Equal representation for latinas!
Snow White. Cinderella. Mulan. Tiana. Moana. Pretty much every ethnicity has a Disney princess of their own, one that they can see themselves in on the screen.
Except for Latinas.
Disney made some good headway with Coco, and made waves with the first trailer for their upcoming Columbian-themed movie Encanto, but there still is no Latina princess among it’s ranks. Latinos (or Latinx) make up one of the largest demographics in the Western Hemisphere. In order to fill this obvious need for representation, we have decided to scour the earth for infamous Latinas in folklore and mythology, and bring them all under one roof, for a Bachelor-style faceoff. Who will be the first latina Disney princess?
Our contenders for the first Disney latina princess are:
- La Llorona
- Santa Muerte
- La Adelita
- Orco Mamman
- La Pobre Viejecita
- La Bolefuego
The story of a beautiful girl who just wanted to become a star (in the literal sense.) The story of Naia hails from the Tupi-Guarani, who were an indigenous people from Brazil. She wished to implore Jaci, the moon goddess, to turn her into a star, because Jaci took girls with her behind the mountain, to turn them into stars. She was warned that she would lose her blood and her flesh, but she didn’t care.
Every evening she roamed the mountains, seeking the moon to ask of it her favor. One night she saw the moon reflected in the waters of a lake, and in her desperation she dove into the water, trying to hug the moon until she drowned. Jaci turned her into a star, to reward her for her loyalty and sacrifice. She became the Victoria Amazonica plant, the ‘star of the waters.’
La Adelita isn’t a person, so much as she is an ideal. She is a representative of female Mexican warriors, and much like Rosie the Riveter in the United States, became a symbol for females to take action and draw inspiration from. The Adelita is an inspiration for all Mexican women who fight for their rights. The name is derived from the Mexican balled ‘La Adelita,’ a celebration of the brave women who joined the fight during the Mesican revolution.
According to the song, Adelita was a woman who joined the Maderistas movement. She was well-respected, by the sergeant and even by the colonel.
Also known as ‘the Weeping Woman,’ and the subject of a spectacular horror film by Guillermo Del Toro. Once the wife of a wealthy ranch owner, she drowned her own children in a fit of rage after seeing her husband with another woman. She tries to save them when she realizes what she had done, but it was too late. Driven mad with sadness and guilt, she drowned herself as well, but was denied entry into the afterlife without her children.
Trapped between the living world and the afterlife, La Llarona dwells around waterfront areas, eternally tormented with guilt for what she has done, and unable to find peace as a result. Hispanic children everywhere are warned by their families not to wander off, lest they earn a watery grave at the hands of La Llarona.
Known also as Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte, or ‘Our Lady of the Holy Death,’ Santa Muerte is the personification of death itself. She is highly regarded in groups of people that practice Folk-Catholicism, or neo-Paganism. As well as death, she is also oftentimes associated with protection, and is charged with escorting departed souls safely to the afterlife upon their death.
Much like the western personification of Death, she usually wears a long robe, and oftentimes wields a scythe. Her cult has gained a bigger, more steady following since the year 2000, much to the chagrin of the Catholic church.
A goddess of the moon, revered by some of the Maya people. Also queen of the night, she is sometimes associated with the Underworld, and with sickness. Along with Tohil and Jacawitz, the three of them make up the trinity of gods sometimes simply referred to as the Tohil.
The Aztec goddess of water, her name means ‘she of the jade skirt.’ Much like Poseidon, she is also worshipped in connection to nautical navigation, prayed to by Aztec sailors for blessings of a safe journey. Also charged with the protection of newborns and childbirth, many mothers prayed to her to see them safely through their ordeal, and to make their newborn children healthy.
Chalchiuhtlicue is a benevolent goddess (for the most part,) and lives in the mountains, and releases her water in the form of rain when she deems it necessary to do so. According to Aztec mythology, the mountains themselves are like big jars of water.
The gist of this take is similar to that of the Sirens from Greek folklore. According to the Brazilian folklore from which she hails, Iara was a beautiful woman living in a male-dominated society, who had a talent for warfare. She pulled respect and admiration from many, including her own father, who happened to be the tribe’s chief.
Her brothers, however, grew jealous of the positive attention she was getting from their father, and so they murdered her one night…at least, they tried to. Legend has it that she didn’t just defend herself, but she did so so effectively that she killed them by accident. Iara fled and hid in the woods, but was captured and put to death by being drowned in the river. She was turned into a mermaid and decided to take revenge on all men, by seducing them into the water and drowning them.
Common in Hispanic, and especially in Columbian folklore, Patasola means ‘one foot.’ This story has no clear origin, or beginning, but rather separate tales all resulting in the same thing. But it’s believed that the legend of Patasola comes originally from vampire legend.
The tall-tale of Patasola warns of a beautiful woman with one foot and vampiric tendencies, who typically takes the form of a loved one. She inhabits jungles and lures men away from safety with her beauty, before she reveals her true horrifying form. She then attacks, devouring their flesh, and sucking their blood.
Also known as ‘mother of the hill,’ she arose from Argentinian folklore. She is guardian of the raw metals that lie buried deep within the mountains, often brushing her hair with a golden comb.
She is not a terribly cruel woman, since she does let mining happen. However, if miners are too reckless or excessive with how they mine, she will punish them by pushing caravans full of mined metals down into the deep, from the top of the hills.
The Cuca, which hails from the Galicia of Spain, is the female version of the Coco. It’s often used as a threat by parents to get their kids to behave.
As you can probably already imagine, the Cuca is pretty much the Portuguese version of the Boogeyman. She visits the homes of disobedient, bad children, and makes them disappear, either by kidnapping them or eating them whole right away. The Cuca is often portrayed in Brazilian folklore as an alligator with a human body.
La Pobre Viejecita
Meaning ‘the poor old lady,’ it’s a Latin-American fairy tale written by Rafael Pombo. It’s about a wealthy, older lady who has pretty much everything she could want; clothes, food, creature comforts, etc.
But she constantly complains about how she has nothing, oblivious of the material blessing already in her possession. She dies of her age-related ailments, unhappy about how little she has, and serves as a lesson to the readers about appreciating what they have.
Not much is known about the mysterious Bolefuego, a folklore figure from Velezuela. Legend says that she died in a housefire, and that her two children perished alongside her. She roams the land, exacting her fiery vengeance on travelers.
Huitzilopochtli (pronounced ‘weet-see-law-potch-t-lee) or ‘Sunny’ as we know him, is the Aztec god of the sun. He is also the god of war, and the national god of the Aztecs; the ‘head god,’ like Ra was for the Egyptians. As the god of war, victories the Aztecs won over their enemies were credited to him, as were defeats lost. Born as the smallest among his three brothers, he wields Xiuhcoatl, the mythical serpent, as his weapon. Along with his brother Quetzalcoatl, he created the Earth, the Sun, fire, and the first male and female humans.
Sunny is known for his fiery temper, appropriate for the god of the sun. According to a separate origin story, he burst from his mother’s womb, fully-armored and fully-grown to defend his mother from his other siblings, striking down his sister and sending his hundreds of full-grown brothers fleeing to safety among the heavens, where they became the stars, and his sister became the moon. To this very day he chases his sister and brothers through the sky, ushering in the dawn and requiring tribute to keep the chase going.
As he is not a female, Sunny will not be a candidate for latina Disney princess. Instead, he will be the host, and will be the one in charge of selecting the first latina Disney princess!