Rudolph The Problematic Reindeer?

Rudolph The Problematic Reindeer?

Or are we taking political correctness too far?


The topic of political correctness, especially in the context of representation of the marginalized, has become an especially controversial subject over the past decade. The questions of what is appropriate and what is offensive, and what images send what messages, have been hotly debated in schools, media, government, and community.

Yesterday a friend informed me of the latest (as far as I know) subject of scrutiny in the name of political correctness: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

We all know the beloved, classical Christmas film, but in case you've forgotten, here's a recap: Rudolph is a reindeer who, to the shame of his parents, was born with a nose that glows red. He is often the target of ridicule and exclusion due to his nose, until Santa realizes how useful it is for guiding his sleigh through a dark and foggy night. Rudolph is celebrated as the hero and we are left with the message that it is our differences, our perceived flaws, that make us truly special.

Seems innocent enough. But recently a debate about the film's intentions and message has been revived, bring this family-favorite under investigation. The claimed problem lies in Rudolph's identity as a "marginalized" character and the ways he may symbolize those with disabilities, specifically, or more generally any targeted minority group.

These claims lay base in the scenes which display "verbal abuse," persecution, and rejection of Rudolph on the basis of his physical difference, along with his eventual inclusion only after he is shown to be of service to others. People are arguing that such scenes parallel and symbolize the type of discrimination experienced by marginalized groups in today's society and perpetuate the attitudes that reduce people to their bodies and abilities.

Is there any legitimacy in these claims? Maybe so - Rudolph most definitely does become a victim of harassment and bullying due to a condition of his life which is totally out of his control. At the same time, though, is making these claims in response to a children's claymation about animals a bit of a reach? I would argue yes.

While there is value in monitoring the messages our media sends, especially media directed at children, we have to consider the context of the argument and its formation. In this case, a series of joking tweets was compiled into an article intended to entertain (HuffPost) , which was then picked up by social media outlets, and eventually by mainstream news outlets.

This progression shows how quickly our opinions and ideas about certain things are shaped and disseminated by the media. This sudden anti-Rudolph activism, which began as a mild joke on the slightly problematic undertones in the film quickly became a debate between the most extreme sectors of both liberals and conservatives,with each side claiming hate-speech or another "War on Christmas," respectively.

What we need is to take a step back and remember that this film, made for children, over 50 years ago, is not the real issue. While there may be some scenes that are a nod to a less aware time, and it can't hurt to explain to children that bullying and discrimination is never okay, even if you apologize for it later, the fact remains that this is an animated film.

Maybe it is best we focus this type of energy on bigger problems - think institutional and systematic oppression - rather than going to war over our favorite reindeer cartoon.

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12 Gifts To Give Your Girlfriend On Valentine's Day

All of these gift ideas will for sure win over your girlfriend's heart this year!

To all the last-minute gift givers of Valentine's Day:

Don't panic. While I know how stressful it can be to get the perfect gift for your significant other, there are so many gift ideas that people always forget as an option. The best part about Valentine's day is not the gifts you get, but rather the romantic time you get to spend with your loved one. So don't worry about how expensive the gift is, just worry about how much thought you put into it. If you are still stuck on a gift to buy for your girlfriend, here are 12 ideas to get the ball rolling for you:

1. Chocolate

Chocolate is every woman's best friend. It also can be your wallet's best friend for this Valentine's Day season. A box of chocolate can warm your girlfriend's heart for a low price.

Buy a box on Amazon.

2. Flowers

Flowers. Another common, but romantic gift for your girlfriend. Get creative with it. Throw rose pedals all over the bed, or hand her a giant bouquet all at once. Either way I am sure she will love it.

Buy them on Amazon.

3. Giant Teddy Bear

This is a gift that I always found so adorable. While it can be obnoxious to purchase and carry around, the look on your girlfriend's face when she sees it will make it all worth it. She can cuddle the bear when you're not around. ;)

Buy one on Amazon.

4. Wine

Again, another luxury that is a woman's best friend. You cannot go wrong with buying your girlfriend a bottle, or bottles, of wine. The only question you have to ask yourself when buying it is, red or white?

Buy a set of glasses to match on Amazon.

5. A Couple's Massage

Um, hello. Who wouldn't love this gift? Not only is it a gift for her, but it is one for you as well. This gift can also be surprisingly cheap. Many places offer amazing deals during the Valentine's Day season!

6. Dinner

There is absolutely nothing wrong with just taking your girlfriend to a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day. Dinner can be expensive enough as it is, the important thing to remember is to make memories that will last a lifetime during the meal.

7. A Movie

Again, nothing wrong with just going to a movie for the night. Sometimes a movie can set the level of romance you need for Valentine's Day.

Buy an AMC gift card on Amazon.

8. A Necklace

I know what you're thinking, too expensive! Don't throw away the necklace idea just yet. There are so many stores that sell such elegant necklaces, and they are decently priced as well. Check out stores like Alex and Ani, or Pandora for great deals, or just order from Amazon!

Buy one on Amazon.

9. A Ring

While this gift may only apply to a select few, imagine how memorable this day would be for your girlfriend. Do not think it is too cliche to propose to your girlfriend on Valentine's Day. Who cares how many other people do it, think about the joy it will bring her.

Buy a diamond ring on Amazon.

10. Clothes

Plan and buy your girlfriend's outfit for the night! It saves her time figuring out what to wear, and you just bought her clothes that she will absolutely adore!

Buy a sweater she will love on Amazon.

11. A One Night Stay at a Hotel

I don't think I have to say anything about this gift. You all know how romantic this is.

Buy a gift card on Amazon.

12. Personalized Picture Frame

A gift that is beyond thoughtful. Taking all of your pictures of memories from before and putting them together for your girlfriend is a gift that will for sure have her in tears.

Buy one on Amazon.

Please note that all items are in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Cover Image Credit: Chip Party Ideas

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Holiday Block Leave For The Army Was Just Too Good To Be True

"When something looks too good to be true, it usually is." -Emmy Rossum


Everyone enjoys the times where their soldier gets to come home. The multitude of dates, romantic gestures, and the simple fact that you get to spend time with your soldier feels like a dream.

You get to finally have your best friend back, and for about two weeks, you don't get that feeling of loneliness. I remember feeling extremely happy seeing my soldier smile and laugh with me over the silliest of things and thinking to myself that I missed moments like this. I also loved getting dolled up and going out to eat at some of our favorite places. Yet again, my heart and stomach were more than satisfied, I caught myself swooning about how the entirety of these events was dreamlike.

The first week flew by so fast. I blinked, and next thing you know he is packing up some of his things. I realized within the two-week time period I had already grown accustomed to him again. I had gotten overly attached, and I honestly did not know how to feel about it. I clearly did not want him to leave, but he had to. I felt myself growing irritated near the end of holiday block leave because I guess I felt there was nothing I could do to keep these insanely wonderful moments going. I knew that once he left it would be back to the routine of never-ending work and stress.

I was not ready for college to start back at this point. He wasn't ready to be brain fried from butt loads of work either, but my soldier has more determination than I sometimes. I am working on my determination and motivation, but I still will forever cry when stressed, or when I feel I have no control over a situation. I tried so hard to hold back the tears this time around, but it just couldn't be done. I did not breakdown I just shed a tear or two, so I can say I have improved.

It's just so hard.

I loved seeing him for those two weeks, but at the same time, it sucks because it's like we're being teased. We get to spend time with our military loved ones, but it's for such a short amount of time. Of course, we lived it to the fullest, but that doesn't make his leaving any easier.

Now, I'm just counting down the days until he gets another leave and I get to spend that time with him again.

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