Pixar Ball of Yarn Perfectly Explains Workplace Inequality

Purl was created by Kristen Lester, based on her own experiences working in a male-dominated environment. (Pixar)

Meet Purl, a perky, pink ball of yarn who is excited to start her new job at B.R.O. Capital... until she gets there and realizes she'll have to change who she is in order to fit in.

Pixar's latest short is based on creator and director Kristen Lester's own experiences working in the male-dominated world of animation. “My first job, I was the only woman in the room," Lester explains in a Disney Pixar interview. “And so, in order to do the thing that I loved, I sort of became one of the guys. When I came to Pixar, I started to work on teams with women for the first time and that sort of made me realize how much of the female aspect of myself I had buried and left behind."

Taking inspiration from movies like 9 to 5 and Working Girl, Lester made Purl a ball of yarn specifically because it's a material that can transform into something else. "I always feel like there's this narrative in these kinds of films," Lester explains, "where the person who finds themselves different has to prove their worth by being better at their job than the person that they're working with. I just felt really strongly that that shouldn't be something that you have to do."

The genius of Purl is that she captures, in eight delightful minutes, both the importance of diversifying workplaces and the difficulties faced by the pioneers who do so. When first introduced to Lester's creation, producer Gillian Libbert-Duncan realized that she too had lived Purl's—and Lester's—office existence. "It's a movie about belonging," Libbert-Duncan says. Many women and minorities will surely relate.

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