I am Queen. (2007)
Sometimes, I have nothing to say, which is very un-Cuban.
Sometimes, I force myself to say nothing, which is very American.
I have been fighting with the two sides of my brain: Shut up…or just say it?
On what? The Disgusting Nature of this Election. Well, yes. But, I am only 47% ready on that topic.
I speak of the other huge conversation going on online:
Is She or Isn’t She The First Latina Disney Princess?
The excitement, drama, debate, disappointment over whether this huge-eyed, big-headed cartoon is Finally Our Latina Princess.
Oh mama mía.
First she was, then she wasn’t. Then, she could be.
I have read the news stories — like, real news sites giving this space and time – and on blogs and on Facebook pages and Twitter.
Back and forth and back and forth.
“Hurrah!” la gente said. “Al fin!”
“She’s too white,’’ some of our people said. “Not authentic.”
Then, arguments over what an authentic Latina is.
Still, people? Really?
But Disney, after allegedly saying Sofia is Latina, said not really…but she could be.
There you go, have fun with that. Guess it is kind of like how I pretend I look like Sofia Vergara because we both speak Spanish.
“If you wish upon a star…”
What I was most thinking during the drama was this:
Am I so desperate for a Latina role model for my 8-year-old daughter that I would get so over-the-top with joy because the marketing machine at Disney decided to make a kinda-Latin Princess?
The answer: No.
I don’t need no stinking cartoon princess to teach my daughter the power of her people’s mujeres. We have real-life Queens in our lives.
- The young women I work with, a combination of American-born Hispanic-Americans and Latin American-born immigrants, who work tirelessly to improve the lives of recent immigrants in our community.
- Cred, too, to the non-Latina Americans I work with who have learned to speak fluent Spanish and value a culture and people not originally their own. (My daughter may one day identify more with them, than with me…)
- The lady down the hill whose entire family has worked their asses off to make a modest Mexican restaurant into a successful and welcoming community gathering place.
- The friends who have launched successful businesses and online communities that celebrate our culture, our food, our wacky.
- The ball-busting, hard-working women in my family, who are an example of dedication and can-do despite hardship, strife and the occassional hijo de puta. I have decades worth of stories to tell my daughter about the women who share her DNA.
Shall I continue? Because I can. But, you get the point.
My daughter knows these women. And knows their stories because she knows them in real life and because I tell her, and will tell her more as she is able to comprehend.
When Maria was a toddler, I was grateful to characters like Dora, Diego and Maya and Miguel. I told her she could speak Spanish, just like them. I have downloaded Selena Gomez music and shown her photos of the glory that is America Ferrara and Salma Hayek.
I do want my daughter to see positive reflections of herself in the popular culture. I was a child in the 1970s, when beach blonde and Farrah were in, so I get it. I didn’t want to believe that only the bimbo-culture of Sabado Gigante and screaming Telenovela stars reflected me. (I never grew up to look like them, either.)
I am invested in flesh-and-blood heroes, the kind that hug you, set you straight, offer advice and help you make memories you’ll tell your own grandchildren one day.
Not the kind who will end up in the DVD bargain bin.
Favorite post on the whole Latin Disney Princess thing.