As a child for Halloween, I wanted to be my favorite princess, Ariel. When I told my friends my dreams of being the beautiful mermaid, I was told that my complexion was not light enough to be her. They suggested I dress up as someone I resembled more, Pocahontas or Jasmine, the only Disney princesses at the time that did not have a white skin tone.
That is when I realized the simple facts: there were no Disney princesses that looked like me.
Fast forward to 2016, when news came out that Disney was releasing a Latina princess, Elena of Avalor. But there was one catch, Elena was not going to be a movie and widely spread like others princesses in the Disney franchise. She was going to be an exclusive to Disney’s kids channel, Disney Junior.
The Problem with Elena of Avalor
Within the kid’s television show, there are many issues I have with the story. One is that the only Latina princess has the least representation. I found it a bit strange that the culture the lacks the most recognition is the only one that is not a true Disney princess.
When referring to a ‘true’ Disney princess, the first thing to qualify that princess is that they have their own film. Another qualification would be that others would know and consider them an official Disney princess. While looking up official Disney princesses, not one list mentioned Elena of Avalor.
Another issue was that the location is not specific like other princesses. Other cultural princesses like Pocahontas, Jasmine, and Mulan all had there locations based in real countries. Mulan was from China in the Sui Dynasty and Jasmine, although based in the fictional city Agrabah, was based in the Middle East.
Avalor is a fictional city like Agrbah, but the issue is the location. On the Disney Wiki Fandom page of Elena of Avalor, it says the location is based on Latin America, not in Latin America. Although this seems like a small detail, it is strange that Elena would not be based in her country of origin, unlike other cultural princesses.
Disney’s lack of cultural representation
It is no surprise that Disney has had a lack of diversity in their cartoons and movies. The Walt Disney Company was started on Oct 16, 1923 and its first princess movie, Snow White, was released in February 1952. Not until 40 years later was Disney’s first princess of color, Jasmine, was announced in the movie “Aladdin”.
Other non white princess followed soon after, with Pocahontas (1995), Mulan (1998), and Tiana (2009). But when the 4 cultural princesses were put out they stopped with the diversity, reverting right back to white princesses with Rapunzel (2010) and Merida (2012).
Some people are still upset to this day about the lack of Latin culture in Disney films. After the plans for a live action remake of “The Little Mermaid”, many angry people were tweeting out at Disney.
FYI Disney does not have a movie about a Latina princess. Most races already have a Disney princess that looks like them but Latinas don’t. Let’s focus on Latina representation before remaking original animated movies into live action movies.Tera (@tespinosa21 on Twitter)
Although Disney has not responded, this has not stopped people from trying to reach out to get someone started on this concept of more Latin representation. Most likely, Disney will not come out with a Latina Disney princess.
Although Disney’s representation has been growing recently, with the addition of LGBTQ+ and biracial characters in television shows and movies, the likeliness of adding a Latina princess is far to known. Disney sees their sad excuse of a princess, Elena of Avalor, as enough, which we can tell by their ignoring of the people speaking up about more representation.