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Disney Pixar’s “Turning Red”: An Emphasis on the Power of Womanhood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Coastal Carolina chapter.

Disney and Pixar have done it again! Over spring break, I got the chance to watch the new movie, Turning Red. This movie made it important that there was a focus on what it takes to be a woman. Throughout Turning Red, we follow a young girl named Mei Lee who is struggling with the decision of being a perfect daughter and a growing teenager. With some magical turns along the way (including some red pandas), Mei learns that the path of womanhood is not the easiest to take.


As a woman, growing up can be difficult without understanding what changes your body is going through. What I loved about this movie is how upfront they were about acknowledging it. Normally, movies portray young men maturing because it is the traditional norm; but seeing Mei’s family being prepared and adapting to her puberty stage enlightened me. In one scene, Mei is trying to hide her panda ability from her mom on the way to school, but her mom thinks she is on her period. Her mom is super supportive and prepared to help her daughter by having pads ready for her, offering a heating pad, and even making her tea to help with cramps. Small moments like this help Pixar resonate with their audience and give them a chance to see different perspectives of people.

Parental Pressure

As we have seen in recent Disney movies, parents can have a major impact on their children’s lives. Turning Red introduces us to the mother and daughter relationship. This trope is not usually shown in movies, but it is something that should be addressed more. I think what brings this movie to life is the amount of weight that is held on a woman’s relationship with her mother. We see this when Mei welcomes her aunts and grandma to her red panda extraction ceremony. Her grandma explains that Mei’s mother, Ming, had a great relationship with her, but Ming’s panda caused them to drift apart. Now I know what you’re thinking: “How could a red panda get in the way of a familial relationship?” Well, the pandas are linked with an enormous amount of emotion. If triggered, the only way to get back to human form is through a calming nature. In this case, the pressure of being the perfect daughter can overcome a person’s actual feelings. It is so common in every culture to put your feelings aside to abide by your parents. I think that this movie not only teaches us the dynamic of parental pressure, but it gives us a glimpse of what children go through when they compartmentalize everything.


What is a coming-of-age movie without the importance of friendship? I think a lot of people love this movie because it reminds them of what friendship is supposed to look like. Too many times we forget what “being a friend” is like. We get too absorbed by the world that we forget who is beside us and there for us in our time of need. Turning Red emphasized this concept a lot throughout the movie. Friendship was the only thing that could get Mei to calm down! I think Pixar is trying to remind us that we are not alone and that we should have people who support and love us for the people we are. 

Turning Red may be another Disney Pixar movie, but I think that it teaches us life lessons that we tend to forget about. The movie taught us that relationships and connections with others and yourself are important. Through recent years and events, we all have experienced a lack of connection. The pandemic has been drifting us apart, but we need to hold on to the relationships that make us stronger. We need to cherish every moment with our family, friends, and even the inner parts of ourselves. Turning Red taught us that the people we love will always be there to support us as we figure out the best versions of ourselves.

Dyneira Brown

Coastal Carolina '23

Dyneira is a Broadcast Journalism Communication Major with a Minor in Marketing at Coastal Carolina University. She is a Peer Leader, Research Fellow, and is on the Student Advisory Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion! She is a captain of the Chanticleer Regiment Marching Band. Dyneira loves Marvel movies/shows and aspires to have a career in the media field!