When it comes to the topic of fair hiring practices and gender discrimination, you might expect the usual suspects, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, to weigh in. But there’s another institution joining the conversation about gender equality in the workplace — and it comes from an unlikely source: Disney Pixar.
Meet Purl. She’s the protagonist in this sweet little Pixar SparkShort yarn. The story begins on her first day of work at (wink wink) B.R.O. Capital, a company comprised of men all sporting similar suits. It’s a not-so-veiled dig at the bro culture that occurs in many workplaces, and how many female employees, such as Purl, are excluded.
Case in point: during a staff meeting, Purl is smushed between two colleagues who don’t make room for her at the table. And when she brings up an idea, she’s told that she’s being too soft and needs to be more aggressive — right before she’s spun away and out of the meeting.
Thing is, Purl wants to work there. She even showed up for work with her coffee mug, knitted plant, and her laptop (which also boasts a knitted protective cover). She has ideas to offer and something to say. She just doesn’t look like the rest of the male-dominated staff. So when they all head to lunch at Swifty’s for 2-for-1 wings, Purl weaves a plan. She knits herself a suit and looks just like her coworkers, which gets their approval. Finally, they’re listening to her. And she’s happy to be one of the guys — or is she?
Parents, be prepared before you show your kiddos this cute little yarn. Pixar goes from pixy to naughty when Purl swears during a staff meeting. (Yes, a Pixar character actually curses!) She also tells a joke that’s slightly saucy, too. While your kids might not get the meaning behind her it, they’re sure to catch Purl standing on a table and swearing, “Finance can kiss our ass!” Of course, cheering ensues from her male coworkers, and Purl gets the coveted invite to Swifty’s.
Directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan, the Pixar SparkShorts Purl is a commentary on today’s workplace culture. It ends, as all Pixar SparkShorts do, with a happy ending comprised of human male staffers and female balls of yarn working together in an environment of mutual respect. Purl can spark a discussion between you and your kids about discrimination in the workplace, and help your kids understand how the workforce has evolved over time to be more inclusive and accepting. And the biggest takeaway of all is that you should always be yourself, value your self-worth, celebrate your individual strengths and talents. And above all, never knit yourself into something (or someone) you’re not.