Since I am currently home on winter break with no homework to do or classes to attend, I have found myself having copious amounts of free time with which I should be productive by cleaning my room or filling out internship applications. But instead of that boring stuff, I decided to tackle a much larger issue -- Disney. Although I am unsure of the best way to reach the creative geniuses behind Disney, the Imagineers, I am guessing that an online letter is my best chance. If my assumptions are correct and the Imagineers do live in a secret underground bunker below the teacup ride at Disney World, I can only hope that they at least have WiFi.
Dear Disney Imagineers,
Forgive this intrusion on your creative processes, but I was hoping to take a few minutes of your time to share my thoughts with you, the movers and shakers of the animated world. As a young adult who has grown up on Disney movies, I do not underestimate the profound influence this franchise has had on my life and on the lives of others. The Disney princesses taught me to be strong, stand up for what I believe in, and sing whenever I want to. Inspired by their courage, I feel compelled to make a few suggestions to expand the royal ranks of these princesses. Please read the following to the tune of "When You Wish Upon a Star." (Just kidding. But how cool would that be?)
Imagineers, here is a question that I cannot seem to shake -- why isn't there a Hispanic Disney princess? I guess there are a lot of racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the fairytale community, and Disney is under no obligation to depict each one in cartoon. Also, I'm not even Hispanic. But I do firmly believe that every little girl should get to look up to a princess that looks like her. Come on Disney. You made a princess who looks like a cat before you made an Asian princess (I'm looking at you, Nala. Sure, you broke the feline glass ceiling, but at what cost?)
And speaking of equally opportunity animation, why not address the fact that not all little princesses are attracted to little princes? Some little princesses would rather spend their happily ever afters with other little princesses. I realize that this would be a very controversial and groundbreaking move, Imagineers. But you guys are pretty creative. You don't need to make it that explicit. Maybe after the princess slays the dragon and saves the town, she lives happily ever after with another princess in her castle upstate.
I also propose a politicization of the next princess. When the former princesses were faced with oppressive laws or rules, they just rebelled and did want they wanted. Jasmine had to marry a prince, but instead of uniting with neighboring princesses to allow the chain of inheritance to include single women, she just went ahead and married Aladdin. Cinderella was told to stay in and clean, but instead of trying to form a maid's union or lobby for improved working conditions, she just got dressed and left for the ball. When Ariel failed to meet her obligations as outlined in her legally binding contract with Ursula, instead of holding up her end of the bargain, she got her boyfriend to kill the opposing party. I'm not sure that last example really fits in here, but really Imagineers, what does that teach future entrepreneurs about business? Why not have a princess in the next film who, instead of ignoring the laws and doing what she feels like, is an inspiring character who is able to mobilize the community for positive change. How about a princess who successfully campaigns to give little maids in her kingdom equal access to education? Or what about a princess who marches on the oppressive villain's castle, and instead of killing the evil sorcerer/witch/beast/military junta that resides within, rises to power in a bloodless coup that culminates in the fair trial of said villain. Nothing says happily ever after like sentencing your enemies to prison for life before a jury of their peers.
Imagineers, there is no denying that you have a captive audience. Sure, there are those that line up at midnight to see the premiers of non-animated movies. But I am willing to bet that if you were to develop a grassroots lobbying, dragon-slaying, Latina, lesbian princess, I would not be the only one waiting in the cold for the theater to open for that masterpiece.
May all your dreams come true,
P.S. By the way, I am looking for an internship for the summer. Call me, Imagineers.