Disney's New Princess Scandal

by sfarn1 on September 18, 2013 - 3:48pm

In a recent article "Disney's New Princess" by Nina Strochlic, she discusses the new release of Disney's Princess Sofia and her representation of Latin Culture. At the first release of the New Disney princess fans were ecstatic to hear that a Latina Princess would be the new princess to represent Disney. However the image that was released of the Princess did not live up to expectations. The fair skinned, blue eyed Princess looks more Irish then she does Latin. In response to the controversy Disney released a statement declaring that Princess Sofia was to represent a "multicultural" heritage rather than just being Hispanic. Senior vice president for Disney Junior, Nancy Kanter, issued a statement saying that Princess Sofia's story line will "include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America” (Strochlic 2013). Although Disney insists that their characters are obviously fictional, and are not supposed to represent any real meaning or representation in real life, are we really to believe this? In the article it draws the comparison that although Disney does not outright say that Jasmine is an Arabian princess we can all agree that she is a symbol to young girls as an Arabian woman. The article goes on to point out that Disney has made its great profit with multicultural Princesses in movies. For example the movie Aladdin made more international profit then it did domestically unlike” Beauty and the Beast” or the “Little Mermaid”.  Strochlic concludes that although Princess Sofia is no longer said to represent a Latina Princess, but rather a multi-cultural one it is still a symbol of “our own increasingly blended planet.” (Stochlic 2013)

            Although Disney claims that their Princesses aren't supposed to represent a particular cultural or ethnic group, we all know that it is done anyways. When little girls are growing up society and social norms teach them to choose their own “Princess” (mine was Belle from Beauty and the Beast). And although I have never been able to personally relate to the hardship, I have always felt bad for Hispanic and other minority groups that have not been rightfully represented through Disney princesses. I like how in the article Stochlic states how Disney makes one of their biggest profits by doing multi-cultural Princesses. Not only should they be making Princesses with different ethnicity's so they can better represent the women and young girls of the world, but in return they will make a better profit! Overall I believe Disney has to get their act together. It’s a different world now, we are more connected and accepting of each other across the world and different ethnicity's should be represented. Most importantly every young girl should be able to grow admiring and identifying proudly with their own Princess.

APA References:

Strochlic, N. (2012). Disney's New Princess. Newsweek, 160(19), 8.

URL Link

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Comments

As I Disney girl myself, I was instantly drawn to this title. I identify with your statement that each girl has her own Disney princess. Believe it or not, my princess was also Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Disney keeps coming out with more and more stories on new princesses and when I first started reading this article, I was thrilled to hear of a Latina princess coming out! As, I kept reading I realized that this excitement happened all too soon. I am very disappointed to hear that Disney did not stick with their original idea for the princess. America is a melting pot of cultures, I get that part, but I would love to see each culture with representation. We already have blond haired, blue-eyed Cinderella, and all the other classic American Disney princesses. I agree with you that Disney needs to represent all cultures! I love how you even mention that they would make money off it, and yet still various cultures are lacking representation.

I like how you gave an over view on the Disney drama, and was very interested in hearing news that brought me back to my childhood! I would like to see examples on how much more money the different cultured princesses made in comparison to the classic American princesses. This would give the audience a perspective on just how important diversity is! Great job on your story!

Your post immediately caught my attention because of my love for Disney movies. Because I specifically love the Disney princesses I was interested in what you had to say in your post. I agree with you in the fact that Disney should definitely make a princess to represent the Latin culture. I was shocked to read that Disney changed the princess to a “multi-cultural” symbol rather than a Latin symbol. How are they even going to display a “multi-cultural” princess? To me the description of what the new princess is going to look like sounds like just another white princess. With a lot of experience in watching Disney, I would say that Disney represents various cultures through their movies. So I was surprised when you said in your post that Disney “insists that their characters are obviously fictional, and are not supposed to represent any real meaning or representation in real life.” Also, I was slightly confused because in the past Disney has specified their princesses as a certain race; but now they don’t want to represent the Latin Culture? I agree with you, Disney does need to get their act together!

