Monday, December 9, 2019

Sparkshorts Review: Purl

The first of Pixar’s SparkShorts, Purl explores sexism, toxic masculinity, conformity, aggression, and knitting. And all under 8 minutes! The spunky and fun Purl (get it? Purl?) is faced with being different in a world of conformity. She is an outsider. Quirky, fun, colorful. And she enters a world of conformity. Sleek, boring, black. And ladies and gentlemen, the pricks are definitely on the inside.

The story is not new. Working Girl and Nine to Five come to mind as stories about women in the workplace. But they didn’t have as many knitting puns! These stories share a common DNA, where women have to unfortunately prove their worth by being better at their job. That’s not fair, but it’s a lamentable part of the female experience. It’s interesting that the main character in Purl was chosen to be a ball of yarn, which essentially has the ability to become anything, just as women are sometimes pressured to do so they can fit in. And Purl does the same, literally transforming herself into the hardest, sleekest form of a man she can become, both physically and socially.

But something seems off. This cognitive dissonance is punctuated when Lacy (Get it? Lacy?) shows up and reminds Purl and the viewer that Purl is not really being herself when she is aggressive, tells dirty jokes and jumps up on the table to curse. (Yes, the main character mildly curses in this Pixar short.) And then Purl is faced with the choice we are all faced with at various times of our lives: do we turn away? Or do we work to understand?

Understanding. That’s really the heart of Purl. When we work to get to know those who are different than us, we find understanding . This isn’t just about masculinity and femininity, though Purl is definitely a carefully told allegory of feminism. No, this understanding is universal and can be extended to anybody "different". Those who view the world through a different lens. When we strive to understand the worldview other have, our own perspective opens up and we come closer to Christ.

If you don't walk as most people do, some people walk away from you, but I won't! I won't! I'll walk with you. I'll talk with you. That's how I'll show my love for you.” So Purl teaches us the important lesson that we are good enough as we are. But perhaps more poignant than realizing our own worth, we should learn that everybody else is good enough as they are. It is not for us to exclude, to demand conformity, to expect sameness. It is up to us to love one another as Jesus loves us. Just the way we are.

Indeed, Purl is just a really good yarn.

Also check out our review of Float

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