Pixar’s Purl

By Kay Gardiner
February 10, 2019
Sundays are for lazing, and knitting.

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  • Oh yeah. More propaganda in pink.

  • I thought it was cute, but too long, and the office she was hired into, looked Madmen era, not start-up. Heavy handed. But cute. Agree about that last line!

    • I completely agree about the office – looked like an ad firm from the 60’s!

  • Honestly, I saw this when it was linked on another blog – I think it was Yards of Happiness – and I hated it. First, I thought, “How difficult is it to find someone who knows that you crochet with a hook and knit with needles?” I could get past that but simply could not stomach the far more serious, in my opinion, issue of another media portrayal that everything would be just fine if women (and many men) simply changed themselves to accommodate toxic bro culture. Really Pixar, you can do better than this. I know I sound like a bit of a crank but I am honestly not a radical by any stretch of the imagination- I just cannot stand the idea that anyone who is not part of a perpetually adolescent, white, privileged male hegemony is somehow not good enough and must force themselves to fit in. We are all glorious in many different ways and Pixar should recognize that! Rant over.

    • Amen

    • Agree100%. As a friend suggested to me, why didn’t Purl knit herself into a Pussy Hat and then start up her own firm?!!

    • Amen

    • As one of my friends said ” The only thing more “girlie” and “weak” would have been a tampon”

    • I do love a good rant though. You summed things up perfectly.

    • Did you not watch the cartoon all the way to the end? They demonstrated how when Purl and the other yarn balls were their true diverse selves the whole office changed. Not only were there yarn balls being themselves, the men were more diverse, not all wearing suits or white shirts. I think the point of the cartoon was to demonstrate that unique and diverse is better for all.

      • Ditto, Heather.

    • How difficult is it to find someone who knows that you crochet with a hook and knit with needles? I turned it off right then!

  • Agree. Concur. And all those other positive reinforcement words. Was there NOT at least one fibre friendly person on staff to question the two egregious errors?!?! Otherwise quite sweet and fun! Well done, Gronkowski.

  • Very controversial last line!

  • As a woman in a man’s field -engineering, paper, nuclear, electrical – in the 80s, 90s and 2000s, (even though they didn’t wear suits), this rang true. It was the era when we tried to imitate the guys, wear guy-like clothes, speak in lower voices, act more aggressively in meetings. Didn’t really work, for me, my sister the chemical engineer or others of us, either.
    Yeah, in the movie there were fiber mistakes, but, inappropriate jokes and references, being left out? Yes. I thought it compressed time without showing that, so everything seemed to happen 1, 2, 3, instead of 1, 1-1/2, 1-3/4, 2, 2-1/8, etc. Slow-ly.
    And just before retirement, I worked in a modern place with young dudes, well into the 2000s, and same issues. No change.

    • Yes. This was similar to my experience in the IT world untill fairly recently. The women no matter their technical skills or troubleshooting abilities were relegated to password line while networking, workstations and anything technical at all really was for the boys. This was 2011.

  • And for all the younger folks out there, SHOULD is different from IS.

  • Not having seen it, I can’t comment on the film but does anyone remember the toilet paper commercial about “quilted” paper and the ladies were using knitting needles?

    • Yes….it made me crazy when that commercial came on!

  • So I guess I’m not the only one who went back twice and noticed there were no women in that office? Should I assume this is Madmen era, as one comment mentioned? Having a hard time jumping into the fantasy that there’s not one woman in the whole place. Yarn balls I’m fine with, by the way.

  • Franklin shared it on Facebook and I found it quite awful. Couldn’t focus after the crochet/needles snafu. I was wearing my Lopi sweater (Stopover!) so I just about self-combusted at the “scratchy wool” bit.

    Pixar can and should do better.

  • I entered the workplace in the mid-1970s and stayed until 2010 and this workplace rang true, then and now. It could be a tech start-up today based on the ones I’ve seen in the past. It’s the men that get the venture capital, not so much the women. Look at the reports on Google, FB, and others being a hostile workplace for women. It’s gotten better but still the number of women CEOs lags behind that of the population and women still face discrimination, harassment and a lack of inclusion. Did the film have flaws? Of course it did. Were different needle arts confused? Yes but they are almost every day on FB and other social media by groups that should have known better, including the people posting crochet in labeled knitting only boards. But a lot of groups have identified with Purl and the struggle faced going into a new workplace. Do they change to fit in or do they work to change the workplace into a more diverse accepting place?

