A Slate blogger is the latest to argue that Pixar's film's have "girl trouble"--that is, too much focus on strong male characters at the expense of strong female ones.
Although it's true that this disparity has existed over the years, it's less prevalent in some of Pixar's recent films, such as The Incredibles and WALL-E.
Keep in mind, also, that Disney feature animation has historically been at least as focused on leading ladies as Pixar has been on its leading men. Granted, there are some important exceptions like The Lion King and The Jungle Book. Overall, though, the roll call of great Disney feature film characters has mostly been a roll call of heroines and villainesses, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to this year's The Princess and the Frog. (Well, it's unknown yet whether the heroine of the frog movie will be great or not. Moviegoers will find out in December.)
Pixar director Brenda Chapman, who has been known to refer to herself kiddingly as Pixar's "token female," has worked at both studios and noted the difference in emphasis:
At the start of my career, I was the only woman in the story department at Disney, but at that time we were working on "Princess movies" with strong female leads, so at the time there didn't seem to be any need to strengthen other female roles...most of the funny characters were guys.... But now I'm at Pixar, and there films are very much for the boys. I don't think it's a conscious thing, I just think they're making films they want to see....
(Brenda's film The Bear and the Bow, starring Pixar's first fairy-tale princess, is scheduled to be released in 2011.)
Thanks to The Pixar Touch for the post!