Disney Introduces a New Princess: She’s Latina!

Sofia

Sofia the First

Meet Sofia the First, Disney’s first Latina princess.

She’s “a regular girl whose life suddenly transforms when her mother marries the king and she becomes a princess.”

A huge fuss is already being made that Sofia has blue eyes, light brown hair, and pale skin. And some are complaining that even though Sofia is Latina, that fact is basically ignored by 99.9% of the characters and plot.

While producers say she is Latina, they don’t make a point of pushing that fact. “We never actually call it out,” said Joe D’Ambrosia, vice president of Disney Junior original programming. “When we go into schools [to talk to young students about the show], what I find fascinating is that every girl thinks that they’re Sofia.”

The criticism about the character is really unfair, explained one Disney representative, who asked to remain anonymous:

“There was no political or social message intended by giving her blue eyes, really. In June we were told that there was a slot open on November 18th on the Disney Channel. We had a few meetings, at which we decided that that she’d be a princess named Sofia and that there would be a magical necklace in the show. We thought that was a really nice element. We all liked the necklace.

“And then we just let the computer do its job. When we saw the finished film, we were delighted. I like fact that there’s a princess stepsister who’s really arrogant, but there’s a prince stepbrother who’s really nice. That creates some interesting tension. And I love the element that the magical necklace gives Sofia the ability to talk with animals. I really wasn’t expecting that!

“But the fact that she’s Latina surprised us all. We were like, ‘whoa, she’s Latina! This is fantastic!’ Really, we were cheering. And as far as her blue eyes and all. I swear, there was no conscious decision to make the first Latina princess look really white. The computer does all the animation and the plot details automatically. So really, no thought went into it at all.

“The only little problem I have with the movie is that Cinderalla shows up to give Sofia some pointers. I thought that was stretching it a bit. But I think the kids will like it.”

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About eteokretan

Interests include: books, art, movies, history, mythology, wandering around, people watching, being a bit weird, running, soccer.
This entry was posted in Disney, feminism, princesses, satire, snark, Sofia the First and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Disney Introduces a New Princess: She’s Latina!

  1. Nathan says:

    I’m still just annoyed that they’re ignoring literally all Rules of Monarchy by calling her “The First”. You don’t get a number unless you’re a ruling monarch, gosh darn it! *shakes fist*

  2. eteokretan says:

    Yeah, there is that. And they wouldn’t call anyone “the First” until there had been a second. Logically, at least. But then (sigh) this is Disney.

  3. j.a. martino says:

    “So really, no thought went into it at all.”
    Uh, yeah. That’s kind of the point.

  4. This was bound to cause some arguments. The Latin@ community is so diverse, and we come in so many different racial and ethnic backgrounds, but there is colorism, and lighter skinned Latinas with a lot of European ancestry often have privilege over Latinas who don’t. I’ve definitely had the uncomfortable realization that I am being treated and spoken to by people in the community a certain way because of my coloring (I am Chicana, my mother’s family is from the Monterrey/Matamoros/Monclova area and we have a lot of Spanish-Jewish heritage), leaving me sad about internalized racism, and I am not even as light colored as Sofia.

    • eteokretan says:

      I’ve read a few comments about the movie addressing that issue, the diversity Latin@ community, etc. Since I’m not Latina, I was shy about addressing that specifically. But I’m sure there are a lot of brown-skinned, dark-haired kids who would have really liked to see a princess who looks like them. It’s really important at some level.

      The issue made me think of that great picture of President Obama with the family of a White House staffer. Obama is leaning over to let this little 5-year-old boy feel his hair. The boy had been asked if he wanted to ask the president anything, and the boy wanted to know if the president’s hair felt like his (the family was African American), so Obama leaned over so the kid could touch his hair. It was as if he wanted to know “are you really like me.”

  5. Pingback: From Hopeless Bookworm’s (Blog) Reading Pile: | hopelessbookworm

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