Monsters University centers around the two protagonists of Monsters Inc., Mike and Sully, during their first year in college. In the film, the duo battle juggling classes in the Scare School along with maintaining a social life. Eventually, the two join a fraternity, Oozma Kappa, and participate in the annual Scare Games to which their success in winning the games becomes the only way that they can remain students at Monsters University.
I really enjoyed this film. I really enjoy the whole thing that Pixar has been doing where they revamp and make sequels to movies that came out in the early 2000s. Because, let’s be real, they’re totally targeting the 90s kids who fell in love with these characters a decade and a half ago.
Something that was sincerely lacking in this movie, however, was female representation. There were only two named female characters that had multiple speaking roles, Dean Heartscrabble, head of the scare major, and Sherry Squibbles, one of the fraternity brother’s mothers. On the other side, there are dozens of male characters who are named and have significance to the plot. Off the top of my head there are Mike and Sully’s five fraternity brothers, the opposing rival fraternity, Randal, their male professor, and the list goes on.
Especially because this film is a prequel to Monsters Inc., there were so many opportunities to include female characters, even if only from the ones we met in the first film. A teenage Celia, for instance, or Roz could have been slipped in as a guest speaker or working in an area of the University.
Ultimately, female representation within forms of children’s media and media in general is severely limited. A recent study found that only 15 percent of top movies have female leads, and on 2013 were 30 percent of speaking roles (including major and minor character roles). In 2012, Pixar released Brave, their first film with a female protagonist, and two years later a film with little female representation was released.