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Purls of wisdom

On our social media, we recently shared a video of the Pixar Animation Studios short film PURL, having discovered that its director Kristen Lester was a story editor on their terrific film SOUL and an enthusiastic champion of their wonderful new set-in-Toronto film TURNING RED. Lester first announced her directorial debut on her Twitter feed years ago: I’m so excited to share my short film PURL at Siggraph! I’m grateful to everyone at Pixar who helped me tell this personal story and I’m proud to be a part of Pixar’s experimental short program! We knew the eight-minute short would be charming and clever but were also surprised and delighted by how perfectly it captures the IDEA (inclusion diversity equity accessibility) experience and the work we do here at Breakfast Culture. If you haven’t seen it already, take a look:

The common joke about Pixar movies is that most of them can be distilled down to a single idea: “What if (toys/cars/fish/robots/bugs) had feelings?” It’s a strange imperfection most of us share that we can often emotionally bond with abstract images of a person faster or stronger than we can an actual person. More people have cried over the imminent death of the plastic heroes of TOY STORY 3 than that of live-action actors in a film and PURL exploits this wonderfully, using an endearing ball of yarn to stand in for all women. And possibly beyond. While the short film’s press explicitly says Purl is female, her experiences here can also be echoed in those of non-binary people in the workplace, or people of colour in largely white spaces, or autisitic people struggling to parse why one inappropriate joke is a huge hit while while another one is grounds for HR. The workplace is fraught with such culture clashes and Purl’s attempt to code-switch with the men of B.R.O. Capital is a sad example of what so many go through.

We fell for Purl here at Breakfast Culture because her struggle is why we do the work we do. Our Diversity and Inclusion 101 training and Power and Privilege workshops help connect team members at every level of the organization in a tangible way, while our full five-phase DEI Audit digs deep into the workplace culture to create meaningful change, both for the “Purls” and the “Bros,” resulting in an organization with greater returns and impact. While the film ends happily for Purl herself, what also stands out are the quick shots of the B.R.O. Capital at the end. While the initial shots of the office featured only white men in identical grey suits, the end result shows men of various races with more variety in shirt colours and a generally more harmonious, brighter and calmly focused environment. This process ultimately helps everyone in the organization.

We’re excited to see Pixar evolving beyond the abstract – now asking, “What if actual women, rather than balls of yarn, had feelings? Chinese parents? Gay couples? Children on the Autism Spectrum?” – and helping to create the world Breakfast Culture believes in: where people can be their authentic selves in every aspect of their lives both personally and professionally. Happy to jump on a call to discuss how Breakfast Culture can help with your organizational diversity and inclusion journey. Schedule a 30-minute meeting today: Let's Break Some Eggs! – Jefferson Darrell, Founder and CEO

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