Amber has every right to hate Sophia. I should know.

My daughter loves Sophia the First.

For those of you without small children, this is one of the latest Disney princesses with a television show and a seemingly endless line of merchandise. Other than the fact that her head is three times the size of her waist and her eyes are scary big, she seems harmless.


Clara loves Sophia. When we play with her Sophia the First toys or she dons her Sophia the First dress, she forces me to play with Amber, Sophia’s similarly dimorphic, stereotypically bitchy stepsister.


It’s fine. As an author, I recognize the need for conflict in storytelling. I don’t mind playing the bad guy.

I’m actually great at playing the bad guy, as many of my students would attest. 

Then I gave Clara a Sophia the First book and read it aloud to her. I had never watched the show, so for the first time, I learned the story of this new anorexic Disney princess.

Sophia and her mother live alone. There is no father in the picture, and his absence is never explained. Sophia’s mother marries King Roland, and Sophia instantly becomes a princess. Roland has two children, Amber and James. Their mother is also inexplicably missing.

Maybe she ran off with Sophia’s father.

Take note Disney. That would be an awesome storyline.

As a result of the marriage, Amber and James become Sophia’s stepsiblings.

As a way of welcoming Sophia into the family, Roland gives Sophia the Amulet of Avalor. This amulet allows Sophia to call on any prior Disney princess in time of need. It also allows her to speak to animals and grow a mermaid tale and swim like a fish.

Because that makes sense.

Amber was Roland’s motherless princess daughter long before Sophia appeared, and yet Roland chose to keep the most powerful magical amulet in the world stuffed in some drawer until his new stepdaughter came along.

If I were Amber, I’d be angry, too.

If I were Amber, I’d want to rip Sophia’s oversized head right off her undersized body.

I know I seem a little overly invested in this show. I shouldn’t be so emotionally attached to a Disney princess, but please understand this:

I have been playing the role of Amber, both with plastic Amber figures and in real life, for years now. I’m no great actor, but even an amateur like me, with a smidgen of local theater under his belt, can get attached to a role and begin to empathize for a character.

I feel Amber’s pain. I know Amber at her core.

More importantly, I know Sophia. She is a a spoiled, self-righteous, falsely modest, ditzy jerkface who is trying to steal the love of King Roland and become his favored child.

She must be stopped.

The Wizard of Oz versus Star Wars

Late last week I “stirred up a hornet’s nest” by writing a piece arguing that the reason Hasbro markets Easy Bake Ovens solely to girls is because the vast majority of children who want an Easy Bake Oven are girls, and the company has no obligation to the minority of boys who might want one.

This was not a chicken-or-egg debate over why more girls prefer the Easy Bake Oven than boys (though some wanted to make it one). I was simply arguing the logic behind Hasbro’s decision from a business perspective.  

But the chicken-or-egg debate is an interesting one as well, and one worth discussing. In terms of why more girls than boys prefer this toy, I thought this TED Talk was the perfect place to begin thinking about the issue: