Rudolph stirring up controversy.

Rachel Jarvis, Contributor

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The Christmas classic, Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, has been stirring up quite a commotion. Everyone knows, by the movie and the song, that poor Rudolph was never allowed to join any reindeer games, but no one has ever really thought twice about it; it was just the way the story went.

A deeper look into the story shows that Rudolf was bullied, neglected, and verbally abused by his father. Rudolph definitely went through some hard trials before Santa finally said maybe this one could be useful. For one, his peers always made fun of his nose saying it was like a light bulb, how it glowed, but at home, things were also bad. Rudolph’s father, Donner, also verbally abused him to try to get him to “fit in.” He forced Rudolph to wear a fake nose to try to fit in with the rest of the reindeer despite Rudolph telling him it was very uncomfortable. Donner said to that, “There are more important things than comfort: self-respect. Santa can’t object to you now.”

Even only seconds after he was born Donner was saying how he would never make the sled team and that he could not overlook his glowing nose. It was the teacher, Comet, that established the rule of not allowing Rudolph to play the games with the other reindeer. He told Rudolph not to come back and to go home. As a teacher, it should be his job to protect the yearlings, not take the sides of the bullies. He not only took the sides of the bullies, but he encouraged it.

It also shows that Rudolph was not appreciated until he was of use. Santa and all of the reindeer never thought of him as anything other than a misfit until he could be useful for certain things. Even Santa made some incredibly rude comments about his nose. For a man that is supposed to keep track of all of the naughty and nice children, he certainly cannot keep track of bullying in his own yard, and he cannot even keep his own behavior in check. He said to Donner, “Donner you should be ashamed of yourself.” He also constantly argued with his wife and he never gave her any credit to the things she does. He told Donner that he would not be allowed on the sled team with his nose and discriminated him continuously.

Viewers also caught some sexism in the movie. This was when Rudolph ran away and Donner told Mrs. Donner “This is a man’s work.” Also, the girls were not allowed to attend school. The narration has also said, “Well, they are all very sad at the Loss of their friend, but they realize that the best thing to do… is to get the women back to Christmas Town.”

Another conundrum was the elves, mostly Hermey. Hermey was forced to work overtime and was yelled at for not wanting to make toys. He was shunned and yelled at for wanting to be a dentist. He was told several times that he would never fit in no matter how hard he tried. In the end, he was able to open us a dentistry office, but it was a very reluctant give-in.

Of course, the movie premiered in 1964 so a lot of things that were okay then are definitely not okay now, And it was an old movie so not all of the acting and transitions were the best. A lot of the original actors lashed out saying that all of the characters learned their lessons and that you can find things to criticize in any situation if you look hard enough. So, for now, it is up to the viewers to decide whether they let their children watch this Christmas special.


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