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Pixar dealt with sexism in the workplace in a new short film that everybody's talking about

This is an issue that affects people across most industries.

PastedImage-93457 Source: Disney-Pixar

AS ANY INDIVIDUAL who doesn’t identify as male will know, male-dominated workplaces can range anywhere from a little uncomfortable to a complete nightmare. 

Of course there are exceptions, but these are usually few and far between, and the people who are lucky enough to work somewhere that’s an exception will likely sympathise with those who don’t share the experience. When there isn’t another female or non-male voice to stick up for you or allow you to vent when an issue or concern does come up, you can feel pretty hopeless.

In environments like these, sexism, sexual harassment, homophobia, transphobia and even racism can run rampant, and nobody’s held accountable. If you complain, you’re not taken seriously or told that you can’t take a joke like the rest of the lads. Of course not all of the men in these workplaces are out to get you. We know that. The problem is that those who are on your side won’t always speak out, for fear of being excluded or alienated by their coworkers. Let’s not forget that there are plenty of men out there who are also pretty uncomfortable in these situations too. Unfortunately, for every man that’s uncomfortable with it and doesn’t want to be a part of it, there’s another who’s just as eager to participate. 

In a new short animation called Purl, Pixar follows a ball of yarn named Purl, who’s having trouble fitting in with the culture at their new workplace, B.R.O. Capital. The nine-minute short sees Purl trying to adapt to the macho culture at the company. To avoid causing any hassle, and in order to succeed, Purl compromises her own identity.

In the allegory, Pixar asks: “How far is she willing to go to get the acceptance she years for, and in the end, is it worth it?” 

Source: Disney•Pixar/YouTube

The animation features some mild use of expletives, so it’s obviously not aimed directly at young children, because of this, it’s at your discretion if you want to show this to kids. There’s a lot that adults can learn from it too.

Chances are, there are plenty of people out there who haven’t ever taken nine whole minutes to consider what it feels like to look around a workplace (or any other situation) and realise that there’s not a single other person there who looks like you or understands what it’s like to be the only woman, the only person of colour, the only disabled person, or the only trans person, etc. 

By the end of the short, the corporate office Purl works in is far more diverse than it was at the beginning, and at no cost to any of the other employees. 

Kristen Lester, who directed the animation said, “It’s based on my experience of being in animation. My first job, I was like the only woman in the room, and so in order to do the thing that I loved, I sort of became one of the guys. And then I came to Pixar, and I started to work on teams with women for the first time, and that actually made me realize how much of the female aspect of myself I had sort of buried and left behind.” 

Although Lester clearly praises Pixar as an employer, the company is not without fault. In June 2018, it emerged that Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter was taking official leave following complaints of sexual harassment

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Kelly Earley

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