This Is Why Pixar’s Asian-Focused Short ‘Bao’ Has White People Scratching Their Heads

2 min


Recently, many people online were talking about their experiences when going to see “Incredibles 2” in theaters.

While the movie was incredible (haha, see what I did there), many people were confused by a short film by Pixar that played before the movie. The film, “Bao,” focused on a Chinese-Canadian mother who gets another chance at being a parent when a dumpling comes to life.

While the film was adorable, many viewers were hella confused by the way it ended. Apparently, the mother gets into an argument with the dumpling who tries to “leave home” and decides to eat it. Not understanding why a mother would want to eat their “child,” people were like…wut?

Domme Shi, the director of “Bao,” said that the film’s inspiration comes from her own experiences with her Chinese mother.

“Growing up I was that overprotected little dumpling for my Chinese mom. I was always so frustrated about being so coddled and overprotected and smothered by my mom. I never really understood why she did it.”

Yet, people on Twitter still expressed their sincere confusion of the short film, wondering WTF it all meant.

But many people on Twitter completely understood the message, calling those who couldn’t grasp the metaphor “ignorant” and biased. Additionally, many who grew up with Asian parents resonated with the film’s message.

https://twitter.com/_asapn8/status/1008392316258639875

https://twitter.com/revolocities/status/1011833967866073088

https://twitter.com/larryluk/status/1011039405774200835

As someone who is white, I completely understood the message of Bao and it did tug on my heartstrings. I’m the baby of a family of three and moved out of my mom’s house last year–I know firsthand how much my mom felt “empty nest syndrome” and, how much she wanted to keep me close (I still get breakfast with her once a week). So, I don’t necessarily agree that it was made for one specific culture in mind–I believe all mothers are capable and do experience the sadness when their children grow up and move away. However, I do agree that acting as though it’s “dumb” or “confusing” is an ignorance of “this isn’t ‘normal’ to me, so I’m just going to call it stupid.”

Do better, y’all.

 

 


Lex Gabrielle

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