By Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez
For The Feminist Wire (10/23/12)
Is it a coincidence that Disney launched the promotional campaign for its first Hispanic Princess Sofia weeks before the 2012 Presidential election? Maybe. But I can’t help but ponder the larger implications of thinking through “Hispanic” activists being “pissed” about the new Disney princess not debuting in a feature film without linking it to Obama’s fluctuating position on immigration.
In a time of crisis, where numerous Latino children and their families are targets for deportation and criminalized for their brown skin, Princess Sofia is a distraction. Historically speaking, Sofia might be Disney’s first princess, but there are other famous and royals and Sofias who carry Hispanic herencia, including Sofía, current Reina de España and Sofía Vergara, Columbian comedienne, reina of ABC’s Modern Family, and how could we forget the reina of Tejano music, Selena as a part of this amalgam. Thus, we might read Disney’s Princess Sofia as a intertextual citation of these three reinas, and a means of creating a Diva figure for Latina/o youth to emulate and identify with.
As scholar Deborah Paredez has noted about youth who perform the Latina Diva’s legacy through song and affect, “donning the outfit of a diva…harnesses the power of Selena’s embodiment of becoming to convey her own non-traditional, non-white budding sexuality.”3 But here’s the hitch with Princess Sofia’s Diva pose: instead of proposing brown skin as a positive, and potentially boundary-breaking figure that disrupts normativity, her whiteness and accidental Princessness (she’s adopted and saved by a royal family) recapitulate to the original and somewhat false signification of whiteness associated with la reinaSofía and España and not necessarily the other versions of being a queen posed by Vergara and Selena.
Original article continues at The Feminist Wire