The Problem with Honey Lemon in Big Hero 6

I don’t mean to be a wet blanket. I really don’t.

I loved Big Hero 6. It gave me way more feels than I planned on having this week. I fell madly in love with Baymax, and the movie should be lauded for its storytelling, animation, and, especially, its commitment to a diverse cast that never resorted to belittling tokenization.

It was refreshing. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for criticism or improvement. And I, for one, am really confused about the identity of this character: Honey Lemon.


I don’t mind that she’s practically a carbon copy of Rapunzel…

…or that she inexplicably chooses to wear heels to a fight scene…

…okay I lied. These things also bother me greatly. I mean, c’mon lady, you’re seven feet tall…why do you need heels!? To make your non-existent butt look better? You have a one inch circumference! You’re gonna get your friends killed because you tripped and fell while wearing your Elton John wannabe pumps. You’re trying to take down a super-villain here; put on some sneakers.

But I digress.

The problem with Honey Lemon is that Disney is claiming that she is another example of a “strong woman of color,” along with GoGo — who is in fact an excellent example of a fully developed woman of color. But Honey Lemon…

Honey-Lemon-and-GoGo-Tomago-big-hero-6-37614366-300-300

Huh?

“She’s hispanic!” says Disney.

Oh, because she’s voiced by this lady?

Because I’m pretty sure Mindy Kaling voicing Taffyta in Wreck it Ralph didn’t make Taffyta any less blonde and caucasian.

I understand that many hispanic people are fair skinned and can, indeed, be blonde. And this doesn’t make them any less hispanic or in touch with their roots. But, besides an accented pronunciation of Hiro — which to me didn’t read so much “Latina” as it did “pretentious foreign exchange student trying to seem native” — there was no indication that she is, indeed, a woman of color.

“Why does it have to be so obvious? Why does everything have to be about race? Does every Latina have to look the same?”

No. Of course not. Hispanic women come in many shapes and sizes. But fair skinned women are represented in the media in spades — as evidenced by Honey Lemon’s twin sister Rapunzel. We don’t see enough representation of dark skinned, Latina women. Or men, for that matter. And as the United States’ hispanic population increases, this becomes even more pressing. Last time I was in Disney World, watching many different hispanic girls running around in Rapunzel’s blond tresses (which, of course, is still wonderful), I just kept thinking, “We really need a hispanic princess.”

Little girls long for heroines that look like themselves, so they can take pride in their ethnic identity. And anyone who thinks ethnic representation in media doesn’t matter should take a look at this photo set or watch the full video:

Children have internalized the message that light skin = beautiful, smart, and nice, and dark skin=ugly, dumb, and mean.

Media is the thing that contributes to that and can help fix that. 

Kids shouldn’t have to google the movie to find out that there is, in fact, a character who shares their race. When you choose to represent an underrepresented group in media, then you better be sure you represent them. Now is not the time to be coy.

I’m not saying there isn’t a place in the media for a light skinned, hispanic woman. But first we have to focus on showing more (fully developed) dark-skinned characters. We have to get them out there first; then we can worry about having covert ethnicities. Because right now there are a lot of dark-skinned, Latina girls who are hard-pressed to find themselves on screen.

And five year old girls don’t read press packets.

I’ll leave you with a short video of YouTube celeb GloZell crying for joy when she saw a black princess in the park for the first time…just in case you needed more convincing.

Edit: I just want to clarify that I would have no problem with representing Honey Lemon as a light skinned Latina if they had somehow expressed in the movie that she was a Latina. For instance, it’s not super obvious looking at Hiro that he’s a person of color, but we know from the appearances of his brother, his aunt, and his last name that he’s of mixed race. It was clear without being over dramatized. That’s amazing and wonderful. If they had done that with Honey Lemon, I would have been beyond thrilled. Even if they had just given us a hispanic last name. But they didn’t. They weirdly hid it in the movie so that small children wouldn’t know, but bragged about it in the press so that movie nerds and social activists of the internet would. And although I’m so happy with the movie and the character of Honey Lemon in so many other ways, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t still a problem that needs to be addressed and corrected in the future.

Double Edit: Since writing this article, I’ve learned that my interchangeable use of “hispanic” and “latinx” was not, in fact, interchangeable. Apologies for that! 

Triple Edit: The thing I did not expect to be so controversial about this piece was Honey Lemon’s heels! So I wrote a follow-up piece on that.

  • Kyle

    Very interesting. I asked Genesis about the accent and that’s when she told me Honey Lemon was “100% Latina”. I had no idea. I assumed the same reasoning for the accent as you (or similar).

    • madsniper

      Same here.

  • CFLO

    Myself (5’9) and my 18 year old daughter (5’9) went with the rest of the family to see this last night. We commented (as beanpoles) How nice it was they threw a female shape in that we could identify with. Not all of us have a the curvy shapes that most of the cartoon silhouettes are. Also, my children are white and latino. I have one with dark brown eyes, one with blue, one with green. With varying complexions. Can we as a society stop nitpicking everything to death?! For the love of God!

    • LeahIsMagical

      As I said, this movie did many things really well and I commended them for it. But, when it comes to ethnic and cultural representation, I think it’s not only acceptable but necessary to “nitpick.” This movie made great strides, but still has further to go. I think it’s necessary to recognize that so that media can do even better next time.

