Social Issues Present in Pixar Films


Pixar, a subsidiary of Walt Disney, continues to produce new ways to teach modern day children about social issues through brilliant computer animation. One of their recent releases “Zootopia” fearlessly addresses sexism and racism. This is accomplished through Judy Hopkins, a rabbit who follows her dream of being a police officer rather than joining the family business of carrot farming. The plot continues with Judy stuck in a colorful world littered with setbacks and oppression. Of people telling her shes too small, too slow, too stupid, too feminine. But as a theme in this film, we set our own goals, and through Judy’s persistence and relentlessness she overcomes the limitations and expectations set upon her by others, more specifically by society; and she continues to strive for more challenging projects.

The message is clear. Our destiny is not predetermined based off of our race, gender, or culture. It is created by us and the goals we set for ourselves. Just like in Trevor Noah’s book, Born A Crime, Trevor and his mom didn’t let their society’s biased point of view, and condescending judgement hold them back just because of their color, they went against the tide and did what they wanted to do. Trevor’s mom took writing classes and broke into the white collar field even if it was just at the bottom rung, holding a mere secretarial position, Through persistence, belief, and hard work you can overcome obstacles placed by society.

In Sophocles’s play Antigone, Antigone does what she believes is the right thing to do, and she goes out and gives her brother the most proper burial she can, given the present circumstances. Even though it is unaccepted and frowned upon by her peers, more specifically by Creon, she does what she knows is necessary. Because she knows that you cant adjust your preferences to society, you have to let society adjust itself to you, it may take some time and some imprisonment but slowly but surely, we can be thankful that we have reform.

5 thoughts on “Social Issues Present in Pixar Films

  1. I like your comparison here between Zootopia and Antigone. I think it is also important to note that while Antigone does, what in her mind, is the “right thing to do,” she is ultimately punished for it in the context of the story – she is imprisoned and kills herself, which also leads to the death of several other characters. In Zootopia, there is much more of a happy ending. I think that these two stories certainly have similar ideas as far as the importance of “doing the right thing” mantra goes, but there may be a difference in their themes.


  2. I think it’s also important to note that both Judy and Nick face stereotypes: “sly fox, dumb bunny.” While Judy faces critique for daring to break the mold and take the unconventional route for a female bunny, Nick is judged based on his species, not actions. We see a flashback from Nick’s childhood in which he is muzzled for being a predator animal, even though he was trying to fit in with the prey animals. Zootopia showed not only the type of racism provoked by actions of the victim, like Judy choosing to be a police officer, but the racism one is completely powerless in the face of: that which is based off something that cannot be changed. If Judy decided to, she could quit being a cop and no longer have to take the unfair treatment, but Nick could never change what kind of animal he is. Nick’s later choices in life reflect his hopelessness against this force; he tells Judy that if that’s all the world is ever going to see, he may as well be what they think he is. Zootopia was a profound reflection on the ugly nature of racism and the vicious cycle of stereotypes.


  3. Great comparison! I like how you used three examples to really emphasize the prominent issue of racism and sexism still going on in our society!


  4. It’s interesting how you were able to connect the social issue in Zootopia to Antigone and Trevor Noah’s novel. These characters all have similar situations in that they are treated differently due to unfair circumstances.


  5. This is one of my personal favorites because of the many hidden messages about the unjustness of society within. I like that a movie can be made for kids and still have this unexpected underlying tone of real issues that may completely go over the kid’s heads but still inspire them. I also appreciate the comparison of Antigone to Judy because it is a very feminist idea and I wish you connected it more to modern and ancient feminism.


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