The absence of Latina princesses– the need for representation is desperately needed but never fulfilled

Representation is extremely important, especially when we look up to characters like Disney Princesses. How can we feel like them when everyone does not look or relate to them?

Recently the entertainment industry has been doing a great job at representation. There have been a lot more movies based around the beauty of different cultures and ethnicities representing many different people. Although there is one more area where some may not feel represented. Why are there no Hispanic Princesses?

“It is vital for audiences, not only American audiences but global audiences to see that Latinos just don’t look one way,” Actress Stephanie Beatriz, known for her roles in the movies Encanto and In the Heights, said. “There are so many shades of us, and the fact that all of those shades are captured within a family unit and what a beautiful metaphor that is for Latinidad and like who we are, it is really stunning.”

Representation has become one of the most important things to have in the entertainment industry and so many more places. Not having the representation that we need as kids affect children when growing up. We constantly continue to look up to a character we may not look like that may cause us to develop certain insecurities. With Disney’s release of Encanto, many children were happy to see that a character looked like them on the screen. The Colombian family in Encanto was huge and everyone looked different. The beauty in this is that so many children were able to notice how similar they look to any one of the characters.

An example of this is seen on social media. After the release of Encanto, a picture went viral of a little boy, Kenzo Brooks, who looked just like the character Antonio. In the photo, the little boy had a big smile on his face, clearly happy to see someone who looks like him on the big screen. This is a great example of how representation makes a big impact on kids, which is why it is important to keep questioning: Why is there still not a traditional Hispanic princess?

The classic Disney princess looks like Belle from Beauty and the Beast or Ariel from The Little Mermaid. We grew up looking up to each of those great princesses, and they taught each of us valuable lessons. However, both of those characters, as well as most of the other Disney princesses, are Caucasian. Disney has made multiple princesses for several other ethnicities and has done a great job at sharing a part of their ethnic backgrounds, from characters like Mulan, Moana and Tiana. With these princesses, Disney did a great job at properly researching and portraying the culture behind each ethnic character. But this still leaves many people, like me, wishing we also had a traditional princess that looks like us to look up to. 

Having ethnic princesses is so important especially since they are marketed as girls’ role models. They show girls that no matter their ethnicity they can still be strong, fierce, and courageous. It will also encourage many girls to not give up on their dreams when they can see a woman like them achieve their goals and dreams. Having this representation would give them so much happiness and even teach others about different ethnicities and cultures. Having a diverse variety of Disney princesses would give many girls the chance to feel even more like a princess when they can see a girl who looks like them on the big screen. 

Disney has recently been doing a good job at promoting representation through their subsidiaries. Marvel has recently introduced a TV show about a Pakistani teen superhero and Pixar has recently shown Southeast Asian culture in Raya and The Last Dragon. It has been amazing that Disney is beginning to represent everyone, but there is still a lack of representation for many ethnicities, like Native Americans, Asians, etc. It was not until 2017 that they began to share Hispanic culture in their films with the movie Coco, which mainly showcased Mexican culture. Since then, aside from the 2021 film Encanto, we have been introduced to two Hispanic characters in Marvel’s Black Panther Wakanda Forever and Doctor Strange Multiverse of Madness. It is incredible to see the growth throughout the entertainment industry and how it will affect generations after us. 

With the entertainment industry continuously progressing and putting an effort into bringing forth a representation of all backgrounds and cultures, we can continue to hope that we will get a Hispanic Disney Princess soon. 

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