Thanksgiving is a time for turkey, family and football, but this year there will be something new to get excited about: princesses.
That’s right, Disney will be releasing its latest princess movie Thanksgiving which will come complete with not one, but two princesses: Anna and Elsa, Norwegian sisters set to star in Disney’s new film, “Frozen.”
But it’s not the fact that this movie is going to be a double princess special that’s already making news. It’s the fact that these two new royal ladies are white, making the ratio of white princesses to non-white princesses 9 — 4.
Many people have begun questioning whether race should be an issue at all and there are many arguments supporting both sides.
One common argument for why there aren’t many princesses of color is that most of these stories originated in various parts of Europe and were probably written with a white protagonist in mind, and that Disney should stick to the original stories’ origins.
All I can say to this argument is get real.
When has Disney ever taken issue with changing the original fairytales to fit what they want? In the original Rapunzel, her hero is pushed out of the tower and lands on a bush of thorns, blinding himself and is then stuck wandering the forest until Rapunzel and their twin sons find him years later but you didn’t see that plot line in “Tangled” did you?
I am also sure that everyone is aware that “Princess and the Frog” was not a fairytale that originated in New Orleans in the 20s.
However, other arguments are more valid.
Many of these stories are set in the past in places, which probably didn’t see many people of color in affluent positions and in places where it would probably be very difficult to explain why a person of color is a princess or of an equivalent rank.
Doing so would also be overlooking an entire race’s history by ignoring how they would probably have been treated at the time. Attempting to squeeze characters into places where they wouldn’t fit is just as bad as not having them there at all.
Many people also think Disney seems to have the distorted mentality that once you create one princess of color, you can call it a day and go back to your regularly scheduled Caucasian royalty.
That isn’t the way it should be at all.
Just because you have one black, Asian or Native American princess does not mean that you can never have another one. If Disney lived by that mentality we wouldn’t have had another princess after Snow White until Jasmine.
In the end, both sides of the argument have very valid points. It seems silly, however, to force Disney to only create princesses of color until the ratio is equal.
Princesses are more than just the color of their skin. Merida from “Brave” was a white princess, but her story created one of Disney/Pixar’s first solid storylines about a mother/daughter relationship, something that isn’t confined to race and speaks to everyone.
Disney should continue to create strong characters that everyone can relate to regardless of race, but they should also keep in mind how important representation is and that stories can come from, and take place in, other than Europe.