Rudolph The Problematic Reindeer?
Start writing a post

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Rebecca Alvarez

Rebecca Alvarez is many things: founder, sexologist, CEO, mentor, and more — as a Latina businesswoman, each of her endeavors is grounded in the strong principles of inclusivity and diversity, especially in sexual health and wellness. Bloomi is the product of her all of her shared passions, and with it she has fostered a community of like-minded, passionate women.

Keep Reading... Show less

There is not a consistent standard for health education in the United States. There are a lot of variables that go into this — what state a student lives in, whether they go to a public or private school, and the district's funding and priorities. These variables can be argued for any subject, not just health class. But as we continue to grow as a society, hopefully bettering our education system along the way, it's crucial to consider this often-forgotten element of a child's schooling.

Keep Reading... Show less

In March, the whole country shut down. School was online, extra-curriculars were canceled, and I found myself laying in bed all day every day. One day, as I was laying in bed contemplating my laziness, I decided that I wanted to do something to make myself more healthy. I was feeling so down on myself and my laziness so I decided to make a change.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

10 Songs That Made It Onto My September Playlist

September is the month for Los Angeles natives and Australian music fans.

2032

The Neighbourhood, Bad Suns and The Driver Era are three Los Angeles bands that released songs this month. Not only was it a month for Los Angeles bands, but many Australian bands released new music — San Cisco's fourth studio album, Surf Trash single, Skegss single, and High Tropics single. I made new discoveries this month and was pleased by the amount of new music.

Read the listicle below to learn what came out this month in alternative rock music:

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Staying Active While You're Stuck Inside IS Possible, It Just Takes Some Small Steps

I know the last thing you want to think about right now is exercising, but it's time to put down the controller and put on your workout clothes.

125

As someone who has also been living on a bed since March, I can guarantee you that working out has been the last thing on my priority list. It's pretty far down there, along with my motivation and brain cells I used to use for work. However, I have made an effort in the past couple of weeks to move up exercising to at least number three on my priorities list.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Got Clean At A Very Young Age, And It Honestly Saved My Life

At 18, the world looked so much different for me than it did for most other 18-year-olds that I knew.

348
Emmie Pombo

Going into rehab when I was 19 was hands down the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. My addiction started when I was around 17 and spiraled and spiraled out of control, as addictions always do. However, looking back, I'm so lucky my addiction started and ended when it did.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

7 Things Your Partner Can Do To Support You When You Have PCOS

Don't be afraid to ask for help or comfort if you need it.

12303

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may not be totally visible to the eye, which makes it a lot harder for your partner to understand what's going on with your body.

If you are in a relationship, it's important that you communicate your PCOS symptoms with your partner. I say "your" symptoms specifically because everyone's symptoms are different.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Watched 'The Social Dilemma' And YIKES, I'm Terrified For The Next Generation's Mental Health

Millennials can remember a time without online social affirmation, but we may be the last ones.

6539
The Social Dilemma / Netflix

I've been in a media job for the entirety of my professional career. From part-time social media internships to full-time editorial work, I've continued to learn how to tell stories, write catchy headlines, and keep people interested. I believe working in media is a big responsibility, as well as a valuable way to advance our world.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

One Indictment, Three Charges, And No Justice For Breonna Taylor

We can't settle for this decision or a system that is fundamentally broken and unequal.

19329

On March 13, 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was fatally shot in her apartment by police who were executing a "no-knock" warrant. Since then, there have been rallying efforts both in the streets and on social media demanding justice for Taylor and keeping her name known.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments