE?
    Think…think long and hard about WHAT these women said in their articles. More importantly, think about HOW they said. Don’t get hung up on words they might have written in a knee-jerk retort at my point. Think about the CONTEXT and the MEANING behind the words what that means from the PERSPECTIVE of the opposite sex.

    The ONLY motive I can see in these articles is to protest for filmmakers to write a proletariat female lead. Nothing else mattered. They say, “I want to see a Pixar film with a female in the lead.” Why? Because it would appeal to women. What’s wrong with that? I’ll tell you what’s wrong; they left out the other half of the population in their sexist equation…the men. At once they weep for under-representation of half the human species only to curse the other half by committing all the same crimes they deplore in others.

    What they should be saying is, “I want to see a Pixar film with a female lead that appeals as much to women as it does to men.”
    But these women don’t mean to say that.
    These women NEVER mean to say that!

    And they wonder why men get defensive and angry. Why some women like Dawn and Linda are labeled with pejoratives and called out for an agenda they claim they don’t have. Why Dawn and Linda’s articles are interpreted as “Pixar, make a Chick Flick” and “Women against Cartoon Brew!”

    So you see, it turns out women are just as guilty of being selfish as all the over-represented men being criticized and emotionally blackmailed in these sexist articles. Only difference is, men have the representation advantage and women don’t. More is the pity.

    What’s the solution? I don’t have one, but I will say this to all the women still courageous enough to read this far; do not think ONLY of yourselves. Men love women and we respect women that fight for their rights, but not at the expense of our own rights. Unfortunately, we men are a selfish, stubborn and proud gender too and we need representation as much as you do. Your responsibility as women, and our responsibility as men, is to find a solution that works for BOTH OF US. Films that alternate female/male leads organically (yes, it was a fine word), but none of us cares because we both love the films! That’s the world I want to live in and I’d like women to live there too.

  • Mike

    Jerry’s title for this entry is misleading… there’s nothing at all in Linda Holmes letter that is asking for anything even remotely resembling a “chick flick”. Furthermore, her letter is not a cry to “market” to females either, as some other people have suggested. It is ultimately nothing more than what it seems.

    “Hey Pixar, how about a movie starring a girl?”

    It’s really pretty simple, and there’s no *supportable* reason why anybody should have a problem with such a request.

    It has nothing to do with being politically correct, or “balancing the scales” or any other such agenda. It’s just a simple request to see a company that makes great movies make one that’s ABOUT a girl, rather than one that happens to have a few girls in it somewhere.

  • Me

    Citizen M, I feel the need to respond (even though my last post never made it up in here for some reason, but it was pretty angry, so maybe it’s for the best). I did stop and I did think about your point. I even re-read the article and thought about that. And I still disagree.

    Men are by no means ‘under-represented’ in media, and film is no exception, be it live-action or animated. And I have to admit, I’m somewhat stumped at how you were able to derive the motive behind other people’s writing– are you psychic? Because after re-reading the article in question I’m trying to see how you could come to such a definitive conclusion about what she was thinking when she wrote it. Obviously you came to your conclusions the same way I came to my own, but I can’t sit here and pretend to know for an absolute fact what someone’s motive for expressing an opinion was, because I’m not them. All I can give is my interpretation of what I read which is informed by my perceptions and experiences.

    How I read that letter, and how I feel about the topic, is not that women should be represented at the expense of men in Pixar movies, but it would sure be nice to have the sort of women they write take the lead role once in a while. Sure, Disney has their princesses, and that’s fine, I don’t want to get into a debate about the feminist merits of those characters. The main problem with the Disney heroine for me is that, with a few exceptions, they fit an archetype that I don’t relate to. Most of my girl friends don’t relate to them either. Personally, I spent most of my youth identifying with male leading characters because they fit my internal self-image more than the ‘princess’ type. And that’s okay, girls can relate to male characters, in fact by and large we tend to have to with movies, since most of them are presented from a male perspective anyway. But I’m finding it difficult to understand why it’s so unreasonable to expect a little quid pro quo; why is wanting a female lead who isn’t a princess a bad thing?

