Here’s Why Riley’s Emotions Are Different Genders In Inside Out 2

Here’s Why Riley’s Emotions Are Different Genders In Inside Out 2

Here’s Why Riley’s Emotions Are Different Genders In Inside Out 2





Confusingly, Riley’s emotions are all different genders in Inside Out 2.

Pixar’s emotion-based animated franchise is back in theaters, taking another look inside the head of pre-teen Riley (the main character from the first movie).

While the first film centered on Riley and the colorful emotions in her head after a stressful move across the country, Disney’s Inside Out 2 sees the young girl starting to grow up, dealing with the throes of puberty and the emotional complications that come with it.

Why Are Riley’s Emotions Different Genders?


Here's Why Riley's Emotions Are Different Genders In Inside Out 2
Here’s Why Riley’s Emotions Are Different Genders In Inside Out 2

Inside Out 2 is (like the first film) confusing fans as the emotions inside Riley’s head are all different genders.

In the Inside Out universe, typically, the emotional team within someone’s mental control center is shown as the same gender as the person they are hiding within.

This is seen in the movies, for example, with Riley’s parents (played by Diane Lane and Kyle MacLachlan).

Inside both her mother’s and father’s heads, the emotions share traits of each parent. Riley’s father’s emotions are all male and sport the character’s full mustache and her mother’s with the glasses and lipstick she typically wears.

In a 2014 interview with EmpireInside Out 1 director Pete Docter, who has served as the chief creative officer of Pixar for the past six years, stated that it was an “intuitive” decision to make Riley’s emotions different genders in the first film:

“It was intuitive. It felt to me like Anger’s very masculine, I don’t know why. And then some of it came to casting… Sadness felt a little more feminine and Mindy Kahling as Disgust felt right. And someone balanced too. Plus the female roles lead because it’s inside a girl. With mom and dad, we skewed them all male and all female for a quick read, because you have to understand where we are, which is a little phony but hopefully people don’t mind!”

The topic of Riley’s emotions being different genders has spurred much speculation amongst fans.

Some believe the different emotions are tied to a different gender, but that does not necessarily hold up when comparing the all-male/female-presenting emotions seen in her parents.

Another theory is that Riley is still developing as a person. This could mean that as she goes through puberty and finds her sense of self and gender identity, her emotions will change gender to reflect who she is as a person.

The emotions could also stay the same, reflecting perhaps that Riley sits somewhere else on the gender spectrum outside the typical binary of boy/girl. Maybe the mix of emotional genders means Riley sees herself as something different.

How interesting would it be for the main character of a major studio movie like Inside Out to be genderqueer in some way?

Perhaps that could be explored in Inside Out 3, following Riley as she (or they) venture further into high school and navigate the complicated landscape of developing one’s sexual and gender identity as a full-blown teen.

Inside Out 2 is now playing in theaters.

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