The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
So I recently watched the new Disney & Pixar movie Turning Red and I wanted to talk about it. There’s a few things I want to say, so let’s get started.
First, I wanted to sing the praises of the soundtrack. It has some real gems, from “Nobody Like U” to “1 True Love,” and I am unironically listening to it. The vocals are amazing—I’d expect nothing less from the likes of Jordan Fisher and Finneas O’Connell—and the beats are catchy. You can find the soundtrack here: https://open.spotify.com/album/6z1EZ0KfoiVW0bXIbOWAu3
Second, the movie itself is so well done. Domee Shi and Julia Cho tell a beautiful story that shows a young girl’s journey through puberty, cultural and familial expectations, and life in general. The red panda is adorable and the characters are relatable to so many younger girls and women. This will probably become one of the movies I watch over and over again, just because it’s that good.
Third, and what I wanted to talk about most is this. The representation of periods in Turning Red. A lot of people, specifically more conservative parents, are upset that the movie portrays periods. In the beginning of the movie, the mother (Ming) brings her daughter (Mei) pads because she thinks Mei is starting her period. This has led to multiple accounts of angry parents, complaining that they now have to explain periods to their young children, such as the parent in the screenshot below.
Now, this is what I have to say: Periods aren’t gross. Periods shouldn’t be a secret. Periods shouldn’t be hidden. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked to someone with a vagina who had no clue what to do when they got their period. There are still some adults with a uterus that don’t understand how to put in a tampon. So personally, I think it is amazing that this film talks about periods.
Though it is just a mention, when the mom brings Mei pads and pain relievers, it shines an important light on the very real and very prevalent event that happens in every uterus-owning person’s life—menstruation. And whether you have a uterus or not, you should know what that is and the logistics of it. I don’t care if you never get a period yourself, you came out of a uterus as a result of someone who had a period, so you should at least know what the damn thing is.
Some people on Twitter share a differing opinion from that of the Facebook mom, praising the film’s depiction of the topic and talking about their appreciation for the openness.
Personally, as you can probably tell, I think this is incredible. I think Disney allowing a platform where creators can talk about this, knowing their audience is full of children nearing the age of puberty, is wonderful. Shi presented it in a way that is casual and realistic, which makes it so much easier for kids and parents to start this conversation. When a kid, especially a young girl, sees this representation of menstruation, it opens up the ability to start learning about a normal and natural part of life that shouldn’t be hidden away and shamed. Parents need to start educating and informing their children, of any and all genders, about periods, puberty, and what is coming in the next few years.
Movies and media depictions like this, where periods are shown as a normal part of aging, are so imperative to helping young women learn about themselves, especially showing them that what they are experiencing is normal. Menstruation is normal, and it shouldn’t be taboo! Films like Turning Red open the floor for normalizing periods, which is long overdue.
In conclusion, I think Turning Red is great. I love the movie itself, and I’m glad Disney is getting more open with showcasing aspects of life that are normal, but seen as taboo or shameful. I appreciate the tasteful nature in which Domee Shi approached the topic and I am so glad that this topic is becoming more prominent in popular media. As it should!