Por QueEstelle Gonzales Walgreen
Disney’s First Latina Princess is Suffering from Neglect. Why?
Photo: Disney Junior: Princes Sofia and Queen Miranda
Disney’s latest fictional phenom comes in the form of Princess Sofia, the first Latina Princess. The young princess will make her debut in the animated film ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ on the Disney TV channel on November 18. And before Disney executives could even design their first Happy Meal environmental hazard, poor Princess Sofia of Enchancia (spanglish for encantación/enchantment) is becoming almost as unpopular as the soaring cost of Disney’s jumbo turkey legs.
Apparently for some, Sofia is culturally diseased and her ethnic credentials have been called into question. People are having trouble with her light skin, light brown hair and blue eyes. She has been deemed “not Latino enough” and since she is a mere child we can safely assume she didn’t bleach her skin like Sammy Sosa or Michael Jackson.
For culturally progressive Latinos there isn’t a problem with her appearance since we know we come in all different shades and shapes. Then there’s the fictional fact that Sofia is from Galdiz “a place with Latin influences” according to Disney executives. Yet many other Disney princesses have come from real places like New Orleans, China, Germany, etc… .
Is Disney too nervous to create a character or story line from Mexico, South America or from the barrios of east L.A.?
Personally, it is Disneys insistence that they don’t want to emphasis Sofia’s ethnicity that is bothersome. We know that when the toy-selling mafia wants a product or marketing strategy to succeed it spares no expense.
The only reason this character was even identified, as Latina appears to be accidental. A Disney executive at the movie preview was asked why Sofia’s mother Miranda’s skin was so dark. The answer: she’s Latina but we don’t want to emphasis her ethnicity.
The company has not launched this Disney Princess with the same fan fare as the previous ten others. Non-fictional facts, starting with Snow White in 1937 to Rapunzel in 2010, show all princesses have been honored with a feature film instead of cable movie. And don’t insult me by blaming the economy, if you can afford to go into business with Univision for a 24-hour news cable network to inundate us with more ads cash flow doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Disney made sure we knew Princess Jasmine of ‘Aladdin’ was of Arabian heritage; we were told repeatedly that Pocahontas was the company’s first Native American; we knew that Fa Mulan of ‘Mulan’ was Chinese and that Princess Tiana of ‘The Princess and the Frog’ was the princess franchise first African-American.
So Princess Sofia is not suffering from not being Latina enough she is suffering from neglect. Why?
Does Disney want to make sure it capitalizes on the large Latino population but not on their culture? FYI selling chimichangas at Disney California Adventure doesn’t cut it. Does Disney want to make sure Latinos buy all things Disney while offering cultural crumbs to this demographic? Does Disney know that Latinos don’t really appreciate token gestures and would rather forego a Latina Princess in return for more affordable life memories?
My suggestion to Disney, either get rid of Princess Sofia and the Latina label or please give her, her due: movie deal, video games, Happy Meal collectibles and an Alan Menken musical score for starters.