Saturday, March 07, 2009

6512: Dora Explores Her Femininity…?

From The New York Daily News…

Dora the Explorer dolls get controversial new look

By Christina Boyle, Daily News staff Writer

Dora the Explorer is getting a makeover.

The cutsie cartoon character is ditching her shorts and the neat little backpack for what her creators are calling a “new fashionable look.”

Although the new Dora will not be officially unveiled until fall, Nickelodeon and Mattel released a silhouette of the revamped figure that shows her with long locks, a short skirt and pointed ballet pumps.

And it has some parents up in arms.

“What next? Dora the Cheerleader? Dora the fashionista with stylish purse and stilettos? Dora the Pop