      • Katie

        Thing is, if she mentioned that she was Latina in the film it would seem very forced. It’s like if Wasabi said “Hey! I’m black!” I do get your point though; one of the concept art for Honey Lemon was of a darker complexion and dark hair (which I think would have been a better choice). But the one they went with, is not too off compared to a few other designs. She had a yellow undertone unlike Rapunzel who had more of a pink so there is a distinction there. Her skin is more tanned than Rapunzel’s.

        Sometimes people don’t look like their ethnic background. I myself am one hundred percent Filipino and many people mistaken me for Chinese, Korean, or Japanese because of my fair complexion and more slanted eyes. The surprised looks I get from people when I tell them I’m Filipino actually makes me laugh. Then they say things like “but you’re not tanned, and your eyes….” So it’s still pretty realistic of Honey Lemon to be designed that way because there are Latinas who have a slightly fair complexion.

      • Mia

        I still don’t see the problem, first of all some women can RUN in heals, more power to them for it. Further more, I’m hispanic, while I may not be blonde with blue eyes, I am however very out of touch with my culture. Some people are like that. What did you want the character to do? Make constant hispanic culture references, have a thick spanish accent. We have a very blended society and claiming that something isn’t an accurate representation of it’s culture simply because it isn’t saturated in it is kind of an unfair criticism. I love Gogo but what makes her a better representation for her culture? She doesn’t do anything that clues us in to what ethnicity or race she might be so your argument makes no sense. Maybe if you provide evidence as to why Gogo is a “better” representation then maybe I’ll start to see what you mean.

    • NatashaRose

      YES!!! I’m 5’9 too, and I’ve never really been able to identify with a Disney girl because they’re all short and petite. I loved that Honey Lemon was so tall (and is proud enough of that to still wear heels even though she towers over the others). Just had to reply because your comment is so true for me (and I’m sure other tall girls too)!

  • skye

    okay first off: blond hair does not mean any of the characters look alike. they said the same thing about elsa! you people need to chill a little with this stuff.

    yes they should have made her darker that would be fine but my friend literally cried when they found out she was latina because he felt closely to honey lemon and being a light skinned costa rican and being able to look up to a bad ass super hero whom looks like him made him really happy.

    and i feel like this is an attempt to find problems with disney. honey lemon is supposed to be a strong female character and hell fucking yes she is. she looks ditsy and sweet but her looks does not equal her intelligence. she kept the team together and helped hiro solved the clues. and if a skinny tall girl wants to wear heels who are you to judge. let the girl wear a skirt and heels. she is an inspiration to little girls all over the world and her little latina accent and her selfies will help girls grow into strong women. i wish i had that type of hero to look up to when i was younger.

    • LeahIsMagical

      This post, to me, just illustrates how important cultural and ethnic representation is to people. But the main target for this movie, and the people who truly internalize these messages and carry them around for the rest of their lives, are children too young to look online and find out that Honey Lemon shares their ethnicity. The character, otherwise, was great. As I said, I loved the movie. But there is room and need for improvement. I think if you continue to read my site (as I hope you do!), you’ll see that I truly love, admire, and obsess about all things Disney. But I dislike the idea that you can’t love and critique something at the same time. After all, the people who love things most think about it the most and therefore will notice the most flaws!

      As for looking alike, Rapunzel and Honey Lemon don’t just both have blonde hair. They have the same shade and thickness of hair, the same shape eyes, the same color eyes, the same face shape, the same eyebrows, and the same lips. A small part of me fears that Disney threw in this design because they knew it was a “safe bet” to sell dolls, in case the people of color didn’t. That could be paranoia, of course. And perhaps they kept the design similar for time/money constraints. I don’t know.

      Thank you for sharing your opinion! I love commenters 😀

    • madsniper

      The problem is that she had to “find out” after the fact. How much more wonderful would it have been for your friend if they had dropped a hispanic last name in the movie itself?

  • Walt

    My friend is a light skinned Latina (Puerto Rican to be precise) and found Honey Lemon’s portrayal of the nationality to be against the grain, non-stereotypical, and quite the opposite of what this article is suggesting. She stated that people often rely darker skinned Latinas as the go to for representation in her culture, rather than acknowledging other people with different skin tones. She claimed that people who are flipping out over this are being inadvertently racist by only seeing one type of skin-color when is comes to that nationality. This also carried over for the body type argument.

    Obviously one person’s opinion is there’s and no one else’s, but I find this to be a pretty compelling counter-argument.

    Also, she’s clearly listening to a Latin pop song, right when she meets Hiro and while that shouldn’t be the only indicator of her ethnicity, it’s a pretty big one.

    • Walt

      Also, side-note, said song is by Genesis Rodriguez’s dad, Jose Lois Rodriguez. That’s a pretty adorable easter egg.

    • Morgan

      Might I suggest you reread the article?

      Your argument is compelling. After all, Latinas should get the final say of what is and what isn’t offensive to Latinas (as long as they pay attention to their surroundings and what happens to other people like them, as opposed to just themselves, but I digress).

      However, listening to a song, while a nice easter egg as you say and perhaps a nice indicator were it not the only one, is not “a pretty big indicator” as you say and is actually quite tiny.

      Whereas Hiro has his name and family as indicators to his race, we’re expected to believe that a single song can cover that for Honey Lemon? Rather than a last name, or maybe even mentioning in the film. Even somebody just asking her “what is your family like?” or something similar could have brought it up.

