So, I have a bone to pick with a few conservative reviews of the Pixar/Disney film Turning Red. Once again, the mental gymnastics we have to perform just to try and say that a kid’s show is leaking some kind of leftist agenda is as grating as it is humiliating. It would be one thing if it were true or if there was some credence to these claims.
Yes, I know. Disney is leftist. Disney is evil. Disney is also proof of the American dream, proof that capitalism is the way, and they have lately produced very family-oriented films without falling victim to repeating the same Disney princess trope. Encanto, Luca, and Coco have all been very traditional films that praise family values and show children how important it is to keep your family close, even if you disagree or see things differently. Turning Red isn’t any different.
I read a review before seeing the film and panicked. I frantically called my sister-in-law who happens to be mother to 3 girls of varying ages. “Don’t let your girls see Turning Red, yet!” was what she heard the moment she picked up the phone. ” This one review said it was not child friendly and there were too many adult themes! They said the main character was disrespectful, acted out sexually, and basically called all mothers evil, psychotic, overbearing monsters.”
That’s what they got out of that film? Did they watch it after their own kids were acting like brats?
The most uncomfortable part of the film for me was thinking back to the year 2002 and realizing how accurately they summed up teen culture of that time. Especially girl teen culture which was boy-crazy and obsessed with groups like Backstreet Boys, N*SYNC, 98 Degress, All 4 One, and countless others that I don’t want to name because it will be too incriminating.
It’s a little scary how much of the world has changed and how much has remained the same, isn’t it? Beatles, Leif Garret, David Cassidy, New Kids On The Block, Markie Mark, and on and on and on…
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Here’s the reality for the reviews that call out the film for inspiring disrespect toward a parent…
1. It’s a comedy and they had to exaggerate the over protectiveness of the mother. That’s how humor works.
2. In no way does the film tell children to sneak out or lie to their parents. That’s like saying you can’t let your kids watch the Goonies or An American Tale because the kids disobeyed their parents in those films. No more Moana kids because her dad said to stay on the island and she went anyhow. Can’t watch Tangled because Mother Gothel told Rapunzel to never ask to go outside or leave the tower.
3. If my mother had done even half of what Mei’s mother did to her in the film you can bet I would have been disrespectful, too. Teenagers almost always get disrespectful when they are humiliated.
(But that is the entire point of the film! Mei isn’t disrespectful! As a matter of fact, even after her mother mortifies her publicly on at least three different occasions, Mei does everything she can to maintain her mother’s approval.)
4. One of the biggest “issues” the reviews have mentioned is that the mother hints that instead of her daughter turning into a raging Red Panda, she might have gotten her first period because Mei is 13 years old. After that, there’s a scene where her mother brings her several varieties of pads. (They didn’t even mention tampons or birth control in the movie) The subject is brought up one more time as a plot device to embarrass Mei in front of her friends and then that’s it. 45 seconds (if that) of joking about pads the same way boys joke about farting.
The entirety of the movie is really no more informative or thought provoking on the subject than walking your kids through the feminine hygiene aisle at a grocery store.
Accusing Disney and Pixar of maliciously and intentionally forcing conversation on parents about a young girl’s cycle is a huge stretch.
This type of thing has got to stop. I am 100% for protecting children from sexual exploitation and exposure. I am 100% for parents getting to decide when, what, and how they teach their children about things like women’s menstrual cycles, or men and women’s anatomy, or where babies come from. I believe that parents should absolutely be in charge of their children’s educations in pretty much all matters.
But nothing against those beliefs occurred in the film.
There are times when shows are disgusting and unsuitable for children. There are. But as conservatives we have got to stop being as sensitive as we accuse the Left of being. We cannot cry foul and say that Leftists are being overly whiny and pathetic because Disney put up a bunch of warnings about “racially insensitive stereotypes” on all the Disney classics but then turn around and whine ourselves because a box of pads was shown in movie aimed at preteens and teens.
I know, I know. But what about all those younger kids who watch the movies? Well, I can tell you this. I grew up watching Hunchback of Notre Dame and had no idea that Frollo was fantasizing sexually about Esmeralda until I grew up. I watched Pocahontas and never once ran around calling people savages. When I saw Lion King, I had no idea that the “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” scene was an implication of the main characters making love.
You know why? Because I was a child who didn’t know better. It never dawned on me that I should be curious about what was going on because I had no context to begin with.
All I’m saying is this; let’s not be hypocrites who call people snowflakes because they can’t handle race jokes or guns in children’s cartoons but then tell all their friends to avoid a movie that mention the word wings and pads in the same sentence. We’re not supposed to be the hypersensitive ones. If the reviewers hated the film, cool. But can we please stop making mountains out of molehills just to tout our own political agendas?