The new Disney Pixar movie Turning Red has new representation and I am loving it! Not only is the animation by director Domee Shi fantastic, and gives of this adorable chunky cuteness, she happens to have a girl who is Chinese and lives in Toronto, Canada! One huge shock that amazed me however was the mention of periods and pads.
Prepare for some minor spoilers in this review on Turning Red regarding womanhood, growing up, finding yourself, and . . . didn’t I mention periods?
Turning Red Plot
Young thriteen year old Mei Lee is a good, obedient, self confident girl. She is Chinese descent and lives in Toronto, Canada. She strives to be perfect, for her mother. In her grades, behavior, choices, obediance and other curriculars. With her best friend squad (Miriam, Priya, and Abby) she is able to be a teen: includes being ridiculoys, fun, gross, girating, fangilring over boys, and crushing on boys, girls what have you. However, she can’t seem to express this side of herself to her mom. When she suddenly turns into a red panda, she finds out about their family’s hisotry. The red panda only comes when she feels strong emotions. Can this panda help her be herself? Express the good, bad, ugly, silly, and everything in between?
One important thing that this movie offers that many disney films haven’t, is hard core representation of culture and female teenagers. Many people have this stigma about young teenage girls who love to be quiet, dabble in makeup, a whole lot of what is considered ‘feminine’ behavior. However, director Domee Shi exposes the truth. Teenage girls can be ridiculous, hilarious, gross in their silliness, be confident in themeselves, be aggressive, physically strong, have desires of the other teens their age to an extreme level. Part of being a teen is dealing with puberty. Yes, teens can be attracted to anybody and express deep want for that person or persons. I’ts a normal part of growing up. Female teens can be gluttonous, sexual and goofy. As portrayed by Mei and her squad they love to insanely fangirl over a pop asian group called 4 town and they love to girate and dance, and love to make funny expressions. They are a close knit group and help bring each other up, in this case Mei whenever she is feeling down.
Periods and Pad Representation
Disney has come a long way with their movies. There is more representation of races and independent heroin story lines. There is less focus on love and more focus on being yourself, finding yourself, and being strong in every way. One huge thing I was not expecting while watching Turning Red, was the mention of periods and using pads. Being in my twenties, I have never felt so excited for that moment. It may seem cheesy, but I got a sense of comfort and it felt relateable. For my female readers of this article, if you have or have not seen this movie, I assure you it made me reminisce the early stages of puberty. I feel this is helping normalize conversations about it as a thirteen year old or even younger. This scene, even though it’s small, will help many girls understand and have conversations with their families. It’s a part of growing up and not many people are comfortable talking about it, but Director Domee Shi did, and she is changing the way how we see girls and their biology. This is an opportunity to show girls that yes, you will get your period when you are a teenager, yes it is nothing to be afraid of, yes it can be an awkward yet hectic experience.
I recommend Turning Red for it’s messages, representation, the animation, and the sheer comedy. Watch on Disney Plus!
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