Academic Advocacy

“Inside Out” & Gender Representation Academic Research

Our poster for chapman’s student research day. 

This research covers gender constructs throughout Pixar’s revolutionary film, Inside Out, and how it genders emotions stereotypically. Our research draws upon our own critical analysis of the film, societal gender constructs, and articles regarding gender within the film. We would like to question Disney’s decision to associate specific emotions with certain genders and why they were gendered at all. In identifying and analyzing the theories surrounding Inside Out’s portrayal of gender, we seek to both applaud Disney’s advancements and also highlight its regressions.

Pixar made the authoritative emotion in each character a vital element of the story, one worth examining. Throughout the movie, “Joy” runs Riley’s mind, “Sadness” leads the mother, and “Anger” controls the father, which clearly portrays emotional gender stereotypes. Riley also has emotions portrayed by both genders. This also may have resulted from societal norms that dictate classically male and female expressed emotions. The effect of these gendered emotions could ultimately leave the child with a stereotypical view of emotion. Fear is portrayed as a negative and laughable male emotion instead of one important for survival. “Disgust” causes children to refuse to try new things, while “Anger” is portrayed as an uncontrollable, dangerous volcano. The two most successfully represented emotions are “Joy” and “Sadness”, who are shown as dynamic, adaptive, and vital to a healthy existence. These gender stereotypes throughout the film could influence young children’s minds as they mature, and result in insecurities and false ideas of what emotions they are expected to express.

what do you think?

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