Dora the Explorer, the little girl with the outdoor adventures with her backpack and monkey pal Boots, is growing up and moving to "the city". Yeah, ok, you're thinking so what? Well, this is actually sparking some controversy because in their effort to build chatter and excitement about this, Mattel and Nickelodeon have only released a silhouette of what the new Dora looks like:

The new Dora image has sparked some anger and discussion that this is some kind of "sexy Dora". On that point, I'm reserving judgment. After staring an inordinate amount of time at this silhouette, I can't say that that's what going on. She could easily be wearing leggins under her (apparent) skirt--which is the popular style at the moment with younger girls and is not a "short skirt sexy" look (like Bratz). With ballet flats (hey, I said I stared at it a long time!). She may actually just look like a normal--re: non-sexy--tween/teen (as they do get taller, longer legs/arms). I think Mattel & Nick have made an error in the using a silhouette though, as "silhouettes" tend to go for the sexy & mysterious. So, as I said, I'm reserving judgment on a "completely abhorrent sexy Bratz-like look" aspect, since there's no way to tell yet.

There are some valid critiques for this new venture, though. Dora will still be solving mysteries (taking place mostly in her middle school, according to the press release) and a fan can follow along with other mysteries in a new online world (with a plug-and-play doll that uploads new mysteries and new 'online Dora world info' even when off the computer and playing with the doll). Which, you know, isn't so bad. It'd actually be pretty darn cool to have a whole online mystery sort of world for tweens, particularly aimed at tween girls. But, of course, that's not wholly the case:
The cornerstone of the entire line is the Dora Links fashion doll. By plugging the doll into the computer, girls can access Dora’s brand-new interactive online world. This exciting innovation in computer-connected play offers girls a unique interactive experience: as girls are playing online they can customize their doll and watch as she magically transforms right before their eyes. For example, by changing Dora’s hair length, jewelry, and eye color on screen, the Dora doll magically changes as well.
Because solving mysteries just isn't enough, right? And because you can imagine a whole new line of Dora lip gloss to sell, right? Look, I'm not going to say that some tweens don't like this sort of thing. Many do. But you know what? Most of the same tweens plus others also like solving mysteries (like their focus group said!). Girls like adventure. They like figuring stuff out. Girls don't need more dress-up, "fashionista" stuff. They do need more of the mystery-solvin', adventure-havin' fun (you know, like the "baby show Dora") because there is a distinct lack of that for tweens.

Frankly, the whole thing is a craven money-grabbing attempt by Mattel and Nick who are trying to siphon off customers from the American Girl market (not so much the Bratz line, IMO). Which, of course, is what they're in the business to do. I don't believe one instant they care one whit about "girls [continuing] to learn and interact with their Latina heroine, Dora, as they grow up together" (per press release). If they did, they'd try for less fashion-plated fluff that young girls just don't need any more of pushed at them so they can make cheap accessories to sell and they'd concentrate more on empowerment with mystery-solvin' brain-power. Which, btw, they could also sell.

No, there's no word on if Diego, Dora's boy cousin counter-part with his own show, has grown-up. I suspect that a tween Diego just doesn't have enough accessory-sellin' appeal.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus