Thursday, October 18, 2012

Disney Get's It Wrong: Sophia The First (Latina?)

A new Disney Princess is about to be unveiled and she is a Latina...or so they say. Sophia is her name and she will be making her debut in the TV movie Sophia the First: Once Upon a Princess on November 18th. 
While on the surface this seems like a step forward, having a Latina represented in Disney's princess franchise, there is one problem.... it doesn't really seem like she's Latina. If you look at the images of her, she seems to appear white, perhaps of Western European dissent. Unless you know that she is Latina, there is no way to tell by looking at her. And in fact, producers aren’t even emphasizing this point! Joe D’Ambrosia, VP of Disney Junior says that “We never actually call it out….what I find fascinating is that every girl thinks they’re Sophia.”
Sofia the First: Disney's first Latina princess

She has blue eyes, a reddish-brown shade of hair and ivory skin. That does NOT look very Latina to me! In fact, I think that she looks more like me than any of my Latina friends. If I was to watch this movie, I would have no indication that she is Latina. The thought would never even cross my mind. It’s outrageous, as it’s not actually making Latina’s more visible in the media! If we cannot tell that she is Latina, then diversity is not actually being shown!
Here is a picture of me, next to a picture of Sophia
I think we acually look very similar, which is NOT GOOD! She is supposed to be Latina and I am Irish and Scottish. How does it make any sense that we have visual similarities?! Why is it that she looks so white?
And while we are on the subject, why is her name Sophia? Sophia is not a Latina name and has no origins in the culture. In fact, Sophia orginates from Greek and is used primarily in European and Russian languages[1].  By this, her name shouldn’t even be Sophia…her name should be reflective of her being a Latina.
This whole ordeal  is very upsetting, to both myself and the Latina community. I participated in a discussion about this on Facebook and my Latina friends expressed a lot of concern and outrage: “She looks nothing like me” one said, “This is upsetting and misrepresented” said another. “If that’s what Disney thinks a Latina is then I wonder what they would consider me!” quipped another feisty young Latina. Their comments hit home for me and made me realize what a real issue this is. When you don’t have any characters, actors or Disney Princesses that look like you, it can really feel like you aren’t there at all. And when one does come out, but is a horrible representative of you (and is claiming to be like you) it’s even more upsetting.

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