Disclosure :: This post is not sponsored but if you (like us) are now on the hunt for Encanto figurines, stuffed animals and accessories – our partners at ShopDisney can help. Check it out HERE.
Representation Matters :: Seeing Ourselves in Disney’s Encanto
I never saw myself in any of Disney’s princesses over the years. I loved the princesses for the values and beliefs that they held but never saw my thick brown hair, big brown eyes, ethnic food, navigating similar situations that a young Latina would face nor music that is the heart and soul of a Latina family. Disney has done a great job of showcasing cultures around the world in their movies, but I never saw myself in any of them until a few weeks ago.
Encanto had been on Disney+ for a few weeks and my daughter was singing the soundtrack non-stop so I decided to sit down and watch the movie. To say that I loved the movie is an understatement, I fell in love with Encanto, the characters, the music, and most of all the storyline.
Music is a big part of our lives. We use music to celebrate accomplishments, to keep us going when cleaning our homes, and even when it’s time to grieve. From a young age, our babies love the Latin beats so much that when my little brother was a baby, he would cry when we would put on American music in the car and would not stop until we put on our Latin music.
Family can often feel like a blessing and a curse at the same time in a Latin household. The passion felt can build someone up to their highest potential or tear them down to their lowest low. Thankfully, as one family member is tearing you down, another is secretly behind them building you up. Just as the Abuela in the family is attempting to break Mirabel down, her father and mother are building her up.
Luisa sings about the pressure that the eldest daughter faces and it is spot on, Latinas are supposed to carry the burden of being strong to the point where they are the backbone of the family, not showing any weakness because the family needs them to be strong.
Your Tio will stand in harm’s way to protect you just as Maribel’s uncle Bruno tries to protect her from her Abuela. My Tios have protected me and were there for me when my parents could not be there due to life events.
Speaking of family, matching skin color is not a thing in my family. I did not realize that our skin color was different until someone pointed it out to me. To me, it was moot, no point in pointing out the differences as I love my family all the same. Some of us have curly hair, some straight, some practically transparent skin, some beautiful dark caramel color, some black hair, and some blonde, all of us beautiful in our differences. To see the Madrigal family have the same differences does my heart good; it shows the world that it is the differences that make us special.
Homemade flour tortillas that Maribel’s mom makes when her Abuela hurts her feelings are the same tortillas that my grandmother would make me when I would come home on the weekends from college. They were made from scratch and fed my heart and my soul.
Maribel reminds me so much of myself. While classmates were blossoming in high school, I did not receive my gifts until after I was married and had children. I, too, was a late bloomer. Thankfully, God waited to give me my gifts until He knew that I would appreciate them.
Representation is so important. When children and adults see themselves in characters that are on the big screen, it helps them feel like they are not alone in a world where they feel different.
To all of the Maribels in the world, keep shining your light and when the time is right, you will receive your gift.
Is Your Little One Obsessed With Encanto?
Did your child LOVE this movie? Are you singing the soundtrack non-stop? Do you want to embrace the magic in every moment? Thankfully, shopDisney can help you “shop the look.” With Valentine’s Day coming up, Encanto gear may make a fun gift!