It’s been three weeks since the controversy of whether Disney Junior’s Princess Sofia the First is Latina or not exploded. I was skeptical from the moment I saw the first headlines proclaiming she was Disney’s first Latina princess were shared all over social media. I became obsessed with the story and in trying to get a quote from Disney that either confirmed or denied that the adorable Sofia was really “our” princess because I just didn’t believe she was.
For two days, I emailed and called Disney reps because I needed the madness to stop. I just couldn’t believe that the majority of Latinas and Latinos were so desperate to be validated by Disney that we read the headlines without stopping to think that this could be a mistake. But, more than anything, it crazed me to read all the comments and articles augmenting the tension behind the question of “Is she Latina enough?”
Why do we do that to ourselves as a community? Why do we have a measuring stick for what represents our culture “enough?”. If we know that Latinas come in all colors and from many nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, then why do we go around questioning any attempt of representation?
Three weeks later, I’m still thinking about it all because I just can’t shake off the feeling that all this uproar — which finally subsided a bit after Disney put out an official statement saying that Princess Sofia is basically from many ethnic backgrounds and represents us all in a fairtytale land — stems from a need we have for a respected and admired company like Disney to validate us. Yes, Latinos are the largest minority. Yes, the Latino vote will be stronger than ever in deciding this presidential election. Yes, Latinos over index in mobile usage, but we are still not major players in the small and large screens.
In fact, a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter claims that the secret to a hit movie is to lure in the Latino audience: ”According to MPAA research, Hispanics make up only 16 percent of the U.S. population yet represent 25 percent or more of those buying tickets to the cinema. They also go to the movies more often than any other ethnic group.”
The wound that was opened by the Princess Sofia controversy still bleeds because Latinos also have an immense adoration for all things Disney. Mickey Mouse and the princesses have been part of our lives every since we all can remember. My first movie in a theater was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and I can still remember it. The first time I went to Disney World in Orlando I was 12 years old, but I had been wishing upon a star in El Salvador for many, many years before it actually happened. Disney, for many of us, is deeply ingrained with the American dream; nothing says American like Disney.
So now, here we are as a community making strides in so many ways, yet we can’t make it into that coveted spot of having Disney recognize the richness of our culture, our heritage, nuestra gente via that one symbolic image of a Disney Princess. An image that would travel the world. An image that would give us one more valuable tool to show our niñas y niños how precious their heritage is and have them be proud of it. An image that will finally validate us.
But, what does that image look like? How can Disney bring to life a Latina Princess that satisfies all the shades and colors in our community? How can they ever get it right without us becoming divisive in the process?
We want you to join us right now in showing Disney and all media what the Princesas in our lives look like so it can be an inspiration for when they finally do make a movie featuring a Latina Princess. We want to create a massive community canvas of pictures from all the real Latina Princesses. Let’s show them who we are and how bellas we are. Trust me, they are listening, we just need to speak up as a united community.
You can join us in celebrating the #LatinaPrincess in your life by:
1. Sharing a picture (or more!) of your Princesa on either Twitter, Instagram, the SpanglishBaby Facebook page, Pinterest and/or your blog and tag it with #LatinaPrincess. Mine are above.
2. Sharing the link to this blog post and/or spread the word so we get as many #LatinaPrincess pictures as possible. We will follow and collect as many pictures as we can and pin them to our #LatinaPrincess board on Pinterest.
My #LatinaPrincess and I will be at the Sofia the First movie premiere this weekend (she can.not.wait!) and we’ll be sharing that experience with all of you next week!
So now this is all yours. No more time to complain about what not is being done. Let’s make it happen!
Show us your #LatinaPrincess