I was scrolling through my Twitter feed tonight when somebody tweeted at the deaf actress Amelia Hensley, “@Disney can we get [Amelia] to be the 1st deaf princess?” Not only would that be the best movie ever and I’m so on board with the idea, but seriously? Why don’t we have a deaf princess yet? We’ve got a mermaid, a bookworm, a chef, an archer, and many more, but why don’t we have one that’s disabled? I’m not trying to knock Disney at all(The Little Mermaid is my go-to sick day movie and my whole family tries to take a trip to Disneyland at least once a year), but we really, truly, don’t need new live remakes of old movies. What we need are new, accepting and diverse princesses that appeal to everybody, not just one type of person.
Disney’s definitely been taking steps in the right direction. Tiana, Merida, and Anna and Elsa all save themselves(or, in the case of Frozen, the sisters save each other). We’ve all around just seen a much more open take on characters from Disney, and that’s awesome. But why not go further? Why don’t we have a signing princess, or one in a wheelchair? It’s not like the world isn’t ready for it. American Girl came out with an accessory set fairly recently that included hearing aids that fit over the dolls ears, and it made a huge splash, and they’ve always had a set of some sort that involved a wheelchair. Not only that, but they’ve started making bald dolls as well.
People always tend to choose their favorite characters because they see a lot of themselves in that character. This is why I love characters like Honey Lemon from Big Hero 6, who’s a total nerd, but is constantly wearing heels and pretty dresses, not to mention she’s super tall(like me!). That’s why it frustrates me that more deaf characters don’t exist. People like having characters that they can look up to and see themselves as. Of course, a character doesn’t have to be ~exactly like you in every way, shape and form~ for you to like them and what they stand for. I just think that having somebody like Amelia, who’s already been a part of Deaf West’s production of Spring Awakening, which was completely groundbreaking and eye-opening for many, play a deaf Disney princess would open so many doors and create so much conversation about a topic that’s incredibly important.