AAPI Women are Awesome Action Figures

Originally published at NBC Asian America

I am an avid toy collector, and every few years I like to take stock of the number of action figures that feature Asian American and Pacific Islander characters. When I started doing this in 2009, it was difficult coming up with enough figures to fill out a Top Five list. Fortunately, it has become much easier to populate these lists since AAPI visibility in pop culture has dramatically increased in the intervening years. In fact, I actually had a difficult time winnowing down this year’s list since there are so many AAPI action figures from which to choose! Moreover, nearly every slot on the list is populated by female characters, which hopefully puts to rest the fallacy that girls don’t buy action figures.

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Get Your First Look at Disney’s Moana

Even though the movie is more than a year away, we cannot contain our excitement for Moana, the newest addition to Disney’s iconic princesses. Set for a Thanksgiving 2016 release, the movie will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the demigod Maui and 14-year old newcomer Auli’i Cravalho has been tapped to play the titular Princess Moana. That’s right, a Disney Princess movie about Hawaii starring actual Pacific Islander actors in the roles of Pacific Islander characters. And Emma Stone is nowhere to be found!

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Will Disney’s Latina Princess Get the Same Treatment as Other Princesses of Color?

Originally posted at Childish Things

Disney’s next Disney Film Canon Princess isn’t set to arrive until 2019 Edit: 2016! [Sorry!], and she’s a princess of color — Moana, a Pacific Islander. In the meantime, they are introducing a new Latina princess to its cartoon universe. Elena of Avalor will be introduced on the already popular Disney cartoon Sofia the First, before receiving her full spin-off.

It is about time that Disney spread its diversity notches to the Latina community. While it reeks of tokenism, it is still an excellent opportunity for young Latina girls to have someone to look up to other than the aged up Dora the Explorer. I’m actually surprised Disney didn’t jump on a Latina character soon, considering Dora has been so popular for so long. I hope this princess does well and that the Disney TV Cartoon princesses can join their film counterparts in inspiring young girls of color to follow their dreams and work hard and all those other themes. It’s so frustrating that each group must wait their turn basically before they can have some representation on television in a big way like this.

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