Turning Red and the curious case of criticism

Adrian George Nicolae
2 min readMar 25, 2022
Photo by Monika Kozub on Unsplash

It’s been a few weeks since Turning Red, the new smash hit from Pixar, hit the airwaves on Disney+.

And almost from the start there has been criticism. Mainly from men.

But before we go into that, let’s look at the story of this movie.

It’s a coming of age story, about a girl who, overnight, has her first period. Yet, instead of dealing with the potential embarrassment of menstruation cups and tampons (which it kind of does deal with shortly thereafter), it goes into a different route and makes Mei, the main character, into a red panda.

In a funny and creative way, the topic is a tad more relaxing, and showcases a different transformation, which the character does throughout this movie.

Some of the moments she grows up is how she deals with her overbearing mom, her rich bully, and her newfound power.

Of course, she has three friends that help her through this.

And this is where we talk about the criticism.

A portion of the criticism this movie has received is related to the girls, as a collective unit, and how they behave.

But seriously, how many of these people, which, again, are mostly male, hang around young girls all day and know how they behave?

Throughout my jobs, I have been around girls older than 13, and they still behave similarly.

Some girls are loud, hectic, fawning over random boys to the point of crying, into random dancing, and that can make them cool and obnoxious at the same time. Personally, I’m not a fan of people like that, and that’s okay. Not everybody has to be, but I am accepting.

The thing is, though, there have been a few boys movies like Goonies and Stand By Me, where some of them are behaving in a similar fashion. I don’t think I’ve seen a review calling these boys disgusting. So why is the topic on menstruation and reaching puberty in girls just that?

Or is some part of society that closed-minded that they’re more okay with seeing females over the age 16 in a sexual way than beforehand?

Whatever the reason, I think we need to see this movie through the same unbiased-ness that we’d see a regular, boy-led, movie.

A movie in which a group of girls embrace their nerdiness, loudness, and quirks, to make them gel more than if they were coy about their feelings, like Mei did at one point. And she was entitled to be afraid. You never know how people are going to react.

And that’s okay. We need to embrace differences, and find the ones that accept us for we are.