  • Watched it when it was posted elsewhere & was sorry I wasted my time. Leaving aside the knit/crochet errors, this has about as much depth & less value than the old Afternoon Special tv programs on sensitive/controversial topics directed at children. A pink yarn ball is just too twee. But much of the commentary here misses the broader point – know the corporate culture of your workplace, whatever it is, & learn to work within it in order to generate change.

    • I think that is exactly what Purl does — she gets into the group (using means I would find difficult, but because of the women who went before me, I haven’t needed to do it) and then leverages her acceptance so that the group accepts excepts Lacee.
      I also thought the pause before she says ‘crochet’ when telling her first joke means she was about to say the right thing, then realized she was making knitting the butt of her joke. So she through crochet under the bus instead.
      I do think the last line is crazy.

  • I’ve been reading the comments – lots of insights and all are enlightening. The film has been a great conversation starter here.

    One element I tapped into is how Purl was able to transform herself to blend with her officemates. It’s a metaphor for what we do as humans to get along in the world. She had to do that when she was the odd one out. Then she became the trailblazer to accept the second ball of yarn. Once there were more balls of yarn and the “suits” got accustomed to them, she could go back to her true self. It lighlighted the transformative nature of yarn.

    I also tapped into something very different and more personal. I have a children’s book series about a little French girl who loves to knit and has a favorite ball of yarn that keeps getting lost and has “adventures”. So, I was very happy to see a ball of yarn as the star of a movie!

    • I was beginning to think I had watched a different film than anyone else! I can’t away with a similar impression and interpretation as you, Lois.

      • Urgh – autocorrect! The second sentence should have read “I came away …”

      • Thanks!

  • I think the ball of yarn is a metaphor. I liked the little film.

  • I thought it was rather sweet and loved when Lacey showed up and Purl chose to show the strength of her fiber and ended up changing things for the better.

    • By the end, she has shed the low voice and the (knitted) suit and is back to being a pink ball of yarn— so she winds up being herself in the end. I also liked that after she goes back to her old self, the excited newbie who is so much like she was is a guy who doesn’t act like a dudebro. It definitely has its flaws— if the amazingly wonderful “Coco” can get Miguel’s guitar fingering to be the actual fingering for the music he’s playing, then surely they could get a fiber person to go over things—but that’s not a dealbreaker for me, and overall I liked it.

    • Sorry, I should add: which is to say, I agree with you. 🙂

    • Love it! Yes, she did!

  • Yeah-it’s cultural commentary writ broad and there were fiber inaccuracies but please folks-lighten up! It wasn’t a reality show except that for the fact that people who aren’t white, beer swigging, wing crunching dudes, are still considered as odd as a wee ball of yarn showing up. Purl has “success” by mimicking the dominant culture (anybody remember shoulder pads?) but at the end rejects the short-sightedness and goes back to herself. It was fun and sweet. We don’t improve the situation for women, people of color, or people with other differences when we turn dour and judgy.

    • Amen.

  • THANK YOU for that PIXAR Short.. LOVE it!

  • I saw this when Gaye Glasspie (GGMadeIt) shared it. I enjoyed it, mostly because it was a yarn-based story, with Pixar’s usual excellent animation, but I agree that it’s not without controversy. When I posted it on my FB page, one friend said, “Purl did not leave me in stitches [as the caption said it would]. Purl left me in tears.” After we had exchanged a few comments, I said, “The premise I’m not on board with is why the workplace culture was such a surprise to her. Surely even a cursory look at the company–not to mention the the interview process–would have let her know what kind of place it was.” The pay and benefits may have been good, but I don’t believe that workplace would ever really align with her values. And yes, I know it was “just a cartoon.”

    • As a children’s book author I can only suggest that we have to suspend belief in tangible reality for 8+ minutes and accept the premise that this storyline can actually occur. I have to use the same mental muscles when I write one of my kids’ books or go to the opera (usually the NY Met simulcast a a movie theater near me). It’s all fairytales and fantasy, sometimes populated with strange creatures (like talking balls of yarn!). But it should have a message that transcends the divide between reality and make-believe and can be adapted to the real world.

  • White Guys in Ties, Incorporated. Who hasn’t worked for them? Made me cringe.

  • Love it diversity in the work place! Even for knitters.