      That’s all the article was suggesting. Just that much. The problem isn’t that “she’s Latina but looks white.” The problem is “she’s supposed to be Latina but they never even suggest it in-film, leaving the viewers to assume.” And that assumption is based on 1) looks, and 2) Disney’s default. She “looks” white, and yes, that is probably because of under-representation of other ethnicities with similar physical traits, so in this case we’d be relying on Disney’s “goto” race, which is white.

      Regardless, I don’t remember last time Disney did this, if at all, so it’s a start.

      • Irwin Duran Adams

        I’m Hispanic, and I’m white. Being Hispanic isn’t about your skin colour it’s about cultural background. Educate yourself on what Hispanic means, and where Spain is located while yer at it. There is nothing wrong with her character. What, because she isn’t a stereotypical character who has curves and dances to salsa music? Because she has an identity based off of her own personality as opposed to her ethnic background? Why does it matter if it’s obvious that she’s Hispanic or not? Do Hispanic people need to wear sombreros and carry guitars with them whenever they are in a film? Do they need to spew Spanish words and phrases like Jewish characters spew Yiddish phrases for comedic effect?

    • MARio12

      I agree with you. I live in argentina , and here we have TONS and TONS of white , blonde girls. It’ mre common to see white people than dark skinned people hrer . Just because she’s latina doesn’t mean she must have darker skin.
      Besides, people confuse the terms “latino” and “latinoamericano”. People from France, Spain, Italy, among others are classified as latin people. Because their language comes from latin. Simple as that

    • madsniper

      A hispanic name as confirmation is all that was needed.

  • Chinoiserie

    Has Disney themselves said that Honey is latina? I thought kit was just the voice actress who said that.

  • Monica

    I agree with this article; excellent analysis. What’s also interesting to note is that we have two characters who appear to be named after foods: Wasabi and Honey Lemon. But Wasabi gets a line explaining that it’s a nickname — Honey Lemon never does. This feels almost deliberate, or at least a pretty glaring oversight, and further obscures her identity.

    • DuplusMus

      Incidentally, “Tamago” means “egg” in Japanese. And “Gogo Tamago” is not her real name, either. As explained in the film, each character’s name is a nickname given to them by Fred.
      Also, the movie is based off a comic book. In the comic, the other characters’ “real” names are revealed, but Honey Lemon is always known as Honey Lemon and is never given a “real” name.

  • meoxing

    I agree. A bit off topic, but I feel like Disney is trying to slowly introduce more diverse casts (which I’m hoping for!) but going about it in the wrong direction, since if you look at the source material, every ethnicity or nationality was changed (they are all originally Japanese, Hiro was not mixed, and GoGo was not Korean). It is insulting to take an entirely Japanese cast and change them to make it more “consumable” to American audiences, implying that they’re not good enough as is. And with the fact that they HAD to make it more American by having the city of San Fransokyo instead of being set in Japan kinda irritates me. It’d be a much better take if you had source material where all the characters were white and then chose to rewrite them to include minority representation.

    Back to Honey Lemon, I haven’t quite seen Disney boast her as Latina, only Genesis has, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re jumping on that for publicity. Nobody knew what her accent was supposed to be until I told them since I had saw parts of an interview with Genesis. However, I don’t think you really needed to comment on her height and thin body in a negative light. I’m sure you are aware many girls who are tall and thin do not wish to be so. But I do agree that more representation of wider, fuller, chubbier, and fatter people is an absolutely important and should be what media is pushing towards. You can do that without putting down other body types, though. You also mentioned GoGo’s body and I don’t know how to feel about it, since while the designer did want to show her as being physically strong, especially with her legs since she bikes, she every other part of her is still thin. I’m really glad she has a round face like and thick legs, but she isn’t exactly a shining example of good body representation.

    I’d also like to point out a few nit-picky notes about your post. Firstly, Hispanic and Latin@ (@ to represent Latina and Latino) are not synonymous. Hispanic people are of Spain, and Latin@ people are from Central America. Many Latin@ countries have been subject to Spanish invasion and colonization, so it’d be in the best interest not to confuse them out of respect. Secondly, Caucasian is not synonymous with white. The Caucasus region is located bordering Europe and Asia, and there are people of color who live there, not just white people. Using Caucasian to mean white erases the identities of the people of color who are also Caucasian.

    Thank you for writing this, though. Many people do not understand the importance of representation, especially since many people who complain about media becoming “politically correct” and inserting more people of color are usually the people who are already represented on a regular basis. The industry can do better, and we can do better.

    • LeahIsMagical

      Thank you for your correction! I thought Hispanic encompassed Central America and Spain, and I did not know that about the term “Caucasian.” Good to know for the future, and thank you for telling me!

      I honestly wasn’t putting down Honey Lemon’s body type. I like that they represented a thin girl without curves. I just was trying to poke fun at the fact that she chose to wear heels, when she had no earthly reason to do so. I agree with your point about Gogo. Disney needs to get on the realistic waistline train, already.

    • DuplusMus

      The Big Hero 6 comic didn’t have an entirely Japanese cast, just for the record, though it is true it had a predominantly Japanese one.
      I don’t see what the issue is with taking Japanese characters and adapting them to be more diverse is, though. The comic’s creators aren’t Japanese, and many characters’ races are adapted to different ones nowadays, especially in comic book movies. This doesn’t just happen in mainstream Hollywood, either; Japan actually adapts a lot of western books and comics to have Japanese characters.
      Everyone does it. Unless you’re taking something that the creator specifically wishes to have represent a certain race, or unless you’re changing something in a way that doesn’t make historical sense, I don’t understand why it would be a big issue.

