I’m not quite ready to say it’s a great time to be someone who has a period, but it’s at least minimally a time that finally has people talking publicly about periods thanks to Disney+. Back in February, Turning Red gave menstruators everywhere a feature-length period allegory. Now we have Baymax!, a series of shorts featuring the titular healthcare companion robot helping the residents of San Fransokyo. Episode 3 features Sofia, a middle-schooler surprised by her first period just before the school talent show.
The episode was particularly moving for Scott Adsit, who provides the voice of Baymax. “It was never treated as something that was to be ashamed of or to be hidden or to be anything but talked about very openly and plainly,” according to Adsit. “That’s when I knew this was a very special series, and I’m very proud to be part of it.”
“Baymax shows us through this whole thing that we can do those things, and we all have challenges in our lives that we need help with,” agrees Bradford Simonsen, a series producer. “There’s nothing to be ashamed of in that.”
Before Turning Red and Baymax!, references to periods, especially in media meant for kids, were few and far between. In 1946, Walt Disney Productions created The Story of Menstruation. This ten-minute animated video, while in many ways outdated by current standards, was ahead of its time thanks to an emphasis on scientific accuracy. (Menstrual blood being animated as white notwithstanding, of course.) Even so, it was a video meant to be watched by only girls, shuttled away for a gender-specific health lesson. Speaking as the teenage version of me who wouldn’t buy tampons in a checkout line if it was being manned by a guy, watching these open discussions about periods in mainstream media is long overdue.
You can watch Sofia’s episode, along with the full Baymax! series, now on Disney+.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Baymax!” returns to the fantastical city of San Fransokyo where the affable, inflatable, inimitable healthcare companion, Baymax(voice of Scott Adsit), sets out to do what he was programmed to do: help others. The six-episode series of healthcare capers introduces extraordinary characters who need Baymax’s signature approach to healing in more ways than they realize. Created by Don Halland produced by Roy ConliandBradford Simonsen, filmmakersbehind2014’s Oscar®-winning feature “Big Hero 6,” the series’ episodes are directed by Dean Wellins(Eps 1, 2, 6), Lissa Treiman(Ep 3), Dan Abraham(Ep 4) and Mark Kennedy(Ep 5).