Conservatives' New Grievance: 'Baymax' Episode Depicts Feminine Hygiene Products, Trans Person

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday July 1, 2022

Baymax shopping for feminine hygiene products.
Baymax shopping for feminine hygiene products.  (Source:Screencap/Twitter)

"Baymax," the new Disney+ animated series based on the film "Big Hero 6," features a helpful robot doing good deeds. One episode also shows a trans character — and conservative pundits are, unsurprisingly, losing their minds over it, according to The Daily Beast.

"In the third episode of the series, titled 'Sofia,' a pre-teen character heads to the all-genders restroom at her middle school," The Daily Beast said. "She gets her first period before the talent show, but Baymax, the kind robot who specializes in healthcare, is ready to help."

When the friendly robot heads to a local store and finds his way to the feminine hygiene products, a customer wearing a shirt emblazoned with the transgender flag is seen shopping for similar needs. The trans character — along with a dad shopping for his daughter and another female customer — offers the robot advice about which product, exactly, to buy.

Minus the robot, a friend helpfully buying feminine hygiene products for a young woman unexpectedly having her menstrual cycle and getting advice on the purchase is a scene that could (and probably does) take place in any American town.

Moreover, The Daily Beast noted, "This is a big moment for a youth-targeted series: It's already rare for Disney (and other broadcasters) to explain normal sexual health like puberty and periods to kids, and this show is finally casting a wider net when it comes to those who menstruate. It's not just cisgender women!"

But to conservatives it's all part of some sort of huge conspiracy to... not make a big deal about something as natural and commonplace as menstruation? Replicate the real-world existence of transgender individuals onscreen? Model what it means to be compassionate when it comes to the health needs of others?

Whatever the cause, the scene prompted Christopher Rufo to take to Twitter with "leaked video" from the show before the series even premiered. The conservative writer blasted Disney for what he called the company's "plan to re-engineer the discourse around kids and sexuality," The Daily Beast detailed.

"The trigger language is, of course, disingenuous and untrue," The Daily Beast added. "There's no re-engineering of a discourse happening as part of a grand Disney agenda. Young folks, no matter their gender identity, should have a normalized education about menstruation. If they're not buying pads and tampons for themselves, like Baymax, they can be helpful advisors and a support system to their partner, pal, or family member."

Meanwhile, a Texas politician, Rep. Bryan Slaton, seemed not to know just how ordinary menstruation and feminine hygiene products are, calling the moment "sick and weird," according to the Houston Chronicle.

While the exaggerated outrage from the right was all too predictable, social media users were just as reliably unimpressed with the theatrics... and, as usual, were witty in their takedowns of the manufactured controversy.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.