“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming” is a tune that I’m sure got stuck in many of our heads over the years. Dory, endlessly energetic and fun loving has to be one of my many favorite female characters. Although she isn’t a “woman” per se, her character has the strength and conviction of one. Although a little ditsy, Dory is the beloved fish who helped Marlin rescue Nemo and bring him back home. Throughout the movie, Dory is constantly looked down upon by Marlin, and scorned for not remembering things, but these comments reflect more poorly on Marlin than Dory. Dory, after all is the one who remembers the address on the goggles (P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney), gets directions to the East Australian Current, and communicates with the whale they got stuck inside.
However, even in fish form, Pixar manages to retain some female stereotypes. When Dory and Marlin are swimming together, Dory is greeted by a group of fish that begin to “flirt” with her and form shapes. Dory and Marlin immediately seem like a married couple. The fish talk to Dory and Marlin hurries her along. The fish ask Dory if Marlin is bothering her, and Dory says no and tries to explain that they are lost. Dory is immediately chummy with them saying “aww come on guys”. Dory also becomes the damsel in distress at the very end of the movie. After Marlin and Nemo reunite, Dory is caught in a fish net. Marlin and Nemo must work with the rest of the fish caught in the net to save her.
Dory’s only real conflict throughout the movie is her memory. It is not really a love story until the middle, when Marlin is the only fish that has helped Dory remember. Bur it seems that for Marlin, he learns to love her annoying questions and bubbly personality. I still love this movie, but it is filled with little gender stereotypes. Men not wanting to ask for directions, women asking a lot of questions, women being good with children (think squirt), and women being more emotional (think Dory’s breakdown.)