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, Pixar is taking the focus here because so far, they’ve written female (and male) characters that I love getting invested in, that I relate to, and that I want to see more of. The idea of having a female lead in a movie that I can connect with is really exciting to me because it honestly doesn’t happen very often. I’m not angry at Pixar for not having had one before now, but I have to admit to being pretty irked at the response the idea has provoked in some people. “Chick flick” is a term that does not convey positive qualities, and I won’t even respond to the “shoe shopping” comments because I’m honestly finding it hard to believe someone could be serious about that. I’m angry that the consensus seems to be that there’s something wrong with my gender, that it’s somehow demeaning or insulting to suggest marketing a female leading character in anything but a “chick flick”. Why is it so wrong for women to want to see a movie about a girl they can relate to? Why are so many men put off by the idea of seeing a movie with a female lead? And why do so many people assume that more men feel that way than they really do? I have no idea, but if anyone has answers for me, I’m all ears because frankly, I’m tired of wondering what’s wrong with being a girl.

  • Jenna

    It is seemingly difficult to acknowledge or understand another groups issues and long-standing struggles.

    While reading the numerous, numerous comments, I was continually thinking, “This isn’t a gender issue at all. This is an issue of the young white male being the dominant figure in popular culture.” Media and movies are constantly progressing towards some form of equality. We need the complainers around to cause some movement and change.

    I’m a white female. I notice when the lead of a film is a white female and I eat it up, not because she’s white, but because she’s female. Because females show up less commonly than males. This is because, though we are progressing, males still dominate the field. What about the other races, even? That hasn’t been touched much besides Russel from Up. People really noticed that he was Asian because that is a huge rarity in film.

    We need to strive to have films that do cover every type of person. Pixar, as previously mentioned, went out on a limb by having someone elderly as the lead of Up. That’s another group of people without much glory time.

    I’m always so grateful to hear that someone caused such an uproar about topics such as this because the uproar causes change.

    Kudos to the movers and the shakers.

  • JD

    I think most of you are missing the point of the Pixar/Disney movies anyway. They’re aimed at children, not you adults who need a politically correct world to live in. Little girls, for the most part it would seem, have princess-related desires. My niece is 5 right now and she goes gaga over everything princessy. She wants that kind of thing and Pixar and Disney know that, which is why the female lead usually ends up being a princess. As for boys who want to be everything under the sun at the same time (ask any boy and he’ll give you a range of firefighter to astronaut to race car driver), well, it would seem easier to cater to them since those are more adventurous (and consequently roomier for creative direction) tales to tell. Whereas the princess motif is, well, overdone and who knows where else we can take it. Sure, The Bear and The Bow sounds nice, but it’s not exactly something we haven’t seen before. The girl who rebels from society’s expectations to find the strength to defend herself rather than wait for a boy to save her. Been done, but I’m sure they’ll be able to squeeze some novelty out of it like they always do. Stories about boys are just easier to tell. That said, I do agree that there should be more female protagonists in Pixar-related movies.

  • Stripey

    In my own personal opinion, I’d hate to see Pixar do a chick flick. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a female lead once in awhile. Who says all chick flicks have girls as main characters and all “boy flicks” have boys as main characters? “Coraline” was a highly entertaining movie (for both gender groups) that featured a girl as the main character and her mother as the leading antagonist–yet boys loved the movie as well.

    I’m no feminazi, but I do admit it would be nice to see a girl as a main character. Just to spice things up. But don’t rush artists; I’m a screenwriter, myself, and I know there’s no good that comes out of rushing someone into creating something.

  • Me

    Yeah, okay, I have to say something else. “Feminism” is not, I repeat NOT based on the idea that women are or should be superior to men. Someone who claims to be a feminist while saying anything to support that viewpoint is not actually a feminist, they’re a sexist, plain and simple. (No, there’s no such thing as “reverse sexism”, either– sexism is sexism regardless of the gender of the person in question.) Feminism is and always has been about EQUALITY between the genders. That’s all.

    Also, can we please stop using terms like “feminazi”? It really doesn’t help to clear this misconception up at all.

