Why It Matters That Inside Out’s Protagonist Is a Girl — Not a Princess

There’s only 1 female character for every 3 male characters in family films, according to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media


Jurassic World may have bestedInside Out at the box office this weekend, but the Pixar animated movie set a different record. Inside Out had the highest-grossing opening weekend of any original film — a movie that wasn’t based on a book or comic book and that wasn’t a sequel. That may sound like just a nifty accolade, but consider this: Pixar successfully pitched audiences on a movie about the personified emotions of an increasingly depressed 11-year-old girl they didn’t know named Riley. (Oh, and Riley isn’t a princess.)

That’s no easy feat. Hollywood has long subscribed to the notion that movies with female protagonists don’t sell. Only 12% of protagonists and 30% of all major characters in the top 100 grossing movies of 2014 were women, according to San Diego State University’s Celluloid Ceiling Report.

The problem is even more dire among children’s films, which are often based on…

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