A few days ago, we posted a little blurb about the new Disney Princess, Sophia. At that time, a Disney executive had revealed that Sophia was indeed, Latina. While some were thrilled, others-not so much. Many Latinos expressed concern over the fact that Sophia didn’t look like a Latina. I agreed. Now, Disney has responded the backlash.
Disney has retracted it’s statement that Sophia is Latina, and instead this was released on the Princess Sofia Facebook page:
“What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America. For example, Sofia’s mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain […] this creates a world of diversity and inclusion that sends just the right kind of message to all children — “Look around you, appreciate the differences you see and celebrate what makes us all the same.” I am eager for you and your children to meet Sofia and experience her world together!” ~Nancy Kanter, Senior VP, OP and General Manager of Disney Junior Worldwide
I have to say that in my opinion, this was not a good answer. Now that Sophia is no longer considered Latina, that this gives “never” some of it’s power back and takes a little joy from young kids that will never know about this controversy.
Some people believe that this is not a big deal. It’s just a cartoon princess, for crying out loud. These are the same people that don’t understand what princesses mean to little girls! All little girls dream of being a princess and to see one that looks like them makes the dream that much more real to them! I loved Cinderella. But I could never imagine fully being her or a “real” princess, because I didn’t look like her. And all the princesses that I ever saw, looked like her. That mere fact limited my dreams and fantasies of being a princess.
There was some controversy over Tiana’s story line but she remained Tiana. Disney didn’t take her ethnicity away and little girls all over the world still get to enjoy an African American Princess. And Latina children would have gotten the same joy. All of this would have died down and parents would have introduced little Sophia as the Latina Princess. The mere fact that she was considered Latina, like them, would have been enough for them.
Now the Latina Crown is gone….The question is, will there be another one? I hope so. I hope that Disney takes this opportunity to explore some stories and present a true Latina Princess. And, I hope it doesn’t stop there. Since Disney proclaims that wants to create a “world of inclusion” then I hope they go all out! It would be pretty cool if they released a new princess, of different ethnic background, every other year or so. That would be awesome!
There is so much I could say about this….but I will digress. I want to hear from you. How do you feel about Disney’s retraction? How do you feel about mine, for that matter? Do you think that Disney should create a fully Latina Princess?