Bo Peep given Toy Story 4 feminist makeover as she swaps pink dress for practical trousers

Hannah Furness
The new, trouser-wearing Bo Peep - Disney

In the classic nursery rhyme, she is generally depicted as a pretty yet passive young shepherdess, waiting for her sheep to come home.

As she makes her return to popular culture in Toy Story 4, Bo Peep will be given a newly feminist makeover to don practical trousers to seize “control of her own destiny”.

The makers of Toy Story 4 have spoken of how their modern Bo Peep will be “independent and comfortable” for the latest installation of the film franchise, saving the day.

Missing from the last film, the character found herself sick of gathering dust and “took it upon herself to head out into the world” and make her return, the director said.

Wearing trousers instead of her old, pink floor-length shepherdess dress and bonnet, the new version of the Bo Peep is simply the “right way to tell the story”, he added, with a team of six women assigned to making sure she was fit for the cinema in 2019.

She now wears a blue jump suit and purple cape, wielding her crook as a weapon.

The old version of Bo Peep Credit: Disney

The animated series has come under particular scrutiny in the last year after the departure of John Lasseter, a Pixar founder and Toy Story director  who left his role at Disney Animation admitting “missteps” after accusations about his behaviour including “unwanted hugs”.

In an interview with the Sunday Times culture magazine, Toy Story 4 creators insisted the on-screen changes to female roles were not the direct result of a post-Me Too era philosophy.

"It never came up in a meeting," said Josh Coole, the director. "Like, 'We need to make a stand on feminism.'

“It was more a question of what the right way to tell the story was, and we wanted to make Bo stronger than before.

The 2019 version wears a blue jumpsuit Credit: Disney

“When Woody is insecure in the old films, she gets him back on track, and we decided to elevate that…

“Things like that came naturally, and we started five years ago, so had no idea how times might change."

Actress Annie Potts, who voices Bo Peep, said: “She's gotten all wise and courageous. She is a fierce warrior.”

The newspaper reports that a team of six women had been appointed to update the “stuffy character”, making her athletic with inspirations including Rey from Star Wars, a gymnast and Geena Davis in the baseball film A League of Their Own.

While the dress-wearing Bo Peep was seen as "Femi­nine and Reserved", it said, the modern version should be "Independent and Comfortable".

Bo Peep will help save the day in Toy Story 4 Credit: Disney

“Bo’s taken control of her own destiny,” Cooley said in a press release.

“While Woody was watching Andy grow up, Bo gathered dust until she took it upon herself to head out into the world. And when Woody shows up, they can’t believe that they’ve found each other again.”

Robbie Collin, Telegraph reviewer who awarded Toy Story 4 five stars, described the character as “unceremoniously written out of the series between instalments two and three, but here revived as a free spirit in retirement, sunnily embracing her new-found childlessness”.