Photo: YouTube screencap
Upon first glance, Disney’s latest addition to princess royalty, Sofia, looks like your average Belle. She has fair, white skin, soft brown hair, and blue eyes.However, when Disney made the announcement of its TV movie, “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess” (she’ll also have a TV series next year), it surfaced Sofia would also be the company’s first Latina princess.
During a press tour, a blogger pointed out concept art of Sofia’s mother had a darker complexion than other characters, to which Disney Junior original programming vice president Joe D’Ambrosia confirmed she was Latina, making daughter Sofia, in turn, at least part Latina as well.
The responses across the Internet have been mixed, with some denouncing Disney’s vision of Latinos, while others are praising them for stepping away from typical stereotypes.
Here’s a few of the negative responses on Twitter:
@SamGrieder: “Is it me, or does Disney’s first Latina princess look… white?”
And, some of the positive:
“What does it mean to look Latina? We come in all shades and sizes. I am 100% Latina the daughter of parents born in Mexico…. have light skin and hazel eyes.”
“I agree with there being a lot of Latinas that come in different different skin tones, I have only to look at my family to see that it’s true. However, any other movie where they created an “ethnic” character, they made sure that the ethnicity was well known.”
On the show’s Facebook page, the response is overwhelmingly positive, though there isn’t one mention about Sofia being Disney’s first Latina princess there.
D’Ambrosia has admitted they never make mention of Sofia’s race on the show.
“We never actually call it out,” said D’Ambrosia, “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.”
And, that’s the point. There’s no overt mention as to any of the other Disney princesses’ races in films, so why start? (Though the show does hint at the princesses’ Latin Roots in the title of her homeland: “Enchancîa.”)
Is Disney’s portrayal of its first Latina princess an accurate assessment or have we created a stigma in our minds as to what the average Latina should look like?
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