For many little girls, being a Disney princess is the ultimate fantasy. I mean, fairy godmothers, horse-drawn carriages, beautiful ball gowns, and a handsome prince always there at the end of the movie to sweep you off your feet — it’s all so romantic. Well, except if you happen to be the daughter of an outspoken feminist Latina, in which case, the whole thing was, well, anything but.
Watching a Disney movie with my mother was more like watching a worrisome after-school special — you know, the ones that warn you about the dangers of smoking pot and premarital sex. Always a little awkward and annoying, but you know it comes from a good place.
For my mom, who became a single mother at just 31 years old after she and my dad split up, raising a strong, independent daughter was always her No. 1 priority. She never wanted me to relive the hardships that came with getting a divorce. She wanted to make sure I was self-confident, realistic when it came to relationships, and never let myself lose track of who I was for a man.
So instead of letting me get pulled into the Disney magic of it all, she watched each movie with me attentively, making sure I wouldn’t fall victim to any idea that would hinder me from growing up to be a strong feminist. From Cinderella to The Little Mermaid, my mom turned each of these classic love stories into her own case study. Here is just some of her best commentary.
Snow White was a little too gullible for my mom and needed mas cabeza if she expected to make it in the real world. She also didn't appreciate that Snow spent her life cooking and cleaning for seven men. Que va.
My mom had several issues with Cinderella. First of all, she always felt Cinderella should have had a little more self-confidence and tell her stepsisters, "¡Mira, que mande esas hermanas malas al Diablo!" She also hated that Cinderella was ready to marry Prince Charming after just one dance at the ball together. Que cosa mas ridicula.
'The Little Mermaid'
With so much sass, my mom thought Ariel could do way more than spend her life stalking Prince Eric. When Ariel traded her voice to become human, she'd protest every time. "¿Pero que es eso?" she would say, upset that Ariel could give up who she was so easily for a man who didn't even remember that she saved his life. "Tu no hagas eso," she'd warn. Um, I'm not a mermaid Mami, so don't worry.
'Beauty and the Beast'
Belle was one of my favorite princesses, which was a good thing because she was also one of the few that my mom liked. "Por lo menos le gusta leer," she would say. Still, Mom was disappointed when Belle settled for a life with Beast at the end instead of going off and exploring the world.
While my mom appreciated that Princess Jasmine stood up for herself, protesting to her father against an arranged marriage, she would always say that Jasmine should have taken all that money and used it for college. "Maybe there are no colleges in Agrabah, Mami," I would say. Her response was always the same, "Ay, claro que si hay."
Aurora was the typical princess my mom just couldn't handle. Aurora needed to get her head out of the clouds y ponerse para su numero.