Pixar and male lead characters

Why does Pixar only write male leads?

In *The Incredibles * Mrs. Incredible/ ElastiGirl was central - but not the main character.

Jessie in Toy Story 2 again central but not the lead.

Dory from Nemo? Ditto.

Even Boo from Monsters, Inc.

What is up with that? Am I forgetting something or is Pixar just not down with female lead characters?


In the overall scheme of things re The Incredibles I don’t really know whether I’d say Mr. Incredible was really the LEAD character. I think the Incredible family was “the lead character” in that movie even if he got somewhat more screen time.

Hmm. Interesting. Even Cars will also have two male leads. You may have something there.

Not that women get the short shrift really - there are some fantastic female character roles in all the Pixar films. Except maybe Toy Story 1.

Agreed, and Dory really stole it in Finding Nemo, IMO.

I think it is because girls/women will see movies with male leads, but boys/men think of movies with female leads as being chick flicks and won’t see them.

Like those great chick flicks: Tomb Raider, Barb Wire, Resident Evil, Elektra and Kill Bill?

If you look at the hole Disney has dug for themselves over the years and all the Female Driven story lines with either dead, evil or not-quite right parental unit ( usually a dad), the male driven characters in their stories are really flat and uninspiring.

The prince charmings in their stories ( except Beauty & the Beast and The Little Mermaid, offhand ) are all flat and perfect. No wonder little girls want to be Cinderella …she has character and loads of issues.

I think boy characters have been way over looked for decades, especially now with the theme of Strong Girls and No Girls Left Behind…kinda literature and media out there now. Boys are in quicksand of nothing and left with the japanese anime.

The only other ‘boy’ character that is popular on a global level that I can think of is Spongebob. I love Spongebob, but it is a cartoon that kids really cannot act out in imagination. It is more quotage than anything.

I would love to see more stuff with dimensional characters like the Incredibles brought to life in animation.

Are you just talking animation? If you include “literature and media”, you’re overlooking the 800-lb. gorilla:

Harry Potter.


I think Brynda is onto something. Certainly when it comes to books, the adage is that girls are far more likely to read books with boy protagonists than vice versa.

Shirley Ujest may also have a good point.

Plus there’s the tradition of all the great cartoon characters being male, as discussed in this thread.

Plus, let’s not forget one central fact: The creators of Pixar were men, and the company (and CG and animation industries) continue to be men. They’re the ones coming up with the stories, and guys often come up with stories about guys, because that’s who they identify with.

I imagine that when the company gets significantly larger–or when the industry sees more than two companies creating CG animation–you’ll see more female leads. And since Disney’s has announced it’s moving to 100% CG, I imagine Disney will produce female-lead CG movies.

Most comedy in general, if aimed at an audience of both genders, has a male protagonist. There’s a strong current of maleness being normal in Western media and literature, and femaleness being “other”, mysterious, elusive, and difficult to understand.

I think that it all comes down to animation, like writing and other forms of artistic expression, having been dominated by males and therefore the masculine experience up to very recently. It’s aggravating, too, as I think a lot of men buy into feeling that their experience as a human is fundamentally different than that of a woman, and therefore focusing on the differences between men and women. As a female, I never really felt that way until spending a lot of time with adult men.

Because of this, I can see why mixed audiences would accept male protagonists rather than female. After all, the stereotype is that you just can’t understand women and what they do – so if you want to have a character that everyone understands and sympathizes with (not really necessary in Tomb Raider and Kill Bill as action films), the male audiences will demand a male but not the other way around.

er, “continue to be dominated by men.”

5 out of how many that feature men?

Missing the point, Brynda, which was that guys will watch some films with female leads.

(Guys generally, that is. I’ve seen none of 'em.)

No, I didn’t miss the point. 5 is a pitiful number. Hell, it proves my point. I certainly didn’t mean that men never see a movie with a female lead, only that it is more unlikely than the reverse. If men were flocking to pictures with female leads, don’t you think they would make more of them?

Someone mentioned Harry Potter. Do you really think the series would be as widely read (especially by boys) if it were Harriet Potter?

I’ve watched thousands of hours of cartoons in my life, and I know this one fact: all cartoon characters are male unless there’s a specific reason for a female character. Usually the mother, wearing an apron and holding a mixing spoon. Sometimes a grandmother character, wearing half-glasses on a chain. Once in a while, a girlfriend, wearing high heels and a skirt. And the only other possibility is a sexy siren, so that a wolf can drop his jaw and pop his eyeballs out at her.

But men and boys do every activity. They are the ones who are curious, powerful, inventive, creative, assertive, rebellious, smart, athletic. Of course that’s why they dominate all cartoons.

Of course that’s outdated stereotypical claptrap, but it’s still the way most cartoons are up through today. If a cartoons somehow breaks all norms and has a female protagonist, she’s a feisty tomboy. Because ordinary girls just like to sit inside houses and play with dolls, you know.

No, actually the real point is titties. Give your Pixar protagonists a giant CGI rack, and you’ll see all sorts of young and middle aged men showing up (perhaps even with kids in tow)

See the thread I linked to earlier, especially posts #22, #26, and #36 of that thread, for reasons why this is so.

Actually, there have been more male leads than female in recent Disney animated features: Ariel, Belle, Pocahontas, Lilo, & Mulan vs. Aladdin, Simba, Hercules, Quasimodo, Tarzan, Emperor Kuzco and the leads in Brother Bear, Atlantis and Treasure Planet.

The thing is that Pixar has yet to make a love story. Although there have been some romantic elements, they have been fairly mild and never a key feature even when the females are as prominent as Dory, Jessie or Atta. And let’s face it–most Disney animated features with female leads have been romance-driven (with the most notable exceptions being recent ones).

The other thing is that most Pixar films are “original” story ideas–not adaptations of previously published works (particularly children’s stories), so they’re dependent on the imaginations of the writing teams within Pixar. And as it’s been previously noted, most of these people are men.

Kim Possible?