This is a very well written response. I can agree with everything you are saying and I can relate as well. Growing up, my favorite princess was Cinderella, mainly because I resemble her with my green eyes, blonde hair and fair skin; it was only right that I imagined myself for years as the princess that lost her glass slipper. I can only imagine that Arabian little girls envied Jasmine because they resembled her. It is always a little girls dream to be a princess, and if they can somehow, someway, relate to any type of princess, they will imagine themselves living in a castle with prince charming. I agree that it was wrong of Disney to false advertise their next princess as being Latina, if I was a Latina little girl I would be so disappointed because they can't relate to a princess like a lot of little girls from other cultures can. Disney princesses to girls growing up are much more than just animated characters, even today at age 18, I can honestly say that I still dream of being a princess. Although, it is much more unrealistic now, it's still fun to let my imagination run wild.

When I was younger and still today I always wanted to be a Disney princess. I would watch the movies in aw and amazement. It so happened that as I got older I started paying attention of how Disney cooperated different nationalities to princesses. I really liked that about the Disney princesses. I did not hear about princess Sofia being Hispanic but if that was the original idea the writers should have stuck with it. I would have been more proud of Disney. I like your blog and I relate to it all the way. My princess was also Belle from "Beauty and the Beast".

I cannot agree with you more! When I was younger my favorite princess was princess Jasmine, I identified with her the most, being middle eastern myself. For me, finding a princess that shared the same ethnicity made me feel like I was really apart of the Western world. I believe that every girl should have a princess she can identify with in some ways , and to feel apart of society. I think Disney should have known better than to create a character whose characteristics doesn't represent the majority of Hispanic people. Living in a multicultural world, I understand how It's hard to try and include everyone into things like this, and it's very easy to feel and be left out, and Disney should have taken that into consideration when releasing Princess Sofia. I think that this issue is bigger than it appears, this issue shows how we as a society aren't embracing one another's ethnicity.
I absolutely loved your summary, and how any girl can relate to this issue!

This post was so interesting. I really enjoyed your title, it immediately grabbed my attention because Disney is the most conservative company and I couldn’t imagine a “Princess Scandal.” This post made me think about the deeper connection that Disney has to our culture. I loved how you explained that young girls associate themselves with a particular Disney princess. Growing up I was definitely subjected to all the Disney movies and I too was infatuated with their beauty and their symbolic “perfection.” Your post reminded me of how Disney only recently came out with an African American princess, Tiana, in the Princess and the Frog. Your post made me realize that if I were of African American descent I would have not been able to connect directly to a princess that didn’t look like me. It is shocking that Disney does not have more Princesses of different ethnicity! All around, I thought your post was concise, well organized, and something new and interesting to read. This really connected perfectly with social norms and how our society views women of different ethnic backgrounds. Great job!

This post caught my attention right away. Growing up I was not exposed to the Disney Princess movies. On top of being a tom boy, my parents were always skeptical about showing the disney princess movies. You're points were great about how not all of the ethnic groups are properly represented. Not only are all ethnic groups not represented but in some of the Disney movie, Mulan, for example there are many false displays of Chinese culture. It is not something to get super angry about, but I know I would be a little annoyed if my cultural beliefs was being falsely characterized. Another point that could further your argument is how, in almost all Disney movies, the Princesses are being saved by a Prince and a man is always involved in the overall happiness and plot. I am not a crazy feminist, but at a young age this could put a thought in little girl's heads that in order to be happy and successful they need a man. For example, Sleeping Beauty can be looked at as helpless and needed a Prince to save her. Also, Ariel, who gives up her voice for legs so she can be with her Prince on land. I'd love to see a movie where the woman is doing the saving and the roles are reversed! This post would fit in very well with learning about culture and that Disney needs some more cultural diffusion! I really enjoyed your post, it was though-provoking and got my attention right away! Awesome job!

