#Purl – a yarnball changes our views on office diversity

Directed by Kristen Lester and produced by Gillian Libbert-Duncan,  the 3D computer animated short film is the first to emerge from theprogram, which was designed to discover new storytellers,  explore new storytelling techniques, and experiment  with new production workflows.

“Purl” was a love at first sight experience for me. Usually I’m resistant to any internet content to be too much fascinated by, but I must say Purl is soooo cuuute!
I had to watch twice instantly.  Though this Pixar shortfilm has nothing to do with Office Space, it actually brings up a very important topic: inclusion and diversity in office space, how newcomers tackle of the situation and how can they find their place in a new working environment.

Purl is ball of yarns (yes, quite weird idea…) hired for a very masculine type of investment company named B.R.O. Capital.
What I like about the animation is that her characted is more in 2D, than the true 3D realistic environment empahasising she is “out of this world”.
Its discussed on several blogs wheter this feminine character is he or she, I’d rather say, its an asexual character, who can finally fit very much to this male-dominated environment, but I can only refer to “her”.  Many people think that its a direct feminist
animation, but in my opinion the story is not about the sex, but the “difference” from the corporate standards.
Obviously Purl had to give her “softness” – which seems to be a very important asset of the character, we can see her to be bumped  back from the glass door of the meeting room (I felt that creators wanted to have a “glass cealing” scene, but probably they “dropped” the idea. :-).

Purl definitely brought a kind of softness to the corporate culture, which at first did not tolerate her “diversity”. When she becomes desperate because of her isolation, she “knits” herself a new look (e.g. putting on a mask, as many people does at work) changes shape to be more square rather than round and also changes her behaviour, getting much “thougher” not only in her look but also in hes interactions.

She starts speaking at a lower (male) voice, screaming and swearing, we can see her paricipating in all the boy’s fun, gettting drunk and party together, proving to be part of the tribe, getting accepted by her peers.
I think its important that its not the corporate or the collegues which changed, but Purl’s attitude, due to the inner urging need to be accepted by her collegues, this new community, which is so masculine and so different from her original virtues.
Over the time male colleges open up and take her as a mate, cracking jokes together, and Purl has fully integrated to the behaviour expectations of the organisation. Then she gets to a point she needs to make a  choice:  to act according to the group expectations or get  back to her original values.
Looking her ID badge as a fat yarnball is the cathartic scene, convincing her to chose to leave the team and rather help her new collegue,  the same type of “yarnball” = different person she was before.
Purl is left with a tough decision – change her ways to fit in, or carry on being herself and face a life of loneliness and isolation at work.
Of course we got a happy end in the closing scene we’ll see a number of fat yarnballs making the environment colourful and diverse, not only contributing to all business fields, but adding up to the positive social diversity and and a happy workplace atmosphere with laughter and joy to work.
Her look transforms back to the happy fat yarnball, representing the return to her values. Eventually she is promoted, and now she will be the one to take care of newcomers.
Morals? When you are in a new situation, you need to adapt, but ultimately you can only make a change if you stick with your original values. Each HR managers should watch this video and think of new employees as little Purls and Laceys.
An office environment should value diversity and include different personalities as a secret ingredient of business success : which makes your company richer, more valuable and more colourful.
What diversity can bring to your company: new and fresh ideas out-of-the box thinking and unorthodox approches to problems just to mention a few.
I guess many newbies feeling like Purl at their first day, so smooth onboarding, both formal and informal “inclusion” is helping a lot to be involved rather then isolated. As the new trainee say  at the end ” I have a really good feeling about this!”
How refeshing is it to see some talented fat yarnballs among black suites.

Watch the full film below and feel free to comment!

1 comment

  1. Riani

    great article, nice to read u’r post, thank you for sharing

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