While most Toy Story fans were thrilled to see the new character design for classic character Bo Peep, there were some that weren’t quite so happy about it. PETA, in particular, seems to be leading a crusade against the character using a shepherd’s crook. They believe the instrument to ‘violent’ and ‘cruel’.
Bo Peep’s new design is intended to reflect the change the character has taken on. Annie Potts, her voice actress, describes Bo Peep as “modern, independent, capable and confident. Bo is written and conceived to be inspiring as she has weathered life’s ups and downs with grace.”
PETA argues that since this Bo Peep is an empowered and modern woman, she should aspire to be ‘updated’ in all senses of the word. Lauren Thomasson, PETA’s Manager of Animals in Film and Television, pleads in a letter:
I’m contacting you today about Bo Peep’s new look. Given that she was designed to have a “modern” look, why hasn’t she “lost” that outdated and cruel crook? You may not know that these “shepherd’s crooks,” are used solely to hook a sheep’s neck and force these gentle animals to move. That isn’t something that a progressive Bo Peep would countenance in 2019! A “badass” Bo Peep would likely bop the shearers, not the sheep […] Surely you can agree that a symbol of domination over any animal is a thing of the past and not something that belongs in Toy Story 4. Won’t you please consider removing Bo Peep’s crook from the final animation?
Fans of the franchise defend Pixar by saying that a shepherd’s crook can mean many things. In the Christian faith, the crook is a symbol of protection, while actual farmhands say that a crook can be used to manage and herd the sheep without resorting to violence. Plus, there is the question of feasibility. It is probably too late or costly at this stage for Pixar to make drastic changes in the animation of the film as it is slated to premiere in June 2019.
Do you think PETA’s complaints are valid? Should Pixar change the design?