Princess Elena of Avalor. Many people are already crying out for her, loving her, loving her for the diversity she brings to the DP line...
And I just don't see the fuss.
Don't get me wrong, I do want proper representation (yes, i do, actually, even though the most cynical of you won't believe it). What I don't want is tokenism, a character that has no personality beyond what is defined for them- their skin color/sexuality/etc. It's like if Disney made a fat princess whom her whole personality revolved around food, or a bisexual princess who went around having crushes on everybody and being described as "loose" (I do not have the negative thoughts concerning bisexual people yet i see so many folks hating on them for not "Picking" a side *roll eyes*).
And yet, this is what we're having with Elena. She seems to have no personality beyond being a "strong female character who need no man" and a spicy latina who does all the stereotypically "latino" (or what America perceives to be) things: play the guitar, speak in Spanglish, be fiesty and opinionated and sassy, have a large family...
I don't mind the guitar, since I play it and I think it's rather cool to have a princess who plays an instrument, but it is rather stereotypical to have latinos/hispanics playing guitar.
Yet, I'm just not liking her. I don't like that her kingdom doesn't represent an specific culture, but it's just this bizarre latino melting pot that's supposed to "please" every latino out there (sure, because Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Colombia, etc etc ALL have the same history and culture. Uh-huh). Like, i'm sure if Mulan had been made to portray all asian cultures instead of just China, there would've been a riot.
I don't like that she speaks Spanglish (personal thing but i always found it off-putting, even as studying languages and so. it's one thing to rely on your birth tongue for specific names you can't recall on your target language, but to so casually mix them up and act so condescending about i).
I don't care about her extended family (though i guess it plays on both a stereotype but also something of the culture- many latinos are very old-fashioned/traditional in certain aspects and value greatly the concept of family and blood relations). Though I mean, could be worse. she could've gotten a rotten gang family and forced to live off the streets
i don't like the fact that she is a latina PRINCESS. There were never "princesses" in the european fashion in South American history (especially after the Conquest, no royalty anywhere!). They could've been smarter had they made her something ala Moana or Poca, a native meso-american princess (which was something that could happen, the daughter of the Inca/emperor could be considered a "princess" of sorts and it could be very valid and plausible). But no! Instead we get Colonized!Latin America as a setting which throws all plausibility out the window (i don't even get why American-latinos like so much this time of history, it's like they have a fetish with it- Zorro, the Book of Life). It's like a slap in the face for anything that could be true and honest.
And last I heard, she'll be another princess without a love interest, instead she'll be promoted as being this "strong and independent" character who need no man. I don't mind single princesses (Merida is my girl, and despite me shipping her with Little McGuffin I like that she ended up single, and Elsa single is a nice touch too), it's just that I'm tired of the media (and Disney too) always portraying latina/WOC girls as always being these "strong and independent" girls who need no help of a dirty man or icky romance. It's like dumb romance is only reserved for stupid white girls or something.
And that is a slap in the face again for most latino girls. Most girls like romance, most little latina girls like romance, why can't they have their own Belle in BATB movie, where there's magic and romance and all that stuff? It's like Disney always tries to portray WOC in films where they are less "girlier" and less-romance focused, seems like a big fuck you to all the little POC girls that want fantasy and magic over war and death and depression (Hunchback, Pocahontas, Mulan, Atlantis, Lilo and Stitch). Only Tiana and Jasmine are the only princesses that get caught up in romantic girly adventures.
There's nothing wrong with being a tomboy or giving messages about racism and war in films, but there's also nothing wrong with being girly and fantastical, especially for non-white women who have often in media been relegated to take a more "masculine" and serious role while white female characters are often allowed to be the more feminine and whimsical of the two. Why can't black or asian girls be caught up in a magical romance with frilly dresses and cute animals?
I admit, I am hispanic/latina, yet I have very little in common with Elena and more with the very white Belle. You could say I have a problem, but this just stems from the fact that latina women in media are never represented in a way that i like. They're either all poor women living as prostitutes in terrible conditions or as maids, or are these spicy sexy seductress with fiesty attitudes who need no dirty man to help them (Maria from the Book of Life, Elena, Sofía Vergara (this bitch went and insulted Peru and people expect her to represent ALL latinos...Lol!)). They're either horrible stereotypes or annoying characters (Malina...UGH). The only characters of my ethnicity that I've come to like are the folks from Emperor's New Groove and two little characters from french media. They're young kids, shy and quiet and often in the role of kids in distress, but I can't help liking them! They're just sweet in the way they act.
It's like we can't have romantic latinas. Cute latinas. Shy latinas. Latinas who depend on others. Latinas who excel in academics. Latinas who don't have a loving family but don't end up as prostitutes or the like. Where's my latina Belle, my latina Elsa, my latina Amalthea, my latina Harley Quinn, my latina Scarlet Witch? It's like we can't have variety, and when we do, people bitch about it about the character not being a "proper" latino (Kuzco, Honey Lemon).
It's like people expect latinos to all lack an education, deal with drugs and gangs and prostitution, be poor as fuck, get pregnant at 16 (cause they be horny as fuck but nobody is responsible or buys condoms and church abolishes abortion), and have a buttload of kids. It's the sad reality, folks.
And it really hurts when people openly say to your face that you're not/don't look "latino" enough, because of your looks or how you behave/the things you like. and often other latinos have talked to me this way, so don't think this is just something one race does.
And yet, almost every latino on the Internet seems to love her, but I'm the only one who sees all the faults in her. I'm just confounded more people don't notice how much of a fucking stereotype she is.
At this point I was expecting the latina princess to be something cool, but if she's just some random token and people are easily fooled by it due to wanting to appear progressive (not that they care about actual latinos, they just want to seem like good people to others), that's all right. Initially a long time ago I also wanted an Irish Princess and a Japanese Princess that her story would've been this epic romantic drama with a cute prince and youkais set in the Edo period, but seeing where Disney is going nowadays i'll just have to settle with one boring ass road trip as she goes around exclaiming how she's better than anyone because she doesn't need icky dresses or romance in her life.
And another thing! I dislike this thought that goes around that you should like the character who represents your race on that basis, and if you don't you're a self-racist douche. NO, NO and NO. if you dislike a character you're perfectly entitled to, either you find them bland or annoying or a stereotype, you shouldn't put up with a character who you feel misrepresents you just to seem "Progressive" to other people. If they accuse you of racist for not liking characters of your race, fuck them. I'm not gonna put up or start liking miss Elena just so some internet nutty girl cries of me being racist against my own race and that i should appreciate "my diversity".
It's like if i want good latino characters, i should just stick to latino media (books mostly). i can't rely on foreign media to positively portray my country or my culture.