Disney rolled out its initial wave of images and video for their first animated team-up with Marvel this week. Audiences got to meet teenage robotics geek Hiro and his nurse robot Baymax. But while we were all understandably squealing over the most lovable mechanical sidekick since the Iron Giant – because oh my God go listen to the adorable squeak noises it makes when it walks! – we missed something. Disney is playing the pronoun game.
Everywhere you turn, press release after press release, the robot is referred to only as Baymax. Never as he. Yes you could argue of course it's a dude – as far as sexless lumps of polyurethane can be gendered – because dude is default, duh. But excuse me for pointing out that mech suit has kitten ears on it. KITTEN EARS.
While the original Baymax was a substitute for Hiro's father, I posit this new Baymax is a robot mom. And no, not because she's a nurse. Consider the following.
1. Her obvious annoyance at the state of the lab.
This is clearly the face of a put-upon mother who has told her child no less than fifty times today to stop creating armor for his Power Rangers LARP and clean up their room already. That is the slow blink of exasperation. The 3D printer is not a toy, Hiro!
2. Her passive-aggressive attempts to get Hiro to clean.
Look how cute she is, chasing that soccer ball off screen with her little squeak, squeak feet! Except she's not chasing it. This is a classic mom move. She knows if she gets in the way just enough, is just loud enough, is just inept enough, the adolescent will shake off their procrastination in a surge of embarrassment. With an over-dramatic sigh they will then become a begrudgingly useful member of the herd.
3. Her patient and tolerant love.
Maybe Baymax doesn't understand why Hiro is so obsessed with armor for her, but she loves and supports him. Only a mother would put up with this degrading but well-meaning attempt to turn her into something more palatable to her teen's friend group. And hey, when your son basically says, “Hey mom, don this armor. Okay now hold this laser. Mom, check out this wicked cool helmet I made for you!” you buckle down and rock that red and purple outfit to go drop him off at the mall.
4. She's wearing Spanx.
Just trust me. Any woman – or man because hey no judgment – who has worn these torturous modern day corsets saw a kindred soul here. This is a pretty accurate visualization of what squeezing into constricting shape wear looks and feels like. No wonder it pops right off. How are you supposed to eat or sit or breathe in those things??
5. She knows how to strike a pose.
FIERCE AS HELL. And yet, also poised and dainty. You go Baymax, get it.
So what do you guys think? Is Disney playing the pronoun game to throw us off the scent of Hiro and Baymax's relationship?