A New Kind of Monster, Cowboy, and Crusader?

Gender Hegemony and Flows of Masculinities in Pixar Animated Films

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 Dept. of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University, Canada ealjbouri@brocku.ca
  • | 2 Dept. of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University, Canada
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Abstract

Representations of boys and men in Disney films often escape notice due to presumed gender neutrality. Considering this omission, we explore masculinities in films from Disney's lucrative subsidiary Pixar to determine how masculinities are represented and have and/or have not disrupted dominant gender norms as constructed for young boys’ viewership. Using Raewyn Connell's theory of gender hegemony and related critiques, we suggest that while Pixar films strive to provide their male characters with a feminist spin, they also continue to reify hegemonic masculinities through sharp contrasts to femininities and by privileging heterosexuality. Using a feminist textual analysis that includes the Toy Story franchise, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Coco, we suggest that Pixar films, while offering audiences a “new man,” continue to reinforce hegemonic masculinities in subtle ways that require critical examination to move from presumed gender neutrality to an understanding of continued, though shifting, gender hegemony.

Contributor Notes

Elizabeth Al-Jbouri is an MA student at Brock University in the Department of Child and Youth Studies. She has a particular penchant for Disney movies, which reflect her overall research interests in gender and children's media. ealjbouri@brocku.ca

Shauna Pomerantz is Associate Professor of Child and Youth Studies at Brock University, Canada. Working at the intersections of feminist sociology, critical girlhood studies, and youth cultural studies, her work focuses on the material-discursive contexts of young peoples’ lives. She has published articles on girls’ dress, computer girls, skater girls, schoolgirls, and girls in popular culture. She is author of Girls, Style, and School Identities: Dressing the Part (Palgrave, 2008), coauthor, with Dawn H. Currie and Deirdre M. Kelly, of Girl Power: Girls Reinventing Girlhoods (Peter Lang, 2009), and coauthor, with Rebecca Raby, of Smart Girls: Negotiating Academic Success in the Post-Feminist Era (University of California Press, 2017).

Boyhood Studies

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