    Don’t get me started on the term “chick flick”.

  • Martha

    You’ve automatically degraded this woman’s argument in your mind with the title “Dear Pixar, How about a Chick Flick?”

    There are chick flicks and there are films with female protagonists, and if you can’t tell the difference, then you’ve been severly underestimating 50 percent of the population.

    And girls have alleged “princess-related desires” because that’s what has been offered in the market. There are plenty of tomboys, may I remind you.

    Maybe you should take a note from Pixar, who recently offered up the kick ass character of Susan from Monsters vs. Aliens.

  • Jeremy

    As is said above, you can’t pay most men and boys to go to movie about a girl. While I respect the drive for equality and am willing to stand up and be counted when it comes to supporters of both equal opportunity and equal wages, I am among those who could not be payed to go see a movie about a female unless it had an incredibly compelling story and was superbly done. While I am no psychologist or even a student of psychology, it is my uneducated opinion that we go to the movies to see heroes born and live, even if the problem said hero must overcome is working up the courage to ask a girl out or face down a bully. The reason you can’t pay most men to go see movies with female leads is that guys look for male heroes. We want to idolize the King Arthur’s, the Supermen, the heroes that go out and do great things. We have a hard time connecting with a female lead. Even if she faces ravening hordes or demons or some other vicious and vile evil creature, she is still a woman, and therefore alien to us.

    The reason Pixar has not produced a movie with a female lead yet, and the reason on the whole for the lack of them, is that women are willing to try and make the connection with the King Arthur characters. But men aren’t willing to or fear they can’t make a connection with the female leads. The marketers know this and so make films that will sell.

  • Lora

    First off, I have to say that I am a female member of the human species.

    Now that that is out of the way, I have to admit that I don’t think that people should classify Belle (Beauty and the Beast) as a ‘Princess’. She goes through the whole movie (right up until the very end) as a normal ordinary girl. Mulan as well was not a ‘Princess’, and yet I have seen so many people commenting on this topic using those two along with the other Disney Princesses to make their point. Please, go ahead and make your point- but at least try and remember the plot before you talk about people.

    Please.

    Second point: What is wrong with Princesses? My favorite books when I was younger (and to an extent today) are “The Dragonslayers” (Bruce Coville) “The Ordinary Princess” (Author Forgotten, sorry!) and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. All of these stories had a princess as the main character (or, at least as one of them). I knew that I couldn’t be a princess when I grew up, and yet I still idolized these people.

    It would be cool if someone made a movie out of the books- even though they’re ‘princess movies’. As long as the movie is made well, and the female lead is strong, I don’t care if they are a princess or not.

    As for another argument I’ve heard, people have questioned the possible changes that it would make in a movie if character’s genders were switched. (Marlin from Finding Nemo for one example).

    In Finding Nemo, I think the point is that it is the father searching for his son. I mean, stereotypically the father doesn’t really have much to do with the child in movies- however the fact that they made a movie about a father searching for his son really drove the point home, and I don’t think it would be the same if it had been a “Marlena”.

    That being said, I apologize if this offends anyone, but I really did wish to say my piece. I am hopeful that in the future, when/if Pixar finds a *good* non-Princess, female lead script, that they will make it a good movie. Until then I am going to continue watching and enjoying Pixar movies without worrying about the chromosome pairing of the main character.

