Examining masculinities in Pixar's feature films: what it means to be a boy, whether human, fish, car, or toy

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study examined portrayals of masculinities in Pixar's first 13 feature-length films. Qualitative analyses of the characters and narratives revealed six over-arching themes about masculinities: (1) males are successful when taking part in teamwork, (2) males are naturally brave, (3) male romantic or sexual interest manifests as heterosexual desire, (4) males desire to be loved and/or needed, (5) males who are fathers or paternal figures express fears about the future, and (6) male bosses are predominantly shown as greedy and driven solely by profit. Common narratives found throughout the films show male characters journey toward becoming emotionally expressive and aware "New Men." Homosocial relationships were found to provide the most growth for male protagonists, whereas heterosocial relationships are continually shown to help males become better husbands and fathers. Narrative analyses also revealed the ways in which hegemonic masculinity subjugates female characters in positions of authority to the power of patriarchy. Additionally, comparison of Pixar's films to societal shifts in masculinities in the 1990s and 2000s showed strong parallels between the real and mediated worlds. Numerous plot elements mirrored real-world concerns during the so-called "crisis of masculinity," including crises of identity, leadership, and portrayals of gender.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Gender studies, Mass communication, Film studies