Disney on puberty: good or bad?

Lillian Coppelman, Editor In Chief

Disney, as a big corporation, often finds themselves under fire for anything people could find controversial. With the release of “Turning Red” in March and “Baymax!” in June 2022 there has been some mixed reactions amongst the public on how Disney portrayed the subject of puberty, specifically menstruation. This can be a pretty sensitive subject to talk about with children, with most schools teaching about it as young 9 to 11 years old.  

Some parents online are saying that it is highly inappropriate for Disney to have  allowed these topics to be shown to their young children, that it was not their place to educate their children on matters about their reproductive organs. However, I believe that Disney did not overstep on any boundaries.  

It’s nothing new when a Disney movie or show covers sensitive topics such as the loss of a family member, depression, racism, animal cruelty and even miscarriages have been implied in the past. Puberty is just a stage of life, something that every child goes through. So having a movie or show display a character going through it? It can help children through that stage of their lives, help them see that what happens to their bodies are natural and are not something to be ashamed of. 

Many negative reviews on “Turning Red” say its a movie about “sex and rebellion” when it’s actually about a mother and a daughter finding a middle ground during this new phase in their lives. For “Baymax!,” most negative comments were about the LGBTQIA+ representation, but the topic of menstruation was still a point of discussion on the reviews, as if these topics shouldn’t be exposed to their children in the first place. 

It’s not inappropriate to discuss someone going through grief or depression, so what makes puberty so different? Nothing is wrong with showing a character going through menstruation. I believe it actually is beneficial to desexualize a normal aspect of life. I believe that every child should have the right to know about their bodies and themselves. No child should be ashamed of the changes that are happening to their body, having a movie like “Turning Red” or a show like “Baymax!” are going to help them through this phase of life, just like any other Disney movie in the past.