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New Short Film From Pixar Has Some Serious Things To Say About Toxic Masculinity

What's your favorite Pixar short film?

While there's never been one I didn't like, I always go back to Geri's Game, which played before A Bug's Life in 1998. It was the first Pixar Short to play before one of their movies in theatres.

Even if you don't know the name, you'll remember the old man playing chess against himself.


These short films are part of Pixar's DNA and a new theatrical release wouldn't be complete without one.

They've become a great testing ground for new animation talent too.

More recently, Pixar has tried their hand at tackling diverse topics with diverse voices at the helm of these projects.


Ahead of The Incredibles 2, Domee Shi’s Bao discussed aging, loneliness and motherhood for a Chinese-Canadian woman suffering from empty nest syndrome. It was praised for encompassing new and engaging content, and embracing rich cultural ties.

But only so many Pixar films are released in a year, limiting how many shorts could be shown.

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That's why they created the Sparkshorts program, which just debuted their first short film exclusively on YouTube.

Besides launching new artists, the shorter works also allow the company to experiment with workflow or even tone.

That flexibility is immediately apparent in the very first film dropped.

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Called, Purl, the nine-minute film tells the story of a pink ball of yarn starting a new job in a male-dominated corporate office.

In case the point is too subtle for some, the company is called "B.R.O. Captial."

As you watch, it becomes a clear statement about toxic masculinity in the workplace.

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Purl tries to fit in and be a good team player, but as the only woman — yarn — in the office, she's left out.

The men tell dirty jokes, leave her behind when they go out for wings and drinks, and disregard her ideas in meetings.

The scene in the meeting is particularly familiar.


Though Purl was obviously in production long before Gillette's controversial ad first went viral, it's telling that both depict a similar scene. It just shows how universal that situation can be for women in the corporate world.

And it's only through abandoning her values and being "one of the guys" that Purl feels accepted.

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She changes to a more masculine look, gets rid of all her girly desk accessories, and forces herself to be far more confrontational in meetings.

At first, she seems happy, until another new ball of yarn joins the team and is left out.

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Purl takes the opportunity to invite Lacey along with them for lunch, something the men didn't do for her.

It's a small gesture that makes a huge difference.

In the end, the office is more diverse and even the men seem more relaxed than before.

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Sure, this short film isn't subtle and the real world is going to need more than an open-minded ball of yarn to change, but that doesn't mean the message doesn't have value.

Reactions are already pouring in for "Purl" and it's easy to see its widespread relatability.

Regardless of how you might not fit in, the message in the film is clear — being true to yourself is hard, but necessary for change.

And even new details about the animation itself have come out.

The creators were very dedicated to making Purl stand out from everyone else in the short.

However, others were quick to mention the controversy surrounding Pixar itself.

Just last year, the company faced backlash over allegations of sexual misconduct by their leader, John Lasseter.

Alongside these allegations came a spotlight on Pixar's resistance to support female creators in their space, with many employees, or ex-employees speaking out against the company's "boy's club."

Alongside these allegations came a spotlight on Pixar's resistance to support female creators in their space.


Many employees, or ex-employees spoke out against the company's "boy's club."

Even big names like Rashida Jones and her team faced a struggle in their studio.

"There is so much talent at Pixar, and we remain enormous fans of their films. However, it is also a culture where women and people of color do not have an equal creative voice," they said in a statement.

But check out the film for yourself and see how you feel.

At the very least, you get to hear an adorable ball of yarn swear, which is super fun.