We are just back from Disneyland! We had a wonderful time as usual. We got to experience new things and old things in new ways. The Princess has a new autograph book that she has designed and painted herself, so we spent some significant time waiting in line for characters, including going through the Royal Hall twice! We debated whether or not to stand in the line the second time, but we heard a rumor that Snow White was there, so we headed in.
A half hour later, we did get to meet Snow White, but we were shocked when we also got to meet Mulan! We absolutely LOVE Mulan and in all the years we have been going we have only seen her once. She is amazing. We had a great time chatting with her and she even invited us to join the Chinese Army with her. We told her we were ready. And that wasn’t even the best part!
The best part was when a little girl a few families behind us entered the room. She was dressed as Merida and had her autograph book ready. She saw who was in the room and her face lit up. “It’s Mulan! I’ve NEVER seen Mulan!” She was so excited she was bouncing and she had a hard time waiting for her turn. This little girl was Asian-American and the Princess she was about to meet for the first time looked like her. It was a beautiful thing.
There has been a lot of talk about the Princesses and their lack of diversity. They represent a certain body type and level of beauty. They are all heteronormative and are 70% white (of the 4 princesses of color, only two can regularly been seen at character experiences in the parks). And while I have agreed with the argument that the Princess Pantheon should be more reflective of our culture, I don’t think I really understood it until I saw that little girl’s face. Meeting Mulan wasn’t just another character moment for her. It was an experience that showed her that the category of princess included her. It warmed my heart.
So, bring it on, Disney! Let’s open those ranks. More princesses of color! Princesses who are differently abled! Royals that are gender fluid! We can take it. It might be weird to start off, but we will adapt. It is worth it if every child in the Princess line has the possibility to meet a Princess who is like them. It is worth it if every child has a moment to realize that they too can be a Princess.