Rejecting the Stereotypes Built Into Material Culture: Disability in Toy Story

Ethan Faust


The three films in the popular Toy Story series engage the point of intersection between material culture and disability. Through individual arcs about disability in each film and the larger three-story narrative, the filmmakers show how material culture has stereotypes sewn into its seams. Woody’s encounters with broken toys within the fictional world teach the protagonist to resist the perfectionist, ableist urges that are indoctrinated in the toy universe. The films ultimately encourage children to be imaginative with their toys, as that imagination creates a developmental space apart from the stereotype-laden material world.


material culture; film; disability

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