I found your post to be very interesting and I couldn't agree more. It's proven accurate that Disney Princesses have a huge impact on the social norms in our culture. Young girls are extremely persuaded into thinking a certain way or dressing a certain way after watching and loving their favorite Disney Princesses. When I was younger, I loved watching all the Disney Movies and my favorite princesses were Belle and Snow white because I loved that I could relate to how they looked, with their brown/black hair and blue eyes. After reading this article and realizing that Latina girls could not relate to the new Disney Princess Sofia because the creators decided to change the way she was going to look made me sad for them. It's so fun to be able to love a Disney Princess and I can't imagine how they felt after they saw her.
All in all, I found your article to be very well written, I enjoyed reading it and it was such a good topic to write on because it catches every Disney lover's attention.

I found your post to be very interesting and I couldn't agree more. It's proven accurate that Disney Princesses have a huge impact on the social norms in our culture. Young girls are extremely persuaded into thinking a certain way or dressing a certain way after watching and loving their favorite Disney Princesses. When I was younger, I loved watching all the Disney Movies and my favorite princesses were Belle and Snow white because I loved that I could relate to how they looked, with their brown/black hair and blue eyes. After reading this article and realizing that Latina girls could not relate to the new Disney Princess Sofia because the creators decided to change the way she was going to look made me sad for them. It's so fun to be able to love a Disney Princess and I can't imagine how they felt after they saw her.
All in all, I found your article to be very well written, I enjoyed reading it and it was such a good topic to write on because it catches every Disney lover's attention.

This post automatically caught my attention because my childhood was always based around Disney princesses. I was obsessed with them growing up! I also completely, 100%, agree with your response. Our world is changing and Disney needs to change along with it. I also feel that Disney would make a bigger profit if they had more diverse princesses. I agree that every ethnicity should have a Disney princess. Growing up I always looked up to Cinderella. I feel as though little girls should always have someone to look up to, as I did, and I feel that if Disney continued to grow in the diversity of their princesses, many more girls would be able to relate to them and look up to them. I was sad and a little discouraged that Disney did not live up to Latina girls expectations of the new Latina princess. That should not have been the case. Overall, this was a very well-written and relatable article.

The title of your post really caught my attention. When I was younger, I was always curious if Disney would have made an African American princess. Most of the Disney princess were white and back when I was younger, I didn't really notice this but as I got older I became more curious. I am proud that Disney finally has an African American princess but to relate to your article, Disney is really contradicting themselves. Disney has shown movies that has expose different cultures such as Pocahontas and Aladdin but argues that Princess Sofia suppose to be "multicultural". Before there was Princess Tiana, I related most to Pocahontas because even though I am not Native American decent, her skin color was very similar to mines and since she was the "darkest" princess at this time, I related to her more. I also feel bad for the Hispanic individuals that were excited to see a princess that represented their culture but fail to do so.
I was also attract by this article because I am a Disney princess fan and your article is very well written.

As a full-time babysitter when I am home, I have probably watched the whole Disney series 30 times over. A couple of years ago, Princess and the Frog came out. This was the first dark-skinned princess in Disney history! I couldn't wait to watch it, and it was an amazing movie. Disney really out-did themselves.

Over this summer, the girls I babysit started talking about a Princess Sofia on Disney and the new movie and television series that just started. I can honestly say that while watching this movie and television series, I had no idea that she was supposed to represent a Latino background. After reading the article and your response to it, I'm shocked with what Disney had to say. I think that if Disney really wanted to come out with a Latin culture princess, then they should have stuck to that, and not a "multi-cultural princess." Imagine being a child growing up with a Latino background and finding out there is going to be a princess just like you and then seeing the princess and she looks nothing like you. It was probably a huge let down for hundreds of little girls and I can definitely see where the controversy started.

As a full-time babysitter when I am home, I have probably watched the whole Disney series 30 times over. A couple of years ago, Princess and the Frog came out. This was the first dark-skinned princess in Disney history! I couldn't wait to watch it, and it was an amazing movie. Disney really out-did themselves.

Over this summer, the girls I babysit started talking about a Princess Sofia on Disney and the new movie and television series that just started. I can honestly say that while watching this movie and television series, I had no idea that she was supposed to represent a Latino background. After reading the article and your response to it, I'm shocked with what Disney had to say. I think that if Disney really wanted to come out with a Latin culture princess, then they should have stuck to that, and not a "multi-cultural princess." Imagine being a child growing up with a Latino background and finding out there is going to be a princess just like you and then seeing the princess and she looks nothing like you. It was probably a huge let down for hundreds of little girls and I can definitely see where the controversy started.

