Dr. Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager & Emily Dosch’s paper published in Communication, Culture, and Critique
Associate Professor Julia Khrebtan-Hörhager and M.A. student Emily Dosch have published the paper “Beyond bad hombres, mamacitas, and borders: Rethinking representation of Mexicanidad in 2017 animation Coco” in the latest issue of Communication, Culture, and Critique.
The release of Coco in 2017 came as a cultural reaffirmation for many Mexicans who have previously seen themselves represented in animation as heavily accented maids or comedic sidekicks included to forward the narrative of the White hero. Coco brought to screen the first animated Disney feature film with a Mexican protagonist. If previous animated Latinx representation has consistently relied on the same repeated archetypes (bandidos, bad hombres, machos, the constantly pregnant Latina, etc.), Coco took a different approach: celebrating mestizaje and contradictions of Mexican identities, and embracing a culturally nuanced portrayal of Mexicanidad. We explore how exactly those contradictions and paradoxes happen, and what they mean for the affected community. We argue that Coco subverts negative, narrow stereotypes by highlighting the complexities of Mexicanidad, while simultaneously paving the way for improved Latinx representation in children’s animation.