‘Turning Red’ gives Asian Americans representation in today’s pop culture, despite challenges it faced


Asian Americans don’t have much representation in pop culture, let alone the film industry. So when Pixar’s Turning Red came out, it started to turn heads all across social media.  

Even when Asian Americans do attain representation, it is often shadowed with challenges. In the case of Pixar’s Turning Red, these challenges are plentiful. For starters, not being in theaters has dramatically affected the revenue of the film. Being purely on Disney Plus means that there was not as much mainstream attention to the film as there could have been with presence in the theaters. Although it is true that it costs much more to market a movie in theaters rather than market it just for Disney Plus, being in theaters would have given the film much more attention.

Still, Turning Red has gained praise by all audiences, with many praising the recognition of Asian culture, and some praising the animation style, comparing it to movements typically found in Japanese animation. “I really liked the diversity in their friend group,” said senior Leyla Brown.

Opposition towards the film 

Although many younger audiences praised the film, some movie reviewers offered critique towards the film, calling it “exhausting” and “unrelatable” according to movie critic Sean O’Connell off of the site CinemaBlend.(Bounding Into Comics) 

Furthermore, O’ Connel elaborated by saying that it has “a limiting scope”, since the people in the film were not similar to himself.

This made many on social platforms confused. Sure, you may not be a bug, but you can still relate to A Bug’s Life and feel like you are under a corrupt higher power. You may not be a talking car, but you can still enjoy and relate to the Cars movie series by relating to the aspect of competition.

“I think their criticism is mostly wrong,” said Brown. “I think the point of the film was to highlight and show Asian culture in a good light, and also give insight to what Asian youth go through due to cultural norms.” 

Others on Twitter have defended the review, with one user saying that the animation was “childish and unrelatable”.

How this represents Asian Americans 

Turning Red is primarily about celebrating Asian culture, highlighting it, and giving realistic portrayals of how it is growing up in an Asian American household. Just as the film depicted, many Asian Americans on Twitter expressed how much they related with the film, and how it is doing a lot for the culture. 

In films such as Crazy Rich Asians, the stereotypes are numerous, and many critics were quick to point out that the film did not represent Asian Americans in a realistic way. Although it was indeed representation, it wasn’t exactly what some thought the community needed.

Turning Red was a breath of fresh air for many in the Asian community, as it showed how many Asian Americans grew up, the challenges they face within their households, and the expectations of most Asian parents.