  • Isabel

    Even though I may be saying things that have probably already been said, I just thought I’d like to add something.
    In most movies, a man is a central character and the woman is usually a side character. Even if the woman is a main character or side character she usually has a personality that is overused and stereotypical. But this is to be expected because most of the movie business is male. Even though women are generally becoming more noticed in the movie business you mostly hear about a male actor or a male director. Movies are also usually written by men and I believe it would be hard for a man to write about a woman from a woman’s perspective. It would be much easier for a man to write about a man doing something then a woman doing something. And vice versa if a women was doing it. (not that it isnt possible). In acting, if I were to ask my brother (a serious movie buff) who his favourite actor and director was he would have only 3 favourite female actors and no female directors. Why is this? Are women less capable in acting and directing? Are men just generally more talented then women? No, it’s because that generally, the most interesting and recognised roles where actors get to go crazy and show their amazing acting ability… are male characters. Now, I wouldn’t change this by saying that a famous man’s role should have been played by a woman I just think that women should have more crazy roles that show their talent. It is also harded for female actors as they get older. If a male actor has stood the test of time and is now an old man he will have many interesting elderly roles to act in but for a woman there would be less roles to choose from. I’m sure all thewse equalities in the movie business will be fixed when there are more women in the industry.
    I would really like to see Pixar do some more films with a lead female character because Pixar is a great studio and I agree, that this girl shouldn’t be a princess. Not that princesses are bad, I for one think there are some great princess characters, Belle (even though she isn’t a princess) is a very good character but she is represented by Disney as a “Disney Princess”. Normal girls arent princesses and I don’t think they need to be a princess or become one in a movie to make it interesting. The problem is that when lead females cartoon characters are often princess it makes it seem like, “A story about a girl isn’t interesting when the girl isn’t a princess or doesn’t become a princess”. This is one of the reasons I like Mulan and Studio Ghibli because that they don’t have princesses as the main character. In Studio Ghibli’s case, two of its movies have a princess as a main character (Princess Monoke AKA San and Nausicaa) these princesses kick ass and do not hesitate to jump right into the action, standing along side strong male characters, San holds her own against Ashitaka and Nausicaa will do anything to help her people. I think the transition from male main characters to female main characters will happen gradually as more females go into the movie business.
    There are already many examples of females in animated movies, Studio Ghibli being a good example, but I think it would be really interesting to see how Pixar would show girl who isn’t a princess because we do have an awful lot of princesses. But I’m sure, as the years go by, we will be seeing a lot more girls in movies as the main character.

  • Andy

    I just searched this looooong page for the word “dollars” and came up with nil. “Marketing” only occurs twice, too. Clearly you’ve all missed the real reason. Pixar makes films to put butts in seats and sell DVDs. Disney makes films to sell dolls to little girls. I guarantee that the Princess Jasmine doll (and cereal bowl, and Halloween costume, and hairbrush, and bedsheets, etc. etc. etc.) outsold all the Violet Parr mech’ by about 1,000,000 : 1. Besides My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a chick flick-box-office-anomaly, chick flicks don’t get anywhere close to Pixar’s numbers when they get even a somewhat-of-a-hit film.

    Dollars. Dollars dollars dollars dollars dollars.

  • Jack Elliott

    If you don’t like Pixar’s or Disney’s movies, then make your own.

  • Beth

    If you don’t like Pixar’s or Disney’s movies, then make your own.

    This is, frankly, the kind of silencing b.s. that you should be ashamed of having typed. I’m not a filmmaker and I don’t want to be. I have neither the means nor the ability to make a CGI movie. But I love Pixar and spend money on their movies every year. But I’m not allowed to have an opinion about their body of work — all of which I’ve seen, and almost all of which I own?

    I guess it follows that women and minorities shouldn’t waste their breath opining that they’re underrepresented or represented in problematic ways in… well, anything. Good to know.

  • Liz

    Well, Hayao Miyazaki managed to make several great films with female leads who had scraped knees (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle) and each film was universally appealing, made no mention of shoes or weight issues, and each was completely charming in its own way. If Miyazaki can repeatedly make great movies like this, and when Pixar has proven its chops when it comes to making interesting, dynamic female supporting characters, why shouldn’t they be able to put two and two together to give us a movie with an awesome female lead?

    The problem with a lot of the viewpoints expressed here is that apparently, women have to be decidedly womanly, which generally carries negative connotations. Why is it that we are so often handed leading ladies who swoon at the sight of blood, or are harpies, or sex symbols, or who force a commercialized view of what a woman *should be* down our throats?

    I just hope that by the time I have a little girl, there are more movies like the Mulans and Miyazaki films of this world–movies that show that little girls can be whatever they want to be, that they can be strong and adventurous, witty and urbane, and perfectly charming however they are.

