Disney Pixar Needs To Stop Setting Unrealistic Standards Of Beauty For Volcanoes

Young women today are taught far too often that lady volcanoes are some sort of prize to be won by male volcanoes.

Want more Junkee in your life? Sign up to our newsletter, and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so you always know where to find us.

Pixar, I have enjoyed your films for some years, but I am sorry to say I will no longer attend your movies. I kept silent when Wall-E made it abundantly clear to all young boy robots that a sexy curvaceous lady robot should be the object of their desires. I said nothing when Cars taught us all the importance of lusting after sexy girl cars with big eyelashes on their headlights. But the recent short film Lava that preceded your latest feature Inside Out is deeply upsetting, and sets an unrealistic standard of beauty for female volcanoes.

This subtext is quite problematic, and frankly I have had enough.

Why is it acceptable to depict a male volcano like this:


When a lady volcano is always depicted like this?


Young women today are taught far too often that lady volcanoes are some sort of prize to be won by male volcanoes. It is irresponsible to portray this image to young male minds. They are easily influenced by pop culture, and to objectify young lady volcanoes and reduce them to their appearance and geographical contour can damage the mind of developing children and volcanoes alike.

Are you suggesting that a lady volcano with a greater girth and more violent seismic activity should be LESS admired than the one you have portrayed in your film? Her slender conical form and conventional mountainous features only illustrate just ONE of the many beautiful and sexy types of volcano. The features of volcanoes are much more complicated and their structure and behaviour depends on a number of factors. This variety should be celebrated, not ignored.

You should not make young lady volcanoes with rugged peaks formed by lava domes be ashamed for not having a summit crater. A young lady volcano is fragile and must be taught to be happy with her landscape features, not to feel that she will be ogled and ridiculed by the male volcano gaze for her massive plateaus. It is hard enough during a young lady volcano’s development when vents that issue volcanic material, including lava, ash, and gases, can develop anywhere on the landform and may give rise to smaller cones. She should not also have to worry that her fissure vents will make her any less attractive to the volcanic patriarchy.

When eruptions of scoria and pyroclastics from her vents form cinder cones on her flank, why should a young lady volcano be scrutinised for them? Why should she be pressured by the media to conform to YOUR ideal of a supervolcano with a craterous caldera? Why must you make those with mafic pahoehoe feel that the fluidity of their laval flows is somehow not as good as the rough, clinkery surface of ʻAʻā, simply because YOU have decided that viscous lava flows are conventionally more appealing?

Not only is this objectification thoughtless, but it completely ignores the diversity of today’s volcanic community. This film blatantly marginalises active mud volcanoes, as they tend to involve much lower temperatures, and it is unfair to see them as nothing more than a vent of a male igneous volcano. They are their OWN volcanoes. What about submarine and subglacial volcanoes? Should they be treated differently because of the colour of their palagonite? How would I be expected to explain this to my children?

And finally — as if this overtly sexist subtext weren’t already enough — this ancient, nearly extinct volcano, is courting a female who is decades younger than him! Is this the kind of standard you want families to consider the norm for volcano relationships? And where are the roles for older female volcanoes in Hollywood?

It is just so typical that the modern media depicts a female volcano not as an independent protrusion with her own thoughts, feelings and laval conduits, but simply as a trophy for whom other volcanoes formed at the same tectonic ridge may vie.

It is appalling to see you brainwash young women everywhere with the notion that a young lady volcano should base her self worth on the approval of male volcanoes, and not by her own thoughts, feelings, the tectonic plates that formed her and the Earth’s molten core.

Inside Out is out now, with screenings preceded by Disney Pixar’s short-film Lava.

Benny Davis is a musician and comedian, best known as one third of comedy trio The Axis of Awesome