"Purl" - The Message of Gender Equality in Pixar's 2019 Short Film

I was excited for the Disney Plus app along with the rest of the world. When the app was released on November 12th of this year, I flooded my watchlist with old favorites as well as new content. One of my favorite creations of Disney is their unique short film collection. I watched my old favorites, such as "Knick Knack" and "Lava," but I also tried one of the new ones: "Purl." I admit the reason I watched the eight minute short was because my mom is a knitter and I thought it would be a fun show for us to enjoy together. It is cute and fun if you choose to watch it on a superficial level. However, there's an important underlying message to the short film: gender equality in the workplace.

I won't give away any spoilers, but I will be disclosing a few minor plot details. The film revolves around a ball of yarn getting a job at an exclusively male company. The ball of yarn, affectionately named Purl, is meant to represent the typical workplace woman who likes crafting. While I thought having Purl animated in a bright pink color was a little too on the nose, it did get the message across. She's separated from the professional men in their black suits by her pink color. Purl struggles to adapt to her new job and with her fellow employees. Over time the audience is shown what day to day life for a woman in the workforce is like. My favorite moment was when Purl is feeling left out and confused, but then she looks at the wall and sees pictures of employees of the month. This moment was striking to me because all the pictures are of middle-aged white men with no diversity among them. This moment hit hard for me, because it reminded me of just how rare it is to see diversity in the workplace.

While Purl is depicted as shallow at times and with an air-head personality, she always has good intentions. Her hard work and intelligence makes her a likable character for the audience. It's impossible to not feel frustrated for her sake when she struggles at work. The short film shows relatable, everyday obstacles that women experience, such as water cooler talk with male employees, specifically gross locker room jokes. For a short film there's a remarkable amount of character growth for Purl as she learns what it means to be a successful skein, aka a successful working woman.

Overall, this creative and beautifully animated short film is one of my new favorites. I've watched it twice now and the second time I noticed details I hadn't caught before. Purl specifically is animated in such extraordinary detail that you can watch the individual strands of yarn move on her. The animation alone is a great reason to give this a watch. Also it's interesting how all the office employees look similar to the animated characters in "The Incredibles" movies. If you need any other reasons to watch, it's even directed by a woman!