Disney's Specific and Ambiguous Princess

A Discursive Analysis of Elena of Avalor

in Girlhood Studies
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  • 1 University of South Florida, USA dleonboys@usf.edu
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Abstract

Bringing together discourses of Latina girlhood and ambiguity, in this article I interrogate Disney Junior's specific and ambiguous Latinidad in three key episodes from the first season of Elena of Avalor. This type of intersectional analysis is seldom found in Disney scholarship, despite the relative abundance of existing work on Disney-generated cultural production. By analyzing the ambiguity () and unambivalent structure of ambivalence () present in Disney's deployment of animated Latina can-do girlhood (), in this article, I provide an intersectional approach to the study of Disney Junior animated content and Latina girlhood in contemporary popular culture. I argue that Elena of Avalor is the result of Disney's avowed and disavowed dedication to the construction of Latinidad and can-do girlhood. The result of this is a fluctuation and flexible navigation between specificity and ambiguity within one narrative franchise.

Contributor Notes

Diana Leon-Boys (ORCID: 0000-0003-2389-453X) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of South Florida. She is a critical media and cultural studies scholar. Within that framework, she focuses on the representation of race, age, gender, and sexuality in popular culture. Most recently her research has focused on the production, representation, and consumption of Latina girls in a post-network digital era against the backdrop of contemporary post-feminist and neoliberal frameworks. She teaches and researches digital audiences, Latina/o/x media, Latina/o/x studies, race and gender in popular media, and intercultural communication, among other topics. Email: dleonboys@usf.edu

Girlhood Studies

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