As a full-time babysitter when I am home, I have probably watched the whole Disney series 30 times over. A couple of years ago, Princess and the Frog came out. This was the first dark-skinned princess in Disney history! I couldn't wait to watch it, and it was an amazing movie. Disney really out-did themselves.

Over this summer, the girls I babysit started talking about a Princess Sofia on Disney and the new movie and television series that just started. I can honestly say that while watching this movie and television series, I had no idea that she was supposed to represent a Latino background. After reading the article and your response to it, I'm shocked with what Disney had to say. I think that if Disney really wanted to come out with a Latin culture princess, then they should have stuck to that, and not a "multi-cultural princess." Imagine being a child growing up with a Latino background and finding out there is going to be a princess just like you and then seeing the princess and she looks nothing like you. It was probably a huge let down for hundreds of little girls and I can definitely see where the controversy started.

As a full-time babysitter when I am home, I have probably watched the whole Disney series 30 times over. A couple of years ago, Princess and the Frog came out. This was the first dark-skinned princess in Disney history! I couldn't wait to watch it, and it was an amazing movie. Disney really out-did themselves.

Over this summer, the girls I babysit started talking about a Princess Sofia on Disney and the new movie and television series that just started. I can honestly say that while watching this movie and television series, I had no idea that she was supposed to represent a Latino background. After reading the article and your response to it, I'm shocked with what Disney had to say. I think that if Disney really wanted to come out with a Latin culture princess, then they should have stuck to that, and not a "multi-cultural princess." Imagine being a child growing up with a Latino background and finding out there is going to be a princess just like you and then seeing the princess and she looks nothing like you. It was probably a huge let down for hundreds of little girls and I can definitely see where the controversy started.

Coming from someone who is Puerto Rican I thought this post was very interesting. Growing up I never felt upset due to the fact that there were never any Hispanic princesses. Being able to relate to someone is not always based on physical traits. If you’re going to idolize someone I don’t think it would be based upon the way they look but rather their personality and the things they believe that are similar to you. When I was growing up all of the main Disney princesses were white. I don’t think at a young age we are concerned with race. I’m almost positive most little girls had a favorite princess that wasn’t the same race as them. I know growing up I liked Cinderella based on her story and the fact that she wasn’t the most popular amongst her sisters. I could relate to her and have sympathy for her. Also Cinderella is blonde hair and blue eyed while I am a brunette and have hazel eyes and I still am able to relate to her. Also I think that if Disney were to try and make a princess that satisfied more ethnicities it would cause problems. It would be difficult to cover all the different ethnicities. I found this article very interesting mainly because, this issue had never crossed my mind and I could see how it may be problematic.

I love Disney movies, so I obviously just HAD to click on your article! I was very interested to hear that Disney would be creating a Latin princess, but was disappointed when I read that they backed out on the idea. I grew up watching the different Disney princesses on my TV (my favorite was Jasmine), but looking back, I now wonder why they never did anything with an African princess (Lion King doesn’t count) or a princess from South America. I agree 100% when you say that Disney needs to start representing more cultures! I think that it would certainly draw people’s attention in a good way and it would definitely bring in more money for them. Also, I agree with you when you say that Disney needs to get their act together because we are a more accepting society today.

I came to this article because Disney's Princesses were so much for me when I was a little girl, I had to read more about it. By reading the beginning of the article, I thought that Disney was going to create a Princess for each culture. I'm disappointed to learn that Sofia is given fair skin and bleu eyes. I don't understand why the creators decided to change her look, she was going to become a model for Latina girls. For me, my favorite princess was Ariel, because I was believing that mermaid existed. When you are a little girl, you believe that one day you are going to have the same life than your favorite Princess, it makes you dream. Your article was really well written, good job!

