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.”

WE’VE GOT YOUR (FLUFFY) BACK – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” everything is going great for 13-year-old Mei—until she begins to “poof” into a giant panda when she gets too excited. Fortunately, her tightknit group of friends have her fantastically fluffy red panda back. Featuring the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Hyein Park as Mei, Miriam, Priya and Abby, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

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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.

RED ALERT – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” 13-year-old Mei Lee “poofs” into a giant panda when she gets too excited (which for a teenager is practically ALWAYS). This unfortunate new reality for the teenager lands her in a multitude of awkward situations. Featuring Rosalie Chiang as the voice of Mei Lee, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

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.”

MOTHER’S NATURE – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” confident-but-dorky teenager Mei Lee is torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. And Mei Lee’s mother has very strong feelings about it all. Featuring Rosalie Chiang as the voice of Mei Lee, and Sandra Oh as the voice of Mei Lee’s mother, Ming, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

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.”

Source: Turning Red (2022), Pixar

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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.

MIDDLE SCHOOL MAYHEM – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” 13-year-old Mei Lee, a confident-but-dorky teenager, is surviving the mayhem of middle school with a little help from her tightknit group of friends. Featuring the voices of (from left to right) Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Priya, Rosalie Chiang as Mei, Ava Morse as Miriam, and Hyein Park as Abby, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

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.” 

FRIENDS FOREVER – In Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” 13-year-old Mei Lee, a confident-but-dorky teenager with a tightknit group of friends who are passionate about a boy band called 4-Town. Featuring the voices of Rosalie Chiang, Ava Morse, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan and Hyein Park as Mei, Miriam, Priya and Abby, “Turning Red” will debut exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) on March 11, 2022. © 2022 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

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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  • About The Author

    Spencer Baculi
    Associate Editor

    Spencer is the Associate Editor for Bounding Into Comics. A life-long anime fan, comic book reader, and video game player, Spencer believes in supporting every claim with evidence and that Ben Reilly is the best version of Spider-Man. He can be found on Twitter @kabutoridermav.

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