It’s no secret that Encanto is taking every household by storm, and for so many wonderful reasons: the representation of Afro-Latino and non-Black Latino culture in an emotional and raw story surrounding the magical Madrigal family. Also, the movie’s soundtrack is a banger! But young kids are also really connecting with the character of the middle Madrigal sister, Luisa.
Luisa’s gift comes in the form of her strength, which is impressively superhuman. Though her story also focuses on her internal strength as well as physical, Luisa’s muscles play an important role in showcasing her gift of strength. Though according to Encanto artists, she almost didn’t have them.
“I think we all just wanted to do it in a way that worked well with the style and really made sense for the character and I’m really proud of the way that she turned out,” Ekren said in the original tweet, though their account is now private. “The entire team was so awesome. I just pushed buttons in the right order.”
Luisa’s song in the movie, “Surface Pressure,” is not only topping the Billboard charts, but it’s one of the most relatable songs in the Disney arsenal for many people. Even therapists are using the lyrics of the song to help their young clients.
“A lot of clients relate to Luisa who is experiencing the pressure of carrying the burden for their younger siblings,” psychotherapist Jenny Lemus told CNN. “It is eye-opening, and I’m so glad that I have clients that are very insightful and can relate to it.”
Given how deeply children and their parents are resonating with Luisa’s story in particular (though the entire Madrigal story is rooted in generational trauma and is portrayed in a beautifully understandable way), it’s no wonder that kids are clamoring for Luisa merch. Clothing, dolls, toys—all of it.
Except the supply isn’t exactly meeting the demand. According to HITC, Luisa merchandise has been selling out fast, especially compared to her sisterly counterparts. And parents are calling out the discrepancy.
One wildly viral post on Facebook calls attention to the fact that Disney likely assumed kids would want the “classically beautiful” character the most. And while Isabela definitely ticks off many of the traditional “Disney princess” boxes, her story, while compelling, isn’t the one resonating with people the most.
“Turns out the kids want giant muscle lady,” Devra Du’Ville writes. “Thanks. I love it.”
The crux of Encanto and each member of the Madrigal family and their character development is about facing generational trauma. It’s about embracing change, and knowing when family traditions have their place and when they don’t. Not talking about family problems (justice for Bruno!) and sweeping them under the enchanted rug doesn’t make those problems disappear.
And while Disney has been making great strides to combat its own set beauty standards and what a heroine can look like, maybe Luisa is further proof that we all want them to continue doing that. Our kids need to see it, and, frankly, so do we.