Guest post by Andrea Charcas
To young girls, princesses represent much more than the Disney franchise; they are role models, heroes, and reflections of themselves. They dream about having the courage of Mulan, the wisdom of Pocahontas, the feistiness of Tiana, and perhaps most importantly at that age, the beauty of Cinderella. However, there is an issue that looms amongst the world of poofy dresses and tiaras: there are no Latina princesses.
There are currently 52 million Hispanics living in the United States, in addition to nearly 3.7 million Puerto Ricans. Hispanics are a powerful group in the United States with much influence, especially in the media and entertainment industry. Numerous Hispanic celebrities have already become household names: Sofia Vergara, Selena Gomez, Pitbull, and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few. In addition, Hispanics hold $1.2 trillion in spending power. Therefore, why hasn’t Disney created a Latina princess to satisfy the growing number of Hispanics?
In late 2012, Hispanics felt a burst of hope: Disney Channel was producing Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, a TV-movie rumored to star a Hispanic heroine. Jaime Mitchell, the executive producer of the TV-movie, even confirmed the rumor, saying “she is Latina.” However, perhaps she spoke too soon. Just days after Mitchell’s statement, Nancy Kanter, the general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, proclaimed that Mitchell “misspoke” and that Sofia the First is not a Latina princess. “Some of you may have seen the recent news stories on whether Sofia is or isn’t a ‘Latina princess’,” she posted on Facebook. “What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairy-tale girl who lives in a fairy-tale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities, but none are meant to specifically represent those real-world cultures.”
Since then, Disney has been a source of outrage for many Hispanics. Kanter stated that Disney characters are not supposed to reflect real-world cultures, but the ethnicities of princesses like Mulan, Pocahontas, and Tiana are not exactly kept secret. Unfortunately, Disney has not spoken about any future plans to create a Latina character. To Hispanics across the country, hope still remains that the Hispanic population will eventually be represented in the Disney industry.
Andrea Charcas is a high school student living in Arizona with an immense passion for writing. She finds inspiration in her Hispanic heritage, her beloved family, and events occurring across the globe. She is a proud Latina who loves to talk about her culture to anyone with open ears. In the future, she hopes to attend a university and continue to be a part of the New Latina family.