If You're An Older Sibling and You Haven't Seen 'Encanto' Yet, This Song Will Be The Reason You Do
If you're one of the oldest of a big family, you need to hear this song.
"Give it to your sister, it doesn't hurt, and / see if she can handle every family burden / Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks / No mistakes."
Those are the lyrics, written by Lin Manuel-Miranda and sung by Jessica Darrow, that have gone viral on Tiktok in the month or so since the release of Disney's latest animated musical film, Encanto, the story of a family who suddenly loses their magical powers, and has to depend on the only child who never had them to get them back and save them all.
The song details the pressures of being an older or eldest sibling, or "the strong one," taking on and shielding your younger siblings and family members from the tensions and conflict that every family naturally has (but some families have far more of).
This is a struggle that many, many Tiktokkers can apparently relate to, because there are now well over 8,000 videos on the app that use the sound bite.
@.julia_rose oldest sisters assemble? #encanto #oldestsister #oldersibling #mentalhealth #MacysGiftTok #SpotifyWrapped #AmazonMusicJingleBellTok #bodyneutrality ♬ just eldest daughter and family therapist things - persephone ⚢
@lilywegerbauer Reply to @hailey_171 ##DisneyPlusVoices ♬ Surface Pressure - Jessica Darrow
@rightstarcoslin manuel miranda was wrong for making this song… ♬ Surface Pressure - Jessica Darrow
Like the movie itself, the song is an exploration of the roles we play, in our families and in our world, and how those roles can become suffocatingly restrictive, even when they are played willingly, if they are taken for granted.
It's a known phenomenon that family members will tend to lean on one stable, responsible sibling to carry the weight of responsibility for the emotional lives of the others. There are many examples of ways this could happen, but one of the most common is one child - often the eldest sister, but not always - becoming her mother's go-to person to vent to, creating conflict by burdening the child with parental responsibility.
In other words, sometimes, in bigger families, one of the siblings ends up being the second mom, and those siblings are now speaking out to say "Hey! We deserve support!"
If you want to see exactly the support Lousia gets after this, you should definitely watch Encanto - now available on Disney+. (And if you too want to give certain family members a hint, why not suggest a fun family movie night?)