22 January 2010
Dora the Expl- what the fuck?
I am the last person on Earth who gives a fuck about children's entertainment unless I am sitting through it. Generally this is limited to watching Disney movies during my substitute teaching job, Pixar films, and the Transformers cartoon series from the 1980's. Nonetheless, even I know about Dora the Explorer.
The other day while taking a short cut across a store through the toy section, I saw the new 'tween Dora. I did a double take, literally. Back home, I searched online and discovered I am the last person on the planet to know about this.
The market is overflowing with overly feminized toys that instill traditional woman's roles and ideals into children. That's what Barbie and Bratz dolls are for. Once in a while, it would be nice to have a female cartoon figure that doesn't have to be prettied up. Taking away the rare character who is androgynous or - dare I say - a tomboy will alienate a lot of little girls who aren't instinctively drawn to the girly-girl imagery that they are surrounded by.
The old Dora wasn't even what many would call unfeminine or tomboy-ish. She wears traditional feminine colors, wears jewelry, and she was already marketed to be performing traditional female roles. She's unfeminine; she wasn't ultra-feminine.While her old image was closer to that of a normal little girl, her new grown-up appearance appears as an idealized anime-style girly-girl caricature.
A parent quoted in this article says it best:
"One group of parents has started an online petition protesting the change. "What next? Dora the cheerleader? Dora the fashionista with stylish purse and stilettos?" the petition reads. "We can expect it all, because that's what passes as 'tween' in the toy department these days.""
Mostly though, it just feels unnecessary. Mattel has said that they are updating Dora to keep up with their growing audience, so it is a marketing decision. Yet the makeover is so radical that it appears as completely different character rather than the one that has been shaped to be loved by younger children. Why bother changing her so drastically when she is basically being replaced by someone new-
Oh. Goddamn snipers! Those cowards ruin everything.
"Thanks for standing still, wankah!"