Being a Mexican-American female myself, I have always been a little sad that the most magical place on earth never showcased my own ethnicity through a Disney princess. I love Disney so much because I always visited the parks with my grandparents, so this “princess scandal” that might seem like such a small issue actually hits home with me! Just as any other little girl (and grown-up girl let’s be honest), I have always been fascinated by the uniqueness of each individual princess’ culture and how it was portrayed in the movies. I understand Disney’s want of showcasing a “multi-cultural” princess because not everybody out there is one single race or ethnicity. However, I think in their efforts to do that with Princess Sofia, they ended up missing a big opportunity to create an amazing story with another rich cultural background and a beautiful princess to represent Latina girls! A Hispanic princess would have definitely been an awesome addition to the princess saga and allow more girls (including myself) to identify a favorite princess that represents their general background. Overall I agree with you that every girl needs her own princess to identify with and really like the connection you made that the continuation of creating princesses with different ethnicities not only benefits more people identify with Disney, but it also would help Disney’s profit! Your response was really fun and interesting to read because not only do I love Disney, but also addressing the cultural aspects of the princesses made me think about how cool it would be for my own ethnicity to be represented on Disney’s big screen!

This article caught my attention right away. Disney was always my favorite growing up and I think it is such a good move to incorporate more ethnicities into their princesses. However, they are failing to do so. It's most little girls's dreams to grow up to be like a Disney Princess. Shouldn't every girl around the world have a princess "role model" that is of the same background as them? My favorite growing up was Cinderella, mostly because she's blonde haired-blue eyed like me. Your article has brought attention to a topic that affects many people. Great job!

I grew up watching Disney; my parents joined the Disney Fan Club for me, bought me all the VHS tapes and Disney merchandise. As a little girl, I also did a lot of role taking because like every little girl, I wanted to be a princess and wanted the fictional life of a Disney princess. I feel like Disney princesses are and always will be role models to girls growing up. For example, I am Asian and I wanted to exactly like Mulan because she was an Asian princess and I thought I could relate to her a little more than the other princesses. Little girls coming from the Latin background won’t get to feel the sense of finding their princess because the princess’ appearances do matter. Little girls are attracted to the princess that looks the most like them and who they can relate to the most.

Growing up I always watched Disney Channel and my favorite princess was Cinderella. As a child I didn’t even realize that these princesses represented different races/cultures. It’s sad to hear that Princess Sofia will not represent Hispanic children but multicultural children. Now that I am older I still respect Disney’s effort to be more diverse, for example, when Princess Tiana was added; the first black princess it made me feel good knowing that little African American girls can watch TV and see someone that resembles them. As the rate of multicultural children increase I feel like it’s a smart move on Disney’s part because not everyone can relate to mixed race children. I agree with you that Disney needs to make a better effort to represent all cultures because certain races are hardly depicted on TV. Your response was well written and the title was catchy in my opinion because I saw the word Disney. Overall, you did a good job and I look forward to seeing more of your writing.

I thought this was very well written, as well as a relatable, interesting topic to choose! I also believe Disney should’ve have mis-advertised their next Princess as Latino, because she is clearly not. If I was a 10 year old girl, I would to be mad at Disney. When I was little I also had a favorite princess, who was Jasmine, which I looked up to, and always wanted to be. I believe all girls should have someone of their nationality in the Disney princesses to be able to look up to. I also believe Disney should branch out and create multiple, diverse Princesses, as well as princes. I will always love classic Disney movies, and I will always love my all my favorite princesses. I believe Disney should continue creating diverse princesses, for all girls of any age and nationality, to be a fan of.

This article caught my attention because I didn’t know that Disney had decided to create a new princess. I believe that Disney should have a princess that represents every ethnicity. As you mention as girls we do choose a princess when we are young and we want to be her. When I was young the only one that we could identify as being different was in fact Jasmine. Although as a child, not knowing any better she does look a bit like all the others. It is only when you are older that you truly connect that she is an Arabian Princess.

Like you mentioned Disney clams that their princess aren't supposed to represent a particular cultural or ethnic group. Yet they have Mulan that is obviously from china and that Chinese culture is strongly represented. Then there is Pocahontas, Tiana and Merida. You can connect most of the princesses to a certain location, a certain cultural group and a certain ethnic groups because the stories are usually based from that certain region or culture. I also believe that Disney should just represent the different cultural and ethnic groups because we all connect them anyway.

