According to Turning Red producer Lindsey Collins, the production crew behind Pixar’s upcoming puberty-themed film was “unapologetic” about ensuring that the film included “real conversations about periods and about these moments in girls’ lives.”
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The latest film from the popular Disney studio, Turning Red follows the story of Meilin “Mei” Lee, a young Chinese-Canadian girl who finds herself – in a not-so-subtle metaphor for female puberty – turning into a giant red panda anytime she finds herself overwhelmed with strong emotions.
Collins revealed the Pixar team’s enthusiasm for broaching the topic of menstruation during a promotional interview for Turning Red given to Polygon’s Petrana Radulovic alongside the film’s director and co-writer, Donee Shi.
Published on February 7th, the interview opened with Shi explicitly confirming that Mei’s red panda form was “a metaphor not just for puberty, but also what we inherit from our moms, and how we deal with the things that we inherit from them.”
She further explained, “[Mei is] growing up caught between two worlds, East and West, but [she’s] also at this time in her life where she’s blossoming into adulthood. And all of these changes are happening not just to her body, but to her relationship with her mom and her friends.”
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As Radulovic turned to how the film featured “mistaken conversations about periods” – as seen in an image included in the article which sees Mei and her mother speaking over a box of feminine pads – Collins assured the writer that “it was always in the very earliest versions of the film.”
“Everybody on the crew was unapologetic in support of having these real conversations about periods and about these moments in girls’ lives,” she added.
Regarding the aforementioned ‘pad scene,’ Collins told Radulovic that studio heads had no issue with its inclusion in the film, with the producer speculating, “I think they saw it very much in the DNA of the film and the characters.”
“The hope is with putting it on the screen and having it be something that is cringy, but also funny, and a part of this story, it does normalize it,” she said. “There’s an appreciation from anybody who’s gone through it for what we put on the screen, but also those who haven’t gone through it.”
Turning Red hits Disney Plus on March 11th.
What do you make of Turning Red’s commitment to discussing menstruation? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!
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