Parents criticise Disney film Turning Red over periods discussion

The latest children’s film unleashed on Disney+ has sparked controversy amongst some – for featuring multiple references to periods and slot pragmatic teenage crushes. 

Turning Red, the first Pixar film to be solely directed by a woman, Domee Shi, has a parental guidance (PG) rating but some have deemed the film ‘inappropriate’ for younger children on social media. 

The Pixar film documents the story of Mei Lee, a 13-year-old girl who turns into a big red panda when her emotions get too much – a trait that also affects other females in her family.   

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While menstruation is only alluded to in the new Disney+ film by Pixar, some parents have deemed the references to periods and crushes as 'inappropriate' for a PG audience

While menstruation is only alluded to in the new Disney+ film by Pixar, some parents have deemed the references to periods and crushes as 'inappropriate' for a PG audience

While menstruation is only alluded to in the new Disney+ film by Pixar, some parents have deemed the references to periods and crushes as ‘inappropriate’ for a PG audience

Some have taken to social media to say the film's content, which focuses on the character of Mei, 13, isn't appropriate for a PG audience, because there are multiple references to periods and crushes

Some have taken to social media to say the film's content, which focuses on the character of Mei, 13, isn't appropriate for a PG audience, because there are multiple references to periods and crushes

Some have taken to social media to say the film’s content, which focuses on the character of Mei, 13, isn’t appropriate for a PG audience, because there are multiple references to periods and crushes

The fantasy comedy animated film stars Rosalie Chiang as the lead character Meilin ‘Mei’ Lee and Killing Eve star Sandra Oh takes on the voiceover for Ming Lee, Mei’s mother. 

While the film doesn’t explicitly mention menstruation, it does make reference to it on several occasions, including a scene where Mei is asked ‘Did the big red peony arrive?’ by her mother after she hears a commotion in the family bathroom.

The ‘peony’ scene sees Ming then come through the door of the bathroom with sanitary protection, a hot water bottle and pain-killers, as she says: ‘[She is a] woman now and [her] body is starting to change.’   

One person who’s seen the film wrote on Twitter: ‘You should not let your kids watch the movie.

It’s not appropriate for kids to watch in my honest opinion.’   

The new Disney film also references boy-band mad Mei's high school crushes

The new Disney film also references boy-band mad Mei's high school crushes

 The new Disney film also references boy-band mad Mei’s high school crushes

A poster on Twitter added: ‘Boring, Annoying characters, unfunny, a story that is NOT age appropriate for my 5 & 6 yr olds, didn’t hear them laugh once, puberty story is over their head.

I’m SO glad we didn’t waste $ to see this in theaters.’

Another agreed, saying: ‘We love supporting films with Asian characters/stories but a storyline about a boy-band obsessed teenager was not it. Most of the content was not kid appropriate and my kids never warmed up to it.’

However, plenty of people said they loved the fact the film discusses ‘something that 50 per cent of the population experience’. 

One wrote: ‘Bodily functions terrify some people.

The more menstruation is mentioned, the less frightening it gets.’ 

Another added: ‘It’s mind blowing for me that we’re in year 2022 and there are still people who think talking about menstruation is not child appropriate!’

One move-goer also applauded it, saying: ‘Despite the outcries I’m reading in some reviews, is 100% kid appropriate for boys and girls.

It’s time that basic biology that affects nearly 50% of the population as early as 9 years old is not taboo. This allegory of growing up was well done.’