Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is Sofia Really the First?

Have you heard about the new Disney Princess?

I take several issues with this movie.

1) The plot focuses around a little girl learning how to be a "proper princess".
Sofia looks to be about six years old. Granted, it's hard to tell because Disney always messes with characters' proportions. So little Sofia might be a little older. Let's give her the benefit of the doubt and say eight. How many eight year old girls are primarily concerned with being a "proper princess"? Of course, lots of girls (and boys!) play pretend/dress-up. But they do all sorts of other things, too. Why doesn't Sofia dream of saving her country? Why doesn't she dream of running her own business? Why doesn't she dream of being a scholar?

2) Sofia's relationship with her step-sister (Amber) is one of jealousy, not friendship.
When is the media going to learn that female characters can be friends?! What, is the movie too boring if there isn't some sort of female rivalry? These characters are young girls. I honestly don't see why they can't be friends. I should think that Sofia (who had no siblings before) and Amber (who only had a brother before) would welcome the chance to be sisters.

3) The young girls are focused on appearances.
According to the character descriptions (written from Sofia's point of view), "She [Amber] wears the best dresses and prettiest tiaras". This connects to my previous points. Amber's wardrobe shouldn't be her defining characteristic. Whatever happened to smart, caring, brave? Are Amber's good looks really all that Sofia sees in her?

4) Yet another white princess is joining the ranks.
I know, Sofia isn't joining the ranks of official Princesses (Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, and Tiana). But still. The creators have clarified that Sofia's mother has darker skin because she is Latina. Which therefore makes Sofia Latina. What's weird, though, is that Sofia seems to have been whitened. Is Disney trying to get away with a Latina princess without actually making her Latina? I understand that there are varying degrees of ethnicity. Two people could be equally of the same ethnicity, and one has darker skin or one has lighter eyes. It happens. But I think if Disney is trying to take stand by having the first princess's mother be Latina, then Sofia needs to be more clearly Latina looking.

Overall, I am highly disappointed. Which is frustrating, because I want there to be a Latina princess. We need to get over this initial hump of 'the first' and then there will be more. But Sofia does not cut it in my books.

Further Reading
'Sofia the First': Is Disney's First Latina Princess 'Hispanic Enough?'

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