Imagine as a kid going up to your Latina mom or grandma and asking them to skip chores so you can play video games or demanding to eat an ice cream sundae for breakfast. A request like that might call for an extra two scoops of migas that morning and a slap across the back of the head.
But what if you asked on “Yes Day,” a specific day once a year reserved for kids to ask for silly things that parents must say “yes” to? Can we make mudpies in the backyard? Yes. Can we stay up till the sun rises? Yes. Can we go to the toy store and buy the newest Star Wars action figures? Yes.
The idea for “Yes Day” originated in the 2009 children’s book of the same name by author Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The story encourages the concept of giving kids what they want for 24 hours, with limitations (no puppy purchases or breaking laws, for example). The book has now been adapted into a feature film starring Jennifer Garner (Peppermint), who has embraced the idea of “Yes Day” in real life with her kids.
Although the film Yes Day also stars Venezuelan actor Edgar Ramirez (Point Break) and is directed by Puerto Rican filmmaker Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner), the idea of spoiling your kids for one entire day—even as a gimmicky new holiday—doesn’t seem like something most Latino families would do. It screams privilege no matter which way you look at it.
In the movie’s trailer, the kids are the ones that introduce the idea to their parents because they don’t think they are “fun” anymore. So, they huddle up and embark on a day-long adventure that includes parachuting out of an airplane and going through a carwash with the windows down.
“I hear myself with the kids and think, ‘I wouldn’t even want to hang out with me,’” Garner’s character says as she justifies the idea of letting her kids call her a boring mom. “Aquí mando yo,” is the response most Latina moms would give if their kids tried to make the rules, even for a day.
“Yes Day” is just another way to let kids think they are entitled to something. Kids have enough days during the year—their birthday, Christmas, other holidays and special occasions—to ask for things. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with giving your kids something they want “just because.” But devoting an entire day to it when some families are struggling to put three meals a day on the table or pay the rent? According to Census Bureau data, almost four in 10 Black and Latino households with children are struggling to feed their families during the pandemic. That’s reason enough to give “Yes Day” a big “no.”
Yes Day premieres on Netflix March 12.