    • Cassidy Quinn

      Actually, Spanish refers to people from Spain. Latino/a refers to people from Central/South America and Hispanic includes both, as it refers to Spanish speaking peoples. Caucasian has become synonymous with white. It’s the “proper” term on forms, just as African American is the “proper” term for black, even though some blacks in America are from the Caribbean and don’t identify with African American.

  • Pingback: The Disney Shit Show: Talking Race and 90s Disney Films | The Magical World Of()

  • Nick

    I have another problem.. you say why does she wear high heels in a fight? Put some sneakers on … Disney is trying to get across that you can be GIRLY and SMART. ou are shaming her for wearing what she wants because she is tall. i understand you being upset about the white washing though ..

  • DuplusMus

    While I agree that her ethnicity could have been clearer (she had a tan in some scenes, but it looked like a spray tan, not gonna lie), it still thoroughly pisses me off whenever people claim, “She looks just like Rapunzel!” and “Clearly they just recycled Rapunzel’s model!”
    No. No they did not. Their character models have VERY distinct differences. The entire head shape is different, as is the nose bridge (and length and curve), mouth, and facial expressions. What people are looking at with the two characters are the big green eyes. That similarity is due entirely to the animation style (seriously, you want to see a Rapunzel twin, go look at Ariel).

  • Pingback: 5 Questionable Things That Mary Poppins Did | The Magical World Of()

  • rociel

    Oh for God’s sake, she was based on a comic book character who was white. There’s no deeper meaning to this.

    • Ari

      Her name was Aiko Miyazaki in the comics. She just dyed her hair blond, doesn’t mean she’s white.

  • E.

    She says “foto” which was photo in spanish. I guess the reason you didn’t see a hispanic character is because you aren’t Hispanic and therefore don’t recognize more subtle indicators. I am hispanic and saw this movie with my boyfriend’s family (all hispanic) and it was pretty clear to us what she was. We don’t represent everyone obviously.

    • Anne

      I am hispanic and speak fluent spanish. I honestly just thought she liked to emphasize some words. Besides they said she was fluent in Spanish, Japanese and something else. I literally could not tell if she was saying it cause of wherever she was from or if she just did it.

  • A

    Unless you yourself are latina, you do not have the right to comment on this perceived “problem”. Like others mentioned, many latinos have seen this movie and could easily identify with Honey Lemon. To be honest, the fact that you assume Honey Lemon is unrelatable simply because she doesn’t conform to your standards of what a latina woman should look like comes across as pretty narrow-minded and racist. And Disney’s the problematic one…?

  • Brittany

    Not only that, but in Honey Lemon’s concept art an option was for her to be African American. To be honest, I’m becoming really impatient with Disney’s “Oh, but they ARE colored!” terms when it comes to their characters. Let’s hope Moana isn’t going to be the same white wash they’ve been using year after year. Latina girls aren’t going to look at Honey Lemon and relate, they’re going to think that no one like them is worthy to be in a movie since they’ve never see a princess or character that looks like them; Disney needs to step it up or stop.

    • Millie

      Absolutely right. It’s not like they’ve created characters like Mulan, Tiana, Jasmine, Kida, Lilo, Nani, Pocahontas, Esmeralda, and Gogo.

    • velvetnitemare

      Honeslty this comment is complete BS. I’m Latina and I look almost like Honey. My hair is a tad darker, but it looks dark blonde in the light, an dI have hazel eyes, which look green, and so does my girlfriend. I felt 100% identified with her even though I’m way shorter. We are a diverse race. If you’re not Latina, then refrain from commenting, please. You have no idea how many girls in my college look like Honey Lemon. I saw a cosplayer last week in a convention here in Mexico cosplaying Honey Lemon PERFECTLY. So please, stop. You’re just giving non-latinos a bad name for trying to condescendingly defend us.

  • Jhet

    i half agree with you on this about how there should be more representation of dark skinned women, because they are beautiful as well. But I think the creators were probably focusing on a different direction. Yeah, sure, one of the things you see first on honeylemon is that she’s kind of white. But you also recognize shes super tall and skinny. She’s there to prove for girls, that you don’t have to be short to be cute and feminine and wear high heals.

    But yeah, maybe her character would be absolutely perfect if she was darker skinned. I don’t think it’s such a huge problem, but your opinion is still valid.

    Also, in my interpretation of honeylemon pronunciation hiros name the way she does is because she was trying to be respectful. Hiro was probably named by his parents in that pronunciation, so it makes sense that honeylemon tries to respect that.

    • Bob

      Also, if you were Hispanic yourself you would notice there were subtle indicators that proved she was likely Hispanic.

      • tania

        To me it was pretty clear she was hispanic, because of the way she pronounced some words (Hiro’s name, obviously, but also ‘photo’ and some other ones.) I’m guessing she rolled the r in hiro’s name because that’s hwo it would be phonetically pronounced in Spanish.I live in puerto rico and one of my friends born on the island looks almost exactly like her with blonde hair, pale skin, green eyes, etc. Latinas come in all shapes and sizes.