  • Krysha Syrin

    I grew up with both Disney and Pixar alike and had no problem dressing up as Woody from Toy Story on Halloween. However, I do see the point of controversy. For too long Disney relied on the stereotype, the idea that strong females still always had to have the male character to support them and weren’t able to hold their own for more than a few moments.

    It would be wonderful to see a character like Ellie or Jessie as a lead role for a change. While it’s great to have a character “break away” from a set role, as it sounds like the character in The Bear and the Bow is set to do, it’s even better when they start out as an outcast in non-gender specific role.

    Also, and this is just a general idea for all these kids movies, can we stop killing off the adults/parents for awhile?

    I see it in a lot of kid’s movies and while death is a fact of life (I myself lost my mom and grandfather in the same year), it doesn’t necessarily have to be pushed at us from all sides, especially as an all-too obvious motivator for the character’s every action, as it often is used as . . .

    Just an added thought

  • Lauren

    urgh. I try so hard to limit my responses to threads like these. I thought the conversation was going in an encouraging direction, but recent posts make me feel otherwise, which is so depressing and disheartening as a woman who works in animation.

    Citizen M— while I appreciate the tone of your comment (you seem to be offering a peace pipe while stating your opinion) saying that this letter is asking for consideration at the expense of men is like saying the poor asking for a share in resources from the extremely wealthy is selfish and they should stop. Holmes is not asking Pixar to cease making movies about male characters completely. She doesn’t even seem to be asking for an equal share of protagonists. She’s asking for one measly movie.

    JD— I wonder if you are presenting your argument as an excuse or a reason (there is a difference.) Yes, attitudes like this keep studios from greenlighting chick flicks, (more on that term ater) and unfortunately, it’s hard to get boys and men interested in movies about women. (As many have pointed out, lots of boys and men liked Coraline, but I digress.) But 60 years ago, and probably even more recently, you couldn’t get white guys to watch a movie about black guys for the exact same reasons. They couldn’t relate and weren’t interested, but that is most definitely not the case any more. I doubt many guys would say “Boy that action movie looks awesome, but I just can’t relate to Samuel L. Jackson. Maybe if it were Bruce Willis I’d go.” With time and effort, hopefully the next generations of boys and men will be able to relate to women as fellow human beings.

    Which leads me to the last thing I wanted to bring up. I’m glad the topic of the term “chick flick” is being discussed. I have so many opinions on this term, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess my biggest beef is that it is most definitely a term used to reduce value in content starring women. And yes, there is certainly a good bit of fluff out there, but lots of so-called chick flicks are good stories. And while Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Bride Wars are the kind of drivel people are referring to, When Harry Met Sally is actually a well-told story. I’m sorry but so is Steel Magnolias. And how about The Color Purple? I don’t even think people consider that a chick flick, but it’s about a woman, her sister, her best friend (another woman) and her struggles to overcome oppression, abuse and poverty. And it was nominated for an Oscar. And how about the whole Aliens franchise?? Aliens 2 is about a mother who lost her daughter and fights to save another little girl from another mother trying to protect her children.

    And let’s not forgot there is plenty of completely gratuitous, aimed-at-guys-only, has-absolutely-no-substance, lowest-common-denominator, no-woman-would-care-to-watch garbage out there for men. Stephen Seagal movies anyone? Snakes on a Plane? 300? Tomb Raider? Replace the “ch” with a “d” and you’ve got a term for these movies.

  • AnimatorJen

    “But men aren’t willing to or fear they can’t make a connection with the female leads.”

    And there is the inherent problem with society. These are shortcomings that males need to get over. Marketing and the ignorant perpetuate this way of thinking.

    There is no reason that in this day and age a man can’t become willing to make a connection to a female character. The men who do ‘fear’ making that connection are really holding themselves back from becoming well-rounded, insightful individuals. There is no excuse for it; not being willing to is ignorant and misogynist.

    The world would probably be a better place if more guys were willing.

  • http://myspace.com/edel_illus edel_illus

    Keep your feminist BS off of my Pixar! I had to watch movies about princesses for 20 years. I mean look how long it took Disney to make a film with a Black lead(what wasnt songs of the south)… and it isnt even out yet.

