Writer Stella Duffy is on a one-woman crusade to make the “Toy Story” franchise, which released its fourth installment last week, more woke.
In an interview with the BBC, the Daily Mail reports, Duffy slammed the already-beloved Pixar film, calling herself the “Grinch” that hated the movie, and calling the film an example of how sexism, racism, and “disablelism” permeate the movie-making industry.
She was especially concerned that the movie featured “no black leads,” and that the character Bo Peep — a little Bo Peep doll that has appeared in all three previous “Toy Story” installments — is “anti-feminist,” thus setting a poor role model for young female fans of the franchise.
“Seriously, it’s 2019! What on Earth are Disney doing having a film that has no leads that are black characters,” Duffy complained.
There are charcaters of color but the “colors” are blue and yellow — a pair of plush toys, a rabbit and a chick, voiced by Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. But that’s not the right color according to Duffy.
“Yes, there are black actors, but they are yellow and they are green and they are plush! How can they possibly think that it’s alright now?” she whined to the BBC hosts. “How can they possibly think that it’s alright now? Yeah, maybe in 1995 – which was also wrong then, as well, actually – but now, to be serious, where every single humanoid toy, is white? It’s just shocking!”
As if that wasn’t enough, Duffy was triggered by Bo Peep, who may have reappeared recently having swapped her dress for a more modern pantsuit, but was still one-half of a toy-centered love story and not an independent female character who doesn’t need love to survive and succeed.
“Okay, let’s talk about the white feminism on display here. Oh look! Bo-Peep’s a feminist. No she’s not! She’s still going to fall in love, she’s still going to have the happily ever after, that’s not feminism!,” Duffy exclaimed. “It’s a woman who kicks off her skirt to reveal bloomers. Had a couple of thoughts… and does some high wire acts.”
She also said the movie was “disableist” but didn’t elaborate on precisely what that means, or whether she actually meant, “ableist,” which is a typical social justice complaint.
Unlike fans of other films, though, fans of Toy Story weren’t about to let Duffy ruin the precious Pixar franchise. A number of social media respondents accused Duffy of looking for publicity, being the single negative review in a sea of positive reviews.
“Great publicity, giving a negative review on a well made film and making points about racism and misogynist writing where it’s really not needed! But at least everyone knows your name now which is exactly what you wanted,” one Twitter user complained.
Others suggested that Bo Peep, at least, deserved a fairer shake.
“Are you saying anti-feminist fall in love?” one Twitter user charged.
“No,” Duffy replied. “Rather that they’re touting it as a feminist film but the minute Woody appears in her sights, her story trajectory is obvious – and the formation of the couple is assured.”
For the record, Woody and Bo Peep have been an unofficial pair since Toy Story’s first installment.
Ultimately, Duffy couldn’t overcome at least one complaint: the movie is about toys.