Expectations from people are something we can’t avoid, from our friends, co-workers, and family. As normal as expectations are, they are not always healthy and it could lead to an unbearable pressure that could push us to the edge.
Disney Pixar’s animated movie, Turning Red tackles the sensitive topic of generational trauma in a creative storyline. The film follows Meilin “Mei” Lee. 13-year-old outgoing and diligent kid as she navigates through the chaotic stage of puberty and family secrets. Things become hairy when day Mei woke up as a giant red panda. Unknown to Mei, the women in her family from her mother’s side has the ability to turn into a red panda once they hit puberty.
Turning Red, turning real
Turning Red highlights the journey of self-discovery as she breaks free from the weight of being the perfect daughter to her parents. It’s an issue that reflects in most Asian households, to always bring honor to the family. Mei feels as if she’s losing herself, her self-identity, she’s afraid of making mistakes as it will disappoint her mother. As Mei tries to be herself, she finds a strong pillar of support from her friends. A found comfort away from the pressure of Mei’s mother, Ming, they are the key to Mei’s character change and her saving grace.
Turning into a red panda whenever she can’t handle her emotions which are mostly came from her mother. It’s a really creative way to show emotions that Mei usually suppresses. Trying to break free from the expectations that pressure Mei to be something that her mother wants she defies her mother and did whatever makes her happy. However, Ming wasn’t having any of it and unleashes her destructive panda. It was then found out that Ming went through the same treatment like Mei. Following the cycle of generational trauma, it was extend on to Mei like her panda abilities.
Break the cycle
Generational trauma is define as trauma that extends from one generation to the next. It’s one of the major plotlines of Turning Red I like the way they resolve this issue. Generational trauma can’t be neatly portrayed or healed, certainly not in the span of an hour and forty-minute movie. But the way that older generations come together to save both and help them fix their bond did it justice. Despite the pain they have caused each other, it was also them who had each other’s back.
Ming loves Mei the most, Mei is her world, however, Ming is too controlling that it’s breaking her daughter. In the end, Mei finally understood her mother and Ming realizes her faults and it was through the help of their family and friends. It was as though Ming is finally letting go of Mei. Kind of sad but that was the reality of life, it should be lived without others telling you how.
Hey! If you’re like Mei, I hope you break yours too.
Rosemarie is a writer and an artist, She developed a passion for arts at a young age, inspired by the Japanese animation that she frequently watches which also sparked her love for writing. Her arts and writings became her special way of expressing her feelings as she's not really good with words. Most of her time were spend on either honing her digital drawing skills, watching anime, or gaming.