    “The world would probably be better if guys were willing — to make animated films about women”…you’re having delusions of grandeur, Jen.

    When I turn on the TV(which isnt often these past few years) its over saturated with all things little girls are into, with female leads and all kinds of rhetoric bashing little boys and making them feel inferior for being what they are. Basically telling them that they’d be better if they were more like women. And this logic spans across the whole entertainment spectrum.

  • SodiumAzide

    I can’t help but think that the masculinity of the stories that Pixar has been telling is part of their success. It has been pointed out to me by intelligent persons that Pixar has made itself on exploring male dynamics that are not often touched upon in other works of fiction. They have made an empire out of a more somber mature look at the male condition.

    Somehow the call for more female seems childish. It has a petulant quality to it that somehow supposes that a thing can be made better by changing a gender. Changing a lead characters gender is not a trivial thing. A character of one gender is a horrible stereotype but a rule breaking role model when reversed.

    Miyazaki is not pixar. They aren’t the same and don’t have the same talents. Characters that Miyazaki creates for his own works not only have a whole different set of gender associations being from another culture (so often they are quite stereotyped and we just aren’t getting the more subtle signs) but also might just have a talent in that direction. JRR Tolkien couldn’t right a female character for his life and yet managed to write a seminal work.

    Right now though? I think its the role model thing that hangs around this conversation like an anchor.

    I for one want no more role models. I hate to think of how many great female characters have been ruined by being turned into role models. A role model has to be good for something. They have to have positive characteristics. They need to be emulated.

    Already female leads have to be pretty, now they have to be role models too? Why its no wonder that so many people seem offended by the idea of a female lead. They are imagining every other more perfect than perfect female lead saddled with trivial flaws and then paraded forward into an empty film.

    All of the female leads that I have ever had pleasure in following are not role models. They are often horrendous people or impulsive and stupid. They make terrible mistakes and pay for them gracelessly. Or they do bad things with panache.

    I don’t see Ellie as a role model, I would hate to have my daughter emulate her dangerous stunts and rowdy behavior. I don’t want my daughter being a forgetful ditz like Dory or a trigger-happy psychopath like EVE. BUt thats what makes them great characters. Just like I don’t want to grow to be a bitter heartbroken old man or a lonely little ugly guy and wasn’t an idiot young gun.

  • http://kirbydream.com/ Leirin

    What’s wrong with princesses? When I think of cinematical princesses I first think of Disney’s, which is comprised of animation landmark characters like Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora, etc. What’s wrong with Pixar making a movie starring a princess? Disney’s were enjoyable, and I’m sure Pixar’s will be just as, with their own unique little twist. Personally, I think it’s a great idea to do this film — like they’re trying to broaden their horizons a bit. Despite being labeled as a princess, hopefully and likely, Pixar will be able to just have the character under that role but not make a big deal out of it. Just tell the story how YOU want it to be told. Don’t let gender be an issue. Don’t let that take over the plot. Personally, next to TS3, The Bear and the Bow is the next animated movie I’m most excited for. There is amazing potential there and I know for fact Pixar will do a good job. Have they ever left me down in the past?

    And despite “leads” in Pixar movies being males, there are some times where the heroine is almost equally important as the hero. i.e., WALL•E, in which the search robot EVE was very important to the plot, and wasn’t assigned stupid stereotypes or anything. The character was just told the way Pixar wanted to tell her. There’s also Dory, who gives the film more emotional foundation, and Helen, who played an integral role in The Incredibles, also. Jessie’s pretty darn important to Toy Story 2, also. Newt stars a male and female newt.

    IMO, it’s good for Pixar to just produce enjoyable movies and not worry about the demographic. That’s why their movies thus far have been extraordinarily enjoyable for both girls and boys, kids and adults. Story is important, gender isn’t.

  • Chari

    WARNING: I have no life unless someone is wrong on the internet, mostly its me.

    I have no problem with a female lead being a princess, just as long as they are a badass princess and isn’t a sterotypical damsel in distress princesss.

    Falis from Murder Princess comes to mind lol, i suddenly feel evil…very evil hehe.