It seems Disney has finally included a princess of Latin descent, Elena of Avalor, into their arsenal of royalty. Seems like a dream come true for Latina girls everywhere after years of unrelatable princesses. While this is certainly only a business move on Disney’s part due to the rise in population of Latin Americans in the United States, we’ve seen time and time again how important representation of different cultures is in the media. So it’s a big win for everybody, right?
That would be true if not for Disney’s vague and unassured statement about the girl. She is described as being a, “confident and compassionate” teenager who lives in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by “diverse Latin cultures and folklore”. So what is she? Mexican? Cuban? Chilean? This statement is extremely problematic because it effectively lumps all Latin cultures together and wipes out individual nationalities. This is not only borderline racist but will also become an important issue when children following the adventures of Elena begin to lose a sense of their individual culture.
While it is true that Disney has a wide audience to reach, it is more important that nationalities are not washed out with a convenient, all consuming word. This description also insinuates that Elena will be the only Latina princess amongst a vast population of girls of mainly European descent. If Disney can create multiple stories about Germany, France, England, Ireland, and Greece, why should there only be one to represent all of Latin America?
Posted by Sophie Terry