  • Charz

    Alright, Honey Lemon does not, in fact, look like the stereotypical representation of a Latina, but people look all kinds of different all over the world. I’m a Mexican girl and my skin is not dark nor is my hair. I can tell you there are looots of fair skinned people here, just as there are dark skinned people, too, because Europeans conquered these lands, thus a lot of race mixing took place. Same goes for body shapes. Honey Lemon does have a mild tan, I must add. I don’t really have a problem with her looks. I do agree that younger kids might not guess her ethnicity as we can.

    Now, I had to re-watch the movie in it’s original English audio, because the Spanish version is very different. They omitted the song Honey Lemon is listening through earphones when she meets Hiro, which is a sign that she’s at least familiar with the culture.

    To me, the biggest indicator of her ethnicity is the accent. It changes from time to time (which is very common for fluent speakers to loose their accent) but you can hear it pretty clearly in most scenes. The way she pronounces Hiro’s, Tadashi’s and GoGo’s names in a rough Latin accent. She also said “foto” when they took a group selfie. To me, that must be enough of a proof. And I’m glad Disney picked a Latina to voice her in both English and Spanish versions!

  • Jay

    THE POINT IS, PEOPLE, there are a ton if light skinned latinas ok sure. But there is not many representations of latinas who do not look caucasian, i mean when was the last time you wver saw one? NOTHING wrong with honey lemon but there are already so many animated girls that look like that and it would not have hurt to make her look a little less like rapunzel. Be honest people by just looking at the picture would you have guessed she is latina? Yes some may look like that but would you have really guess that? I thought so.

    • velvetnitemare

      I guess I’m some type of Alien because I immediately knew she wasn’t caucasian. Maybe because where I live there’s a ton of girls just like her…
      Also… why are we, white-looking latinos, any less than stereotypical ones?? We get confused with caucasians always whenever we are outside of our countries, and even inside sometimes you know? We deserve representation as well.

  • Dayna Zarco

    I’m a light skinned Latina and I don’t mind Honey Lemon is as well. What bothers me is that Disney is so proud and therefore presumed to have a Latina and could not make it look like 89 porcent of the hispanic population.

    I think in all my life to live in Latin America have seen less than fifty blonde latinas with green eyes and I’m 23 years old!

    Honey lemon is identical to Rapunzel, and Rapunzel is German ¬¬

    I would have preferred that they left Honey Lemon as an example of that tall, blonde and girly women can also be intelligent. But I don’t like that she’s latina.

    Many Latina girls I know are happy and proud that Honey lemon looks alike to them because they are light-skinned latinas, and that’s fine … but most Latinas are not!

    Well, being part of a race isn’t defined by your appearance because we are very different. But never in all the film was a cultural clue that Honey was latina,it came out until it was mentioned in an interview.

  • Taylor

    In my opinion none of the characters in this movie looked anything but white and Caucasian except the one black guy. The blond girl didn’t even have a accent until she said Hiro.

    • Cassidy Quinn

      I thought the “accent” on the name was the Japanese pronunciation. I didn’t think it had anything to do with Spanish, neither did my Hispanic friends. The blonde girl definitely looked white and the dark hair girl looked Hispanic or Asian to me.

  • RandomPasserby

    I’m Latina and watched Big Hero 6 dubbed in LASpanish and it never crossed my mind that Honey lemon was a Latina. I just thought she was your average-looking american girl and now after finding out she’s supposed to be Latina I don´t see how it’s supposed to affect my point of view of the movie. It doesn’t change anything. I really don’t understand what’s the big deal about cultural representation in movies. Nowadays it seems minorities want to have representation in every single work of entertainment and to be honest it’s annoying; even more so when they don’t like the result and start complaining that the character doesn’t meet the race “standards” which seems to be the case with Honey Lemon. I grew up watching Disney movies and was never bothered or annoyed that most of the characters were white. In fact, I never really cared, I remember when watching Aladdin and the Hunchback of Notre Dame I didn’t even notice that Jasmine and Esmeralda had different skin tones. To me eyes they were just pretty girls. But nowadays everything always has to come down to race and racism. Why do people have to find racism in every single thing? I remember once hearing some people complaining because there were no blacks or asians in the Lord of the Rings movies. Seriously?It’s supposed to be nordic european fantasy so of course the humans are expected to look white just as the characters in African paintings or chinese characters on chinese tv series are expected to be black and asian respectively. The United States is still a predominantly white country so white people are going to continue to be the stars for some more years and, again, I don’t see what’s the problem with that. If I wanted to watch Latino characters I’d go watch novelas on the TV or latinamerican movies and, just so you know, I can assure even then I wouldn’t feel identified with any of the characters. I’m just who I am. Again, why do people think it’s so important to see themselves reflected on fictional characters who most of the time are completely different from how real people act and think??? I never go watch a movie expecting to find myself in there, on the contrary, I go watch movies to get away from reality for some time and experience different things.

  • I am so sick of Disney repeating Rapunzel! She was great ONCE! ONLY ONCE! IN TANGLED! You are being lazy!

    I don’t even like hero movies like this so I have not watched it but I am with you. They do not represent enough latino and black people I get that. BUT you sorely missed another issue. They don’t represent tall people, they don’t represent fat people, they don’t represent people with big noses as the heroines!

    Oh no..no not even a blind girl! I am changing that with my book series I am currrently working on. Whether Disney ever bites or not I don’t know. But I am so tired of seeing models up there over and over and over again!

