Saturday, January 31, 2015

Disney's Latina Princess. Is she really Latina?

Disney's Latina princess
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

So this is Disney's first ever "Latina Princess", Elena of Avalor.  The first thing I noticed was that she seems to have something wrong with her eyes, they are rather large compared to the rest of her.

Nancy Kanter, an executive president of Disney Junior Worldwide, said: “What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale.”

I live and have worked in a community that includes a lot of Latino's from many countries including the US and while I am not clear on and haven't researched the definition of Latino for this blog entry, I have noticed that Latinos more often than not have some common physical characteristics.  While I was in Mexico for example I met Latino's who were quite European in their appearance and fair skinned. The ruling class in these countries also tend to be predominantly from the more European layer of society.

But the vast majority of Latinos I have known over the last 40 or so years in the US, even the white ones, have indigenous heritage and it is reflected in their physical appearance. It might be Native American, or Oaxacan in Mexico or Incan in Peru, or any of the other hundreds of indigenous groups that populate the Americas.

This image is nothing new. It could be Pocahontas, or some figure from Ali Baba or some other  figure; it's standard Disney. It's the same design, European features and slightly brown skin, and of course, ridiculous looking eyes and lipstick.

One day, if we win the good fight, we'll have an Elena of Avalor who even if a mythical figure, will actually resemble a Latina and a normal woman rather than a caricature of one designed to appeal to the the male version of beauty and who can share the, "...traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families..." with the rest of us.

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