Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Sofia the First" Latina Princess?

If your kids are like mine and have a love for Disney Channel then you are well aware that this month Disney Junior will be debuting a new animated movie called "Sofia the First". While out promoting this new TV movie the executive producer Jamie Mitchell stated that Sofia was indeed a Latina.

That was enough to start a big backlash. Many people felt that Sofia was not "Latina" enough because of her light skin, blue eyes and auburn hair. Would she be an accurate representation for Latino viewers? This controversy got so out of hand that Disney eventually back-tracked and stated that Sofia was not meant to be a Latina princess. She was from a made-up place and was not mean to represent any Latino culture.

I can understand why Disney would backtrack on this. Trying to create a "Latina" princess that would make everyone happy would be one tough job. They will never be able to make everyone happy. Either people will be upset because she does not look "Latina" enough but on the other hand if she looked , dressed, and sounded too stereotypical Disney would be accused of being racist. 

Of course I would love to see a Disney Princess that looks like my daughters (and me!) with dark hair and brown eyes. Obviously Sofia the First is not that princess for us. I am a little disturbed that my girls don't have a lot of characters (besides Dora!) that they can culturally relate to. I will admit that I am an anti-Barbie kind of Mom, but at the end of the day I am responsible for raising my girls to be strong smart independent Latina women. Disney isn't. Lucky for my girls, their family is full of amazing, smart, beautiful and strong "Latina" role models. Bottom line is my kids really don't care one bit. They are excited to have a new cartoon to watch.

What do you think? Should Disney have stood by their statement about Sofia being a Latina?

4 comments:

  1. To be honest, I was really surprised Disney went back on their original statement, although I can appreciate how much pride they would have had to swallow to do that. However, I feel as though the original statement was silly to begin with, since it was only made after blogs blew up wondering about Sofia's origins. If Disney is going to do something like this, they need to not make the statement in a reactive way.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Having grown up a light skinned-green eyed Latina, it was tough for me to read this post. I heard the phrase, "You are not really Mexican" so many times as a kid. I began to believe it in high school when everyone would label me as white and brush off my attempts to explain that both my parents were from Mexico. I understand where the blogger is coming from, but not every Latina woman has dark skin and brown eyes. Yes, Disney should be more culturally aware and provide various role models for little girls...but I don't think it is fair to say that just because a princess has colored eyes she shouldn't be considered Latina. I think disney should have stood by their statement and explained that stereotypes are stereotypes. The way someone looks doesn't make them their ethnicity/race. It is their culture, their traditions, their way of life that makes them who they are. Being an Hermana at UCSD helped me accept that even though I may not look like the "stereotypical" Latina, I am still one because of my culture, because of the way my parents raised me and because of the beliefs I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Nancy! Just to clarify I did not personally think that Sofia was not "Latina" enough. I agree with you that Latina's come in all shades. "Why can't a Latina princess be light skinned with light eyes?" is a valid question. But "Why can't a Latina princess have dark skin and dark eyes?" is also a valid question. It is because of this broad spectrum of what a Latina is, is the reason Disney would have never made everyone happy. I think they saw this and that is the reason why they took back their statement.

      Delete

Comment aka Props!