    WE are all different, be it our nose, our waste size, our height! Our body build, our hair, our eyes, our skin. BUT we can all be represented. Disney has failed time and time again! They have Pocahontas, Mulan, Jasmine, and Tiana, as the only none white girls that I can think of off the top of my head. Sorry I’m very sick right now.

    The point is that Disney is turning vanilla fast….they’re going for the same old same old. I am not a small girl, I would LOVE to see someone like me finding their fairytale! I mean come on!?!?! Is it realy so bad? Oh and if you give me another speach on stupid health…..I will say this ahead of time. HEALTH IS THEIR BUSINESS! If we say that a fat girl on screen is going to tell girls its ok to eat away at fattening food to be like her. Shouldn’t you also realize, and people have aruged that girls don’t pay attention to the size of a waste FYI, anyways shouldn’t you also realize if you’re going to use that argument. That having a super skinny anorexic girl on screen is going to tell girls to barf and or refuse to eat and over work out and get an eating disorder?! After all its the only way to look like any of the DIsney girls!

    So yeah bring on the health comment and I’ll just scream. Skinny people get Diabetes they also get heart issues, so its not just fat people. You are a brainwashed moron if you think otherwise.

    My books will represent a girl like me, a 6 foot tall girl, a girl in a wheel chair, a blind girl, a girl with a big nose, a girl with anxiety issues around public, and another slightly large girl like me! They are well rounded characters who actually speak to people.

    If anyone asks why I didn’t put in a cancer patient. There was no chemo therapy back then hence no hair loss, you just died! O_O Its not something I can portray! There were no survivors!

    Anyways my point in my books is to represent not jus twomen in a wider varliety. One of my princes is surley and a little gruff not at all prince charming, another is a total womanizer who learns his lesson, another is short and kind of ugly, and another is tall and gangly! There is also one built more like the Baker in Cinderella 2 Dreams Do come true! The list goes on and on! They aren’t perfect and boring like some of the past Disney men, and they are not all cut from the same stupid clothe either. The men are worse than the women…or equally as bad! O_O!

    We need to take a stand against Disney adn Dreamworks and others pushing this shit down our throats!

    IF you want a REAL fairytale look up

    http://www.phoenixdreamangelmsb.deviantart.com

    Go there read up, I am editing the story that is already up and I am publishing it. I honestly would LOVE if Disney would actually acknowledge it as a good story and find a way to animate it. BUT I would not complain if Dreamworks did it. I WANT them to finally notice girls who are blind and or in Wheel chairs….or heaven forbid FAT! O_O! OR six feet tall! OO

    Anyways please please please support this and help me get the word to Disney and or Dreamwworks its time to wake up!

    WE’re done finding their models of super always done on screen. Rapunzel was the LAST I accepted that way because I liked her over all character. I HATE her skinniness! Gleane Keen has talent but when it comes to women he’s a total pig. I would have hated tgrowing up his daughter. I can only imagine what he said to her or left impressions of for her on how to look. >_< I realize some people think thats just art the sinched waste…….but come on! disney actually got suid over Ariel's waste proportion it was why they changed it.

    (sighs)

    Its time we take charge people!

  • Rita

    “For instance, it’s not super obvious looking at Hiro that he’s a person of color”
    It’s like you’ve never seen an Asian person before…. Maybe it’s because I’m Asian, but I immediately recognized him as so.

    Honestly I’m not sure how Disney could’ve made Honey Lemon look or sound more Hispanic. Hispanics can be pale or tan like Honey Lemon, or even as dark as Indians. And while it may shock you, tall girls like heels too.

  • Amy

    First off, I’m white and speak Spanish and Japanese. Honey Lemon’s occassional accent doesn’t come across as a Spanish/Hispanic/Latin accent but rather as a Japanese one. She isn’t rolling the ‘r’ in Hiro’s name, it’s what in linguistics is called a “flap”. Even if she had rolled it it would have been incorrect because you only do that when there are two r’s in a word or name. As for her use of “foto, foto”, “photo” is a borrowed word in Japanese ( much like we use “tsunami” and “karaoke” in English) and would be pronounced very similarly in Spanish and spelled the same in phonetic romanji. I worked at Disney for over a year and only the Japanese guests ever used that phrase. Finally, Big Hero 6 came out while I was working there and not a single person identified or even hypothesized Honey Lemon to be Hispanic/Latina/what have you. Disney may well have intended her to be, but having studied linguistics for years I find it impossible to verify that based in any way on her accent.

    • Josmarie

      I have to agree that I did not see Honey Lemon’s accent as Latino/Hispanic. I thought she was just phonetically saying things as the Japanese would. I am Puerto Rican and can say it sounds similar to what we would pronounce it as but I never identified with her.

  • Kate

    Wetblanket indeed. First off, why does it matter if she has a flat butt or not, her wearing heels does not mean she is trying to accentuate anything like you bitterly claimed. She might just enjoy fashion. Plus I live in LA and there are just as many skinny Latinos as curvy. Lastly, you are trying to raise up women of color yet you put down tall women for wearing heels because they are “tall enough”. I am a tall woman and seeing a tall disney character woman FINALLY is representation for me whether she is hispanic or white. So shove your equally wet blanket bigot ways up your ass.

  • Camila

    Omg. I’m Latina and I HAVE THE SAME FACE, BODY, HAIR, THAN “HONEY LEMON!”. When I saw the film, I thought that Disney made me a character D: I’M “HONEY LEMON” OMG.

  • Camila

    And, hey, here in Argentina, there are a lot of people with light skin.

