Megan’s Pop Culture Watch: March 2022

Media is messy. With countless social platforms and ever-changing trending pages, it is easy to miss the biggest headlines. The Messenger is back with the latest triumphs, trends and troubles of the pop culture world.

Turning Red

Pixar’s newest release “Turning Red” focuses on the story of a newly-turned, 13-year-old Asian-Canadian girl as she balances family, friends and the ‘relatable’ teenage struggle of turning into a giant red panda when in emotional stress. The film addresses multi-generational trauma, especially in immigrant families, and the challenge to carve one’s own path in the world despite what others think.

Recently, the film became the subject of backlash from a few concerned parents, stating that the film teaches their young children ideals – such as “disobeying their parents” and “sneaking out”  – while also introducing them to more “sensitive” topics, such as female menstruation. Many mothers argued that almost every other Pixar film features young characters going against their parents wishes. Furthermore, users stood with Pixar’s decision to place menstruation in the film, as it is a realistic topic of conversation for the coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old girl facing the challenges of growing up. 

Despite these critics, “Turning Red” has received immense praise for being one of the first animated movies of its kind to bring more mature topics of discussion to the table. Internet users drew comparisons and parallels to Disney’s 2020 movie, “Encanto,” which utilizes a similar theme of balancing familial expectations with being one’s authentic self. Many hope that the advent of animated movies that discuss more serious situations will help destigmatize uncomfortable topics and allow for open dialogue within immigrant families. 

Star-Crossed Lovers

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Two celebrities alike in dignity, in fair Staten Island we lay our scene. A feud grows between the couple and an outsider. Who knows what bloodshed the battle will leave? 

Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian, the modern-day Romeo and Juliet, are facing backlash from none other than Kardashian’s ex-husband Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. The “Donda” rapper has launched visceral public attacks targeting Davidson, at first on social media, then most recently in his newest music video. The since-deleted Instagram attacks focused on Pete’s relationship with Kim. They concern the four children that Ye and Kardashian share together, whom Ye believes Davidson is not a good influence on. Ye’s music video features a person, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Davidson, being tied up, beaten and decapitated by Ye himself. 

The main controversy surrounds the fact that Ye believes his children are being wrongfully kept away from him and influenced by Pete to do bad things. Ye has stated that he is forced to be public with his claims as he has tried to contact Kim multiple times to no avail. Some people believe Ye’s statements, however the vast majority of Internet users believe that he is traumatizing his kids in the process. 

Davidson responded to these attacks in a text conversation with Ye, in which he attempts to keep things civil by stating, “I’ve decided I’m not gonna let you treat us this way anymore and I’m done being quiet.” In true Staten Island fashion, when asked by Ye where he is, he responded with a selfie of him in bed captioned “In bed with your wife.” 

It is clear that Kim and Pete are not threatened by Ye’s attempts to split them apart, with Kardashian making them Instagram-official on March 11. Only time will tell if this real-life Shakespearean trope can withstand outside pressures and berating ex-husbands.  

The Battle of the Decade

It seems every year brings a new trend of this-or-that. In past years, it was Yanny or Laurel, or the blue-black or white-gold dress. The question of 2022 debates on whether there are more doors or wheels in the world. The original discussion stems from a tweet by Ryan Nixon, in which he poses the question to the Internet as a way to solve an argument between him and his friends. 

Internet users have spent days meticulously defining what makes a door and what makes a wheel in order to get to the bottom of this conundrum. According to Google, doors are defined as any barrier that can be opened or closed that is placed at any entrance, while wheels are any circular object that revolves on an axle. One side reported hotels, planes and apartment buildings as arguments for doors, while the other side reported office chairs, toy cars and trains as arguments for wheels. 

The actual results may be too close to call, but the general consensus on both the original tweet and various social media platforms, appears to be that people believe there are more wheels than doors in the world. Whether you are Team Wheels or Team Doors, the sheer captivation of the world with this debate begs people to ask themselves: what will the next Internet-originated trend of this-or-that be?

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