Princess Diversity

Disney’s first few princesses (up until 1992) were all Caucasian (Snow white, Cinderella,Aurora, Belle, Ariel) but since then there has been quite a bit of diversity in Disney films among their princesses.

Jasmine (1992) Middle Eastern
Jasmine (1992) Middle Eastern
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Pocahontas (1995) Native American
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Mulan (1998) Asian
Tiana (2009) African American
Tiana (2009) African American

Since Tiana there hasn’t been much diversity (ethnicity wise) in the films, Repunzel, Merida and Anna all being Caucasian however they fit the story so it wasn’t as though Disney was “white-washing” which they had been accused of in the past.

Now the reason this post was actually made, Disney has announced it’s first Latina princesses who will be having her own television show for children after she premieres on Sofia the First.

imageedit_1_2989651747Elena will Premiere in 2016 in an episode of Disney Juniors television program Sofia the First, which will lead into her own spin-off series Elena of Avalor. Many Latina women have voiced their opinions on the subject & all seem positive from what I have seen. Michelle Herrera Mulligan, editor in chief of Cosmopolitan for Latinas raved “Having a princess/role model who looks like them is a huge step forward for girls’ self-perception everywhere. Most Latinas have darker skin tones, so Elena is very welcome!” There is still criticism about the “perfect” look of the princesses however, the cultural and ethnic diversity is something to be celebrated.

So tell me what you think, is Disney doing a good job at diversifying their princesses?

10 thoughts on “Princess Diversity”

  1. Disney was doing a good job at diversifying even in the beginning. Snow White is German, Cinderella and Belle are both French and The Little Mermaid is based off of Danish folklore. Since then we’ve seen Merida who is Scottish and even before Tiana we we had African folk tales represented by the Lion King. Even most recently, Frozen is largely based of Norwegian cultures, architecture and so forth. I’d say since day one, the company has done a good job, people just don’t like to do their research.

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    1. yes as far as different nationalities it has always been great, the big deal is the physically visual aspects because that is what the majority of the general population notices.

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      1. Yes. I would definitely agree with the general consensus that people are more concerned with the actual color of the skin. But then, the issue really isn’t diversity at that point because disney has proven to be very good at providing diverse storylines. It comes down to the literal color of the skin regardless of geographic location. Still, very interesting read – I enjoyed your post. πŸ™‚

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      2. thanks, I’m doing like a month long series on diversity amongst the princesses, so next week’s will be more along the lines of what you are saying about nationality and such.

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    2. Actually, The Lion King is based on an anime (Japanese animation) called Kimba the White Lion, and, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. There isn’t really a folktale that coincides (even with the “Disney Magic”). Research shows that it’s not from an African folk tale. Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―

      Also, there aren’t any people in the movie…so I’m not sure how that would be considered representation.

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  2. I’ve written a post on the same topic, have a look πŸ™‚ I think Disney have a good range of races/nationalities with their princesses but they have absolutely no diversity in other areas-why are they all exactly the same body shape?!?

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  3. I think you have a great blog post here (I was doing some random blog hopping) and I LOVED when you said: “the cultural and ethnic diversity is something to be celebrated.” I agree! I think that if we were too look a little more critically though, saying that one Asian princess, one African princess (no, Nala does not count…she’s a talking lioness, and not the anthropomorphic kind), and one Middle Eastern princess–out of 14 total– we might see that this doesn’t necessarily show that Disney represents the diversity…yet! I believe Disney is trying to change that, which makes me uber happy!

    Also, Grimm’s fairytales, all bare similarities to other folk tales from other countries. For instance, Frozen easily could have had a Japanese cast of characters as Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, bares some semblance to the Yuki-onna tale. Stories often made their way by word of mouth (books were for the rich for a VERY long time), so,–like in the game Telephone–many details changed as the stories traveled. Which plays into why the alleged “white washing” is disturbing. History shows that in Europe, there were People of Color (POC) and so the fact that Disney often attempts to omit this (via the complete lack of POC crowd scenes and/or supporting characters) is in a way, jarring. Also, it’s not technically “white washing”…it’s more “exclusively white” I would say, as “white washing” is something else. But I am glad they seemed to have changed that as well, starting with the new live action Cinderella! πŸ˜€

    That is what makes me most excited for our time! We the fangirls (you, me, all of us) are able to have our voices heard unlike any other generation! Via twitter we can question Disney’s decisions (as we should), and, tell them what we want (we are after all their consumers). I can’t wait to read the rest of your series and check out more of your blog! πŸ™‚ I loved that you wanted to see the Disney princesses from someone else’s POV.

    Cheers! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks I’m glad you liked it. I agree there is omitting of other ethnicities in the films I’m also very glad they seem go be changing things , they’re doing it slowly but at least they’re doing it

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