(Pixar)

Arts and Entertainment

Opinion: Why do Pixar teenagers have perfect skin

How Disney's representation of perfect skin does not reflect the lives of majority of teens.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/sophiarkim/" target="_self">Sophia Kim</a>

Sophia Kim

December 16, 2022

I’ve watched Pixar’s “Turning Red”, and definitely enjoyed it due to the Asian representation and the adorable, exaggerated visuals. The film was directed by Domee Shi, who is an Asian-American animator, director, and screenwriter, and I admire how she was able to step up and create a piece of media that represents who she is.

It also aims to normalize taboo topics of puberty, such as periods, diabetes, body odor, hormones, mood swings, etc. It’s a film that takes the first steps of teaching teenagers to accept themselves for who they are, especially for adolescents who are tired of being characterized as edgy, moody, teenagers that shouldn’t be taken seriously.

The only thing that I have a problem with is that every middle schooler in the movie seems to have magically clear, flawless skin. If you’ve ever walked through a middle school or a high school today, you probably wouldn’t see such a thing.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that 85% of people from ages 12-24 experience acne. Eighty-five percent! But it seems like 100% of the teenagers in “Turning Red” experience no such thing. It frustrates me to the core because acne is already extremely underrepresented in the media, and in a film about growing up and experiencing puberty, we did not see one pimple.

Each of my friends struggle with their skin and self-esteem issues. From blackheads to cystic acne, they all feel as though they would be so much prettier if they had “perfect” skin. It’s hard to see acne as a perfectly normal condition because it’s considered an ugly, gross thing that happens to hormonal adolescents. Why put such a negative stigma around acne when almost everyone goes through it? 

Society aims to normalize obesity, freckles, stretch marks, LGBTQ+ individuals, albinism, and on and on. Why not add acne to the list? I’d like to see some models that have deep acne scars on their face, but still rock their outfit. I want to see actors in TV shows with cystic acne on their cheeks and absolutely crush their roles. Singers and idols that have an immaculate stage presence, even with whiteheads scattered on their foreheads. The possibilities are endless, and talent shouldn’t be overlooked because of facial marks. 

Regardless, Pixar has done a great job at breaking boundaries with their film. I don’t mean to discredit that at all, because simply talking about pads and tampons caused a huge controversy, and I’m glad Domee Shi was willing to take that risk to educate and acknowledge teenagers. However, if Pixar seriously aims to represent the struggles of adolescents accurately, then they should think about making some changes to “Inside Out 2″.

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