  • Sarah

    I agree 100% with this article. I think the people who criticize it need to watch the doll video again. We obviously have a problem when young black children think their skin color is ugly and bad. If Disney wants to promote itself as socially responsible, then they shouldn’t be holding back. I personally had no idea she wasn’t supposed to be white.

  • Pingback: I love Honey Lemon | Babbling Brooks()

  • amy

    I’m 6’1 and wear heels. It doesn’t matter if I was 8’9, I’d still wear heels. Heels pull a outfit together. She’s simple stylish. I’m surprised you didn’t complain her weapon was a purse with a heart. Also I’m pasty as hell. And my hair is blonde ish I have alternating color eyes that change with lighting from hazel and brown to green and orange to blue and light brown. Still Mexican. So why did you complain ? They made her VERY realistic. I don’t have a butt and I’m very small. Not my fault, I was built this way. I think she’s a great character and you just want to complain tbh

  • Giraffe

    I had no idea that she was Latina. I thought that she was a tall, pretty, smart, Caucasian girl like me. Guess not. I like that she relates to a lot of girls who are tall and geeky. I am 6′ and a total nerd, and my family says I look exactly like her with the glasses, long light hair, green eyes, and long and lanky look. I’m glad she looks and acts the way she does. I have Marfan’s syndrome, which makes me very tall and thin like her, and I’m glad that Disney finally made an extremely tall girl. She represents not just tall girls who look like her, but the smart and strong ones too. She is a role model for girls of all colors. Don’t let skin color define you or her. We are so much more than that.

    Not everything has to be about race. Why can’t people just enjoy an innocent cartoon?

  • K

    Does everything have to be about skin color? Have you thought about the other groups of people Honey represents? She represents tall girls, skinny girls, smart girls, girly girls, nerdy girls, the list goes on. All of these people are represented, and you are upset that her skin is too light. That is extremely racist.

  • Andan

    ‘Kids shouldn’t have to google the movie to find out that there is, in fact, a character who shares their race.”

    Ha! Kids don’t care! My 6-year-old sister’s favorite movie of all time is the Princess and the Frog, and she is totally white and blonde haired. She didn’t pick Cinderella or Rapunzel as her role model. She chose Tiana. She has Tiana on her comforter, pillow, and curtains. She plays with the Tiana Barbie doll. Yes, a character with a totally different skin color. A character who looks nothing like her. She even wants to open a restaurant like her.

    Am I upset that she “doesn’t represent” my sister? Of course not! I love Tiana’s hard-working nature and think she’s a great role model. Yes, Disney should make some Latino characters, but when it makes sense to the story, not just to add “representation.”

  • Lory

    lol I faked a emsil and im in

  • Paul

    Do you idiots really have nothing better to do?

  • Paola

    Listen, if light skinned latinas had as much representation as you claim they do (caucasian characters do not suffice like you suggest because guess what? They arent white), they wouldn’t have so many people exclaiming “you’re not what I picture when I think of a hispanic”. Most if not all of the hispanic representation we see of latinas in the media are tan, wavy haired, curvacious women. Afro latinas and light skinned latinas are basically inexistant.

    • velvetnitemare

      Finally someone with common sense!!! Thank you!!!

  • Katelyn

    so, something has been missed here “She’s Hispanic” says Disney, Hispanic people are not all Latino/Latina. Hispanic and Latino are not interchangeable. Hispanic people are white, have varying complexions (myself and my family are very pale unless we spend time out in the sun, we just have olive complexes, but Honey works in a laboratory, how much sun do you think she gets?), and varied hair/eye color (almost my entire family, including myself have green eyes). Also, Hispanic people are European, so it would make sense that she has European facial shape and features. And, go figure, she says Hiro’s name as it would be pronounced in Japanese, and I appreciated that. I don’t think it had anything to do with her accent.

  • Kayy Van

    Why can’t a woman love her tallness so much that she’s happy to wear heels? Like damn I understand you wanting representation but don’t be sexist in the process.

    Also, you’re seeming to forget that, even without an ethnic group, people come in all colors. Hell, one of my roommates I thought was mixed black and white because he was only MAYBE three shades darker than me [Probably less]. Turns out both of his parents are very black. He’s still black.

    And the same is true for all ethnicities. It doesn’t make her identity less valid. Would it have been good if they’d made her darker? Yes. But people are always erasing lighter skinned people of color.

    Like damn I can’t even imagine how those mixed twins feel. Those ones with a white and black parent and one looks exclusively white and one looks exclusively black. They’re both still mixed [And thus are both white AND black].

  • CVilla

    I totally agree with CFLO’s comment! I’m actually quite offended with the comment about honey lemon being tall and therefore doesn’t need to make herself any taller? I’m 5ft 11″ and I’ve heard that my whole life it’s completely rediculous! And if I’m being honest a little sexist- telling tall girls that being small because society says a female should be and not embrace it is just wrong. I really love the fact that disney have acknowledged tall women exist.

  • Alex Guerrero

    I’m glad they made her tall and blonde. I’m tired of Hispanic being represented as short and dark.

  • Lily

    So many things wrong with this. Firstly, don’t you understand that some girls are naturally tall and skinny and have “none existant butt”‘s? They can still wear heels and be taller than everyone because they should feel confident enough to do so! Secondly in the comic book big hero 6, honey lemon is a white, blonde haired character. Did it ever cross your mind that Disney decided to stick with this portrayal? Before you jump on the bandwagon that they just wanted to go with a character that looked like rapunzel, remember that they shouldn’t have to go with a stereotype of a Latina to represent one. They also shouldn’t have to directly say that she’s a Latina!

