Friday, March 6, 2009

"Dora the Explora-Whore-A"

For those of you without a daughter to raise, the happenings in the girl's toys and entertainment world might not be the first thing on your mind. But for me, the images marketed to girls are always on my mind. And, not surprisingly, the toys that are being marketed to young girls today are more sexualized, more anorexized (is that a word?), and more vapid than ever. In other words, toy companies and children's entertainment corporations have decided to send this message to our daughters: "Be skinny! Be cute! Be sexy! And don't be too smart!" Because, you know, it's better to teach these lessons to girls when they're young enough to fully absorb them.

Ruby watches very little tv, but if she had her way, she'd be hooked up to a "Dora the Explorer" IV. She loves Dora. She reads Dora books and kisses her Dora pillowcase; she sings the Dora song and dances the Dora dance, and she's even working on her Spanish (she's a pro at "pantalones"). And for the most part, I'm comfortable with this. Dora is short ans squat. She looks like a toddler. She's brown. She's bilingual. She's fearless and adventurous and compassionate. She's not the typical scrawny, blond image that Ruby will be inundated with as soon as she gets to watch television outside of our home or walk down a toy aisle.

But unfortunately, "Dora the Explorer" is the latest fictionalized heroine to get a corporate makeover. Coming this fall will be a new, tween Dora who's got new friends, a greater focus on fashion, and according to all insiders who have seen the doll mock-up, a tiny waste, and long flowing hair that is not quite appropriate for tree-swinging, and climbing a snowy mountain with her pal Boots.

Dora will go from this: To this:

Say What?
Of course, Dora isn't the first girls' idol to be transformed from an imagination toy into a hyper-sexed version of its former self.

The My Little Pony of my youth was a chubby, stumpy-legged horse:
Today? She's got a slender build, an upturned rump, long, flirty lashes, and she looks like she's ready for something entirely unwholesome:
The Barbies I played with (who were, admittedly, little vixens) came with their own set of expectations about what a woman's body should look like. But today, girls are playing with Bratz dolls, and let's just say the lips on those dolls were not meant for whistling.
You can sign a petition to encourage Mattel and Nickelodeon (the network airing Dora episodes) to release the Dora likeness, or create a pre-teen character who is "true to who she was as a child."

4 comments:

Allyson said...

this stuff is repulsive. it's sending me on a furious tangent in my head that ends with you and i busting in (aka kicking the door down buffy-style)on some corporate mattel or nickelodeon meeting where they invent all this shit and bashing them all in with our baseball bats. what? i don't have anger issues....
for serious, this literally turns my stomach.

kzal said...

They're destroying the reason people LOVE Dora. I will ABSOLUTELY sign the petition.

Allyson said...

ps- i was a tiny bit drunk when i wrote that comment.

Feministy said...

Allyson, I'm into your baseball bat idea. I don't think it's taking it to far and, as you know, I'm always in favor of handling "disagreements" (i.e., a-hole anti-feminists who do f'd-up stuff) with force.

And Krista, you're right - Dora is only lovable because she's smart and clever and adventurous. If these corporate hacks think Dora needs a teensy waist and swishy hair, it's because they've got problems, not becuase toddler girls are demanding a pimped-out Dora!