Photo Credit: Disney Channel
I’ve often wondered why the mothers are always dead in the Disney Princess stories. I figure it’s that if the mom was alive and well, the writers would miss all sorts of plot opportunities starring the vicious, evil stepmother. I’ve also questioned whether Disney would ever get a clue and give little girls a royal role model whose singular goal in life wasn’t to land the handsome prince.
Hopefully that’s what we’re going to get with Disney’s newest noble. According to The New York Times, the company plans to announce the upcoming debut of Sofia the First starring Disney’s premier pint-size princess. The show will air on Disney Channel and Disney Junior and is aimed at kids ages 2 to 7. Sofia, the first Disney princess who isn't an adult, will have "plenty of pretty dresses and sparkly shoes," said Nancy Kanter, general manager for Disney Junior Worldwide, but episodes will teach viewers that "what makes a real princess is what’s inside, not what’s outside." (We’d be more inclined to believe that if Sofia wasn’t quite so darlingly doe-eyed.)
The Times acknowledges that despite "uniform positivity" of focus groups, Disney is prepared for criticism and emphasizes that "Sofia the First" will focus on learning and what it says are age-appropriate themes such as the importance of getting along with siblings and how to be kind and generous.
I’m sort of on the fence about this one. On the one hand, do we need another sparkly, syrupy, impossibly pretty (and, let’s just say it, white) cartoon supernova for our daughters to idolize? On the other hand, little girls love princesses, period. Even if you try to shield them from the noble lineup, eventually they’ll see their friends’ princess paraphernalia (Snow White and friends generate around $4 billion in annual retail sales -- that’s a lot of lunch boxes and backpacks) and likely want a piece of the action. Maybe offering a mini-monarch who isn’t a boy-crazy bimbo and who the preschool crowd might actually be able to relate to isn’t such a bad idea after all.
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