  • Lily

    So many things wrong with this. Firstly, don’t you understand that some girls are naturally tall and skinny and have “none existant butt”‘s? They can still wear heels and be taller than everyone because they should feel confident enough to do so! Secondly in the comic book big hero 6, honey lemon is a white, blonde haired character. Did it ever cross your mind that Disney decided to stick with this portrayal? Before you jump on the bandwagon that they just wanted to go with a character that looked like rapunzel, remember that they shouldn’t have to go with a stereotype of a Latina to represent one. They also shouldn’t have to directly say that she’s a Latina!

  • Christina Gillam

    I agree with your premise that the general public and little kids would have had to hunt to figure out that HoneyLemon is Hispanic. On the other hand, as someone who went to college in Miami, HoneyLemon’s character made a lot of sense to me, and I actually at least speculated right away that she was Hispanic. She reminds me of a lot people
    I know, especially with the super long hair, dressing really fashionable all the time, and being really affectionate and probably caffeinated. You’re right in that there were no last names to confirm, but I don’t think that’s a huge crime. I don’t necessarily disagree with your claims, but I think Disney did a pretty good job with this character, at least to someone who’s been immersed in Miami culture for the past 4 and a half years. Just my two cents.

  • Melanie Rose

    They are making a Latina princess, so I don’t get why everyone’s feathers are ruffled up because she doesn’t fit in with the “Hispanic” stereotypes. If she did, even more people would dislike her for being, “too stereotypical”. Seriously, nothing is ever enough for people.

    High heels are super awesome, why can’t people just accept that girls do in fact run in high heels without falling. They don’t need sneakers, now that is just pointing out everything just so you can hate a character more.
    Also, in Japan they pronounce their ‘r’s like the way Honey Lemon pronounces them. Why didn’t anyone pronounce it like that? I don’t know. But I say Hiro like Honey does, then sometimes I say hero.

  • Pingback: The Other Problem with Honey Lemon: Her Heels()

  • Adriana H. Olvera

    i noticed in the movie she says a spanish word and also lets Fred know that mi casa es su casa does not stand for door..so in some way it showed she is a latina without really saying it…or makes you wonder if she is..at least it made me wonder (:

  • Cass

    to be honest, honey lemon was a HUGE trigger for me, being a recovering anorexic. Having a character that is THAT skinny is hard to see for me, and I’m sure many girls with negative body image were at least jealous of her.
    People may not think this is a big deal, but to me it was. I have been very skinny before. Incredibly skinny. BMI 11, and even then I couldn’t compare to Honey Lemon. I know for a fact that you cannot be that skinny without having hair loss problems, energy issues, fainting, Lanugo(fine hair growing on your body to keep you warm), and you are typically grouchy. Honey portrayed none of these symptoms whatsoever. It’s quite okay for Disney to portray naturally skinny women. They do it in EVERY movie. But to have a teenager at that degree of thinness was incredibly poisonous.

  • disqus_jf11QtmKDE

    I know this post is kinda old but… Don’t you guys think that the character represents a Spaniard? She’s got spanish accent and she clearly looks like a european girl. And for those how dont know, girls ins Spain look pretty much like that (blonde, tall and fair skin).

  • disqus_jf11QtmKDE

    Honey Lemon is not a “Latina” girl, from southern America (the continent), she’s a spaniard.

    Deal with it.

  • Kanae

    oh… how u would like to be not FAT… xD fuck u

  • kellz

    not to completely disregard your incredibly valid point, and i for one, as a dark-skinned latina would love to see more representation of my ethnicity in the media, but that being said, i did assume Honey Lemon was latina while watching the movie despite her hair or looks because, people, she actually does say a few random words in spanish….. (and as a bilingual colombian that is definitely a thing i do) and no, i’m not just talking about the very obvious spanish pronunciation of Hiro, there are other instances too….

  • Bianca

    Bitter much. Majority of latins as are fair skinned not black.

  • Mr.Sixes

    Da hell! As a black male, I got to laugh at your complaint of honey lemon. Especially as a fan of comic honey lemon where she’s a blonde haired blue eyed Japanese woman.

  • Mai

    Her pronunciation of Hiro’s name is soooo inconsistent! Will no one comment on this fact??? Sometimes there’s an accent, sometimes she says it so that it sounds like the english word “hero”. Bothered me a lot.

  • CoolChicken

    Not to be racist or anything, but how would there be a latina princess? I agree that there should be a latina character, but I don’t understand how they would make a latina princess.

  • CoolChicken

    I also respect that she can fight in heels. My sister has chased me around the house once in heels. Also, since I can’t walk worth shit in heels, I feels strong respect for her badass high-heelness

  • Amanda Liggio

    I stumbled upon this simply because I was trying to figure out why the voice talent pronounced “Hiro” with the inflection that she did. And it’s because she’s Latina. Cool. I wish the director or whomever would have embraced it 100% because now it just reads like she didn’t get the memo on how the other actors were pronouncing his name. It’s the ONLY TIME I’ve heard it. (The movie is playing in the background as I type.)

    It’s not something my son would pick up on (her latin lilt of his name), but the lack of continuity drives me batty. Hence my Googling it 2 years later.