Mountains and Molehills
Via Kottke, I read the actually quite old piece (May 2006 - the dark ages!) on Eclecticism stating that my neighbor Pixar doesn't feature any leading roles for women, something that hasn't changed with Ratatouille, nor the upcoming feature Wall-E either. The piece was recently updated here.
First, I have to state that this is perhaps a quibble over "leading" character, and also...really? Is this an issue worth worrying about? More after the fold.
I know, it's always dicey when a member of a majority (in this case, male) states that worrying over slights to a minority (females) isn't a big deal. So, I know I might be talking from a position of ignorance. (It's nothing new.)
But Pixar is such a good company in terms of the messages they send. And female characters, while not THE leading roles, are certainly quite present in their films. Toy Story 2 differed from the first film mainly due to Jessie, the girl doll. Dory, Ellen DeGeneres' character in Finding Nemo was perhaps the star of that movie. And as noted, in The Incredibles, Violet and Wendy were essentially as much of the main characters as the males. (Not to mention their suit designer, who stole the movie.)
So I think this is a large bit of nothing. I think it's more interesting that the characters are all white, rather than worrying about their sex. (OK, the fish and monsters are not really race-specific, but I think my point is clear enough.)
On the other hand...the point being made is pretty hard to argue with:
What’s been frustrating so far is simply that in many of Pixar’s prior films, there’s no particular reason why one or another of their characters couldn’t be female rather than male — would Ratatouille have been any less well done if he were a she? Would the rescue of the ant colony be less spectacular if Julia Louis-Dreyfus had voiced Flik against Dave Foley’s Prince Atta?