Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

We've been waiting for a Latina Princess for a long time. Disney princesses have come a long way from the original Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and become more diverse with Mulan, Jasmine and Tiana. Finally, it is our turn. Disney has a new princess and she is Latina. Her name is Sofia and she is from the Enchacia. As images of the princess are being released, some controversy is stirring up about if this is the best portrayal for the Latina community. The character will be featured in a made-for-tv movie followed by a regular series. Many are enthusiastic that there is finally a Latina Princess and compliment that fact that she doesn't look stereotypical. She has fair skin, blue eyes and light auburn hair. Others think she isn't Latina enough or "too white." What do you think?

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I asked a few Latinitas to share their thoughts on the new Latina Princess and this is what they told me so far....

"Yay, finally a Latina. Growing up I never felt I could relate to the other characters. I'm excited to see our culture represented." ~Alyssa

"So Latinas are now light skin, ligh brown hair color and blue eyes?? Is this how Disney would like Latinas to be? Disney... so messed up!!" ~Rosy

"Sorry, but she does not look Latina." ~Daniella

"She had to be so guera?" ~Veronica


"She is white!" ~Jasmine


"Why is there not going to be a big movie just a tv show?" ~Katarina


"Great, finally a Latina princess, but she isn't good enough to get her own movie. Apparently, Disney doesn't think we are good enough to deserve a movie on the big screen." ~Sara

"Sophia looks like a cute & charming little girl, but I wouldn't think she is a Latina if I was a young girl watching the TV movie. Yes. I know that there are Latinas that vary in skin color, eye color & hair color, but I personally think it wuld be an awesome thing to see a brown Latina." ~Bianca

"Media sends us a lot of messages that being blonde with blue eyes is the American ideal. I've seen images of beautiful actresses like Jessica Alba and J.Lo digitally altered to look like they have lighter skin. I think Disney missed a powerful opportunity to send girls of color the message that they are beautiful and that they can feel like a Princess too." ~Alicia

"Although in the real world Latinas vary in looks I don't like how Princess Sofia is portrayed. In movies and mass media, a Latina is portrayed very stereotypical and Sofia being a Latina is not the stereotypical image of Latina. Although I like that they didn't fall into the stereotype, I do wish there was something about her that related to being a Latina. If I watched this show without knowing the background I would have never guessed she was a Latina." ~Melissa

"I love it! I'm 100% latina w/ red hair & white skin & have been hated on by my own ppl for my looks..doesn't matter the color all. Latinas are beautiful & we should embrace our differences :)" ~Ana

I'm glad you made this into a discussion Alicia! As a Latina with light skin and colored eyes, I do get kind of upset hearing all the backlash from people who think she doesn't represent a real Latina. I would hate for someone to tell me I was not really a Latina just because of the color of my skin. Disney may have set itself up for failure when designing Sofia since Latinas are so diverse and don't fit a set of specific physical attributes. What I am most upset about is that she is only getting a made for TV movie! Disney should have really made the effort to create a real movie based on a Latina princess/heroine. 

I love the idea of a Latina lead for little girls, but I'm curious to see whether or not she can be an independent female. Also there are too many Latinas who have a body image complex that their skin is too dark, or they wish they had lighter, eyes, or hair, or just lighter everything. Although it would be breaking stereotypes and not far from the truth, it might be adding to lower self esteems for Latinas.

Update. Disney has released a statement that Sofia is not a Latina Princess. She is of mixed heritage and from a fairytale land. Here is an article that highlights more of the feedback from Disney:

Typical Disney, they are rescinding that she is intentionally Latina and more that she is of mixed heritage. And, what's with another princess. Princess culture is the last fantasy girls need now. They couldn't have robbed the exploratory nature of Dora or maybe considered an immigrant tale!  Shame Disney, Shame!

This is incredible and I am excited! But I must admit I would've liked her appearance to follow the 'stereotypical Latina look' just because as a Latina, I am very proud of our stereotypical features: lots of curves, brown hair, tanned skin! 

I'm really happy Disney finally added a Latina princess! However, they didn't portray her to how several people of different ethnicity will recognize us! 

Honestly, Disney has only one of most minorities and acts like, "Well, we made one for Chinese girls, (even if it was a while ago) they'll be fine now." 

It's not very equal is it? We may be a minority but just because they aren't nearly as many of us or of anyone in this country there are still thousands more all over the rest of the world. Don't you think the girls in Brazil or Panama or Honduras deserve to look up to a strong Latina princess?

Now there is Elena of Avalor! I hope the make her an official princess. She might not have a movie, but a TV series is better. More screen time.

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