opinion   |   column

Racial representation



princesses

Disney has revealed their new princess, Moana, from the Pacific Islands. We thought we'd take a look at how Disney diversity stacks up. Be sure to head to our IDS Multimedia page to listen to our podcast about Disney and Moana.

Pocahontas

Disney released “Pocahontas” in 1995, creating the company’s first official American princess. Pocahontas was Disney’s second princess of color, coming in behind Princess Jasmine in “Aladdin,” which was released in 1992.

Pocahontas was known for her strong mind and free-spirited personality. She was one of the first princesses to save her “prince,” and she stopped a battle because Pocahontas is an independent lady who don’t need no “true love’s first kiss.” She’s got riverbeds to explore and colors of the wind to paint with.

How would Pocahontas be represented on IU’s campus? As of this semester, American Indians make up 0.1 percent of IU’s total degree-seeking population, according to University Institutional Research and Reporting.

Mulan

“Mulan” changed the Disney princess lineup in 1998 and brought a whole new meaning to rebellion. Yeah, Cinderella might have snuck out to attend the ball, but Mulan snuck out and went to war.

Mulan wasn’t just brave, she was smart. After all it takes a little more than sheer courage to save all of China from invasion. Mulan also wasn’t up for any misogyny from her commanders.

If they had a problem with her having boobs, fine, she would save China on her own.

Mulan reflects 4.4 percent of the IU population.

Tiana

“The Princess and the Frog” made headlines in 2009 as the first Disney film with a black princess.

Tiana was just your average girl with a dream to open a restaurant in New Orleans. She was determined and hard-working to a fault. Tiana’s never even thought of the word “procrastination.”

Another ground-breaking aspect of “The Princess and the Frog” was Prince Navine also being a man of color, making the two the first multiracial Disney couple. You could drown in the amount of racial progress in that film set roughly around the time of the Civil Rights Movement.

African Americans make up 3.9 percent of IU’s population this semester. We’d like to say IU is almost there, but really, IU could use a voodoo doctor at this point to bring in some diversity. Tiana knows a guy.

Merida

“Brave” was a big deal in 2012 because Merida was Pixar’s first princess. Also, that hair. The wonderful, unruly, red hair.

Merida was a princess who didn’t want to be a princess. Balls and fancy dresses just weren’t for her. She was much happier being left to ride through the Scottish highlands on her trusty steed while shooting arrows.

Merida wasn’t looking for love, going to great lengths to avoid it, and was the first princess to end her tale love-free.

Merida would be tossed in IU’s white population, which would also include Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Belle, Elsa and Anna. They’re just a little trickier to place. All in all, 68.6 percent of IU’s population is white, so these ladies would feel right at home.

Moana

Ah, the new girl.

Moana is scheduled to release in 2016 and will star Disney’s first Pacific Islander princess.

No one but the creators know what Moana will look like or what her personality will be. But from the description on IMDb, it looks like we’ll have another adventurer on ?our hands.

On IU’s campus, Moana would represent less than 1 percent of the population.

That’s not to say there are no Pacific Islanders at IU, just that there are so few that they are not depicted in the UIRR numbers.

Here’s hoping the future sees more diversity for all these strong women.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in Opinion



Comments powered by Disqus