Actually my friend cassandracroft kinda came up with it together.
So throughout the movie we get quick glimpses into the minds of people other than Riley. There’s the mom, dad, teacher, other students, etc.
But something struck me as odd: all of the adults’ emotions seemed to be one gender. Meanwhile, the younger people had multiple.
We started thinking that maybe it wasn’t a coincidence (because Disney/Pixar is too clever for that).
Our theory is this: The reason the younger people have different-gendered emotions is because they’ve yet to have gender roles imposed on them, whereas the adults would have had a more archaic male/female upbringing and had their personalities assimilate into those standards.
Another idea was that the reason the younger people had diverse emotional genders was that now, the idea of gender had become a much more fluid, non-restrictive concept and thus their psyches would not be confined to a single dominant gender trait.
We could be way off but it was fun to think about.
Too much fun. I love Pixar. This movie is the best.
I totally noticed this as well. Maybe I was not quite as observant because my impression was that only Riley had the diverse emotional genders (like, didn’t that boy at the hockey game at the end have just a bunch of boy-emotions in his head?), and so my initial thought was that maybe this was more about Riley than it was about the adults, but I like all of the suggestions mentioned above too!