Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Pixar's Sin of Omission and a Reason to Celebrate Dora

Rev. Karyn Wiseman, via Facebook, pointed me to this delightful NPR commentary by Linda Holmes:
Dear Pixar,

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

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."

As a Pixar fan and the father of a three-year-old daughter, I concur. Stars of Pixar films are ubiquitous, and there's a real opportunity here to provide a strong heroine whom little girls can embrace.

The absence of non-princess female leads in Disney movies (with the exception of Mulan) gave me a greater appreciation for Dora the Explorer. Dora—a girl who wears shorts, carries a backpack, and explores the jungles of Central America—is the undisputed queen of early childhood television, and she provides a much-needed non-princess option when one's daughter is deciding which character's image will grace her next toothbrush, pillowcase, or pair of underpants. (I'm personally delighted that one of Resha Kate's favorite things right now is her Dora the Explorer baseball mitt.)


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