Since I was a little girl, I grew up watching the multiple Disney movies. I wanted to be a princess as every other little girls. We can say that Disney is my childhood and that is why your article caught my attention.

You raised a question in your blog asking that although Disney insists that the princess characters are not supposed to represent any culture in reality, are we really going to believe their statement. Well, in my opinion, I do no believe this. Many princess examples can prove that Disney had used ethnic representation in their movies. As you mentioned earlier, Princess Jasmine does obviously symbolize Arabian culture due to her look; the eye color, face tint and her dressing, as well as the movie's location. Other princesses like Mulan strongly represents the Asian background, more precisely the Chinese culture. Also, Pocahontas is evidently representing the Native Americans. Although Disney states that they represent "multicultural heritage", viewers, especially little girls, will just relate them to a precise ethnic group.

Moreover, you said in the article that Disney should make "Princesses with different ethnicity's so they can better represent the women and young girls of the world". I totally agree with you. While watching Disney's Princess movies, little girls are in search of their identity through the characters. After finding a particular princess that looks like the little girl, she relates herself to the princess because of the similarity in the representation. In other words, it is true that she chooses her own princess character. That is as if it has become a trend in childhood that every girl does it. When I was young, my Disney princess was Mulan. I chose her because of the fact that we share the same origin, culture and look. Her black straight hair, dark-colored eyes, slim face... Also, because that this princess movie tells about a real Chinese story which the daughter secretly replaced her father to go to the army. Therefore, I strongly suggests that Disney should give every princess an ethnicity.

Here is another article that I found about Disney princess Sofia's issue: http://www.usatodayeducate.com/staging/index.php/ccp/disney-princess-sof...

I think that we need not be this outraged by the lack of ethnicity in the Disney Princess movies for one main reason. The race of the princesses is not selected in order to favour Caucasian skin tones but rather to fit the story. Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Snow White have white skin simply because they are characters from European fairy tales from the nineteenth century. Most of their stories are from France and Germany whose populations in those times were almost exclusively white. The princesses have been ethnic where it made sense with the story. Pocahontas was indeed a native american. Jasmine was indeed Indian. It would however have been an issue if Jasmine had been a white girl with blonde hair. In the same manner, it wold have been an issue if Merida (from Brave) would have been Asian.

Furthermore, children do not relate to one princess or another because their physical traits are the same. Children admire or "choose" their princesses based on the story they lived and its relate-ability to them, to the princesses personality and sometimes even to her singing voice. I know that personally my very white younger cousins favourite princesses are Tiana and Mulan. What I am trying to get at here is that it is not an issue of race but rather that they simply have not yet created a story fitting for a princess of Latina origin.

It is regrettable however that Disney changed their minds after having made an original announcement. However, I am sure a Latina princess will arise when an appropriate story does.

I think that we need not be this outraged by the lack of ethnicity in the Disney Princess movies for one main reason. The race of the princesses is not selected in order to favour Caucasian skin tones but rather to fit the story. Cinderella, Aurora, Belle, and Snow White have white skin simply because they are characters from European fairy tales from the nineteenth century. Most of their stories are from France and Germany whose populations in those times were almost exclusively white. The princesses have been ethnic where it made sense with the story. Pocahontas was indeed a native american. Jasmine was indeed Indian. It would however have been an issue if Jasmine had been a white girl with blonde hair. In the same manner, it wold have been an issue if Merida (from Brave) would have been Asian.

Furthermore, children do not relate to one princess or another because their physical traits are the same. Children admire or "choose" their princesses based on the story they lived and its relate-ability to them, to the princesses personality and sometimes even to her singing voice. I know that personally my very white younger cousins favourite princesses are Tiana and Mulan. What I am trying to get at here is that it is not an issue of race but rather that they simply have not yet created a story fitting for a princess of Latina origin.

It is regrettable however that Disney changed their minds after having made an original announcement. However, I am sure a Latina princess will arise when an appropriate story does.

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