Target: Gary Marsh, President and Chief Creative Officer of Disney Channels Worldwide
Goal: Applaud the Disney Channel for featuring their first Latina Princess in an upcoming television movie and series
Disney’s first Latina princess will debut on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior in the movie Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess. Although there has been some backlash amongst the latino community for the character’s light skin and blue eyes, Disney must be commended for featuring a Latina lead princess who embodies the wide range of Latina characteristics, rather than a stereotypical version.
When photos of Princess Sofia were recently released there were both positive and negative responses to her light skin and blue eyes. A Disney spokeswoman provided some background on Sofia as to why she is Latina, “In the story, Sofia’s mother…was born in a…place with Latin influences.”
The term “Latina” refers to a woman of Latin-American or Spanish-speaking descent. The term does not denote the way a person looks. Since Sofia’s mother is from a place with “Latin influences”, then yes, Sofia is a Latina. Sofia’s father’s background is not explained, so Sofia could have non-latino influences that make her “less latino” looking, however, that does not discount her as a Latina.
Rather than illustrating a stereotypical version of a Latina, the producers chose a look that would appeal to a wide range of little girls. For critics to say Sofia is “not a real Latina” is sending the wrong message to children with mixed families. According to the vice president of Disney Junior original programming, “We never actually call it out. It’s sort of a matter-of-fact situation rather than an overt thing.”
Please sign this petition in support of the Disney character Princess Sofia and her portrayal as a modern Latina girl.
Dear Mr. Marsh,
Despite the recent backlash surrounding Disney’s first Latina princess, Princess Sofia, I am writing to applaud your character’s cultural background and modern interpretation of a Latina girl. While critics feel the character does not portray a Latina woman’s skin tone, eye color, or body type, I support your representation of Latina girls with mixed backgrounds. Thank you for representing this community in the media and giving a voice to girls who do not fit perfectly into one cultural or racial category.
Rather than focusing on Princess Sofia’s race and cultural background, her Latina status is simply what she is, it’s not what defines her. Disney has avoided stereotyping the Latino community, while representing a modern mixed family.
Perhaps the same backlash and criticism would resound if Princess Sofia were illustrated as a stereotypical Latina, equipped with offensive traits and signifiers that not all latinos wish to be associated with. Latinos come from various backgrounds and Disney should be praised for not instantly using dark features to showcase a Latina.
Thank you for diversifying the characters used to influence children and highlighting the melting-pot of world citizens.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: ivillage.ca via Yahoo