Cars 3 is a hit at the box office, surpassing Wonder Woman in gross sales last weekend. It has something in common with the superhero movie that is so subtle that it could be missed – a feminist message communicated through the character Cruz Ramirez, voiced by Cristela Alonzo. Director Brian Fee indicates that this message was a conscious decision made as a result of things he has witnessed as the father of two girls – Lucia, eleven, and Eleanor, eight. He told The Washington Post,
“Now that I have two daughters, I see the world through their eyes. I see how little they have [culturally], and I see what they’re up against. I see how they hold themselves back.”
The Cars 3 director recounted a recent conversation with his children that was important to him and, it turned out, to the movie. It was a conversation in which he suggested to his daughters that they learn to play an instrument. When he suggested the guitar, they responded with, “Daddy, guitars are for boys.” It was a statement he describes as heartbreaking. This moment, and other similar realizations he has had through his girls, led him to change the Cars 3 character who serves as a mentor to Lightning McQueen from a male to a female character.
The third installment in Disney and Pixar's $1 billion Cars franchise easily took the top spot. https://t.co/njE2nIw9MR
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) June 18, 2017
The director told Laughing Place that Cristela Alonzo’s background and the similarities between her and Cruz Ramirez also served as inspiration. Alonzo grew up in a border town thinking her destiny was a blue collar job like all the adults she knew, but her eighth-grade teacher saw more in her and secretly changed one of her classes to Theater. Cristela says that teacher taught her that she could have dreams and achieve them, a lesson told in Cars 3 through Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen.
Alonzo also stated that she believes that the nature of the relationship between Lightning and Cruz is important. There is nothing romantic about their relationship. They are friends only, showing girls and people in general that a man and a woman can have a connection through friendship that allows them to help each other without being romantically involved.
Cristela also believes that part of the feminist message of Cars 3 is in what isn’t talked about – gender. She explained this aspect of the Ramirez character.
“We don’t really reference that she is a girl, we don’t reference that she is a female driver. We talk about how good she is and we see it in the story… It’s not about a boy or a girl doing something, it’s about the best person doing the best that they can… we’re all pretty much alike and… if you work hard and you have the skill, whoever is the best will win.”
Check out the scene below where Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen meet for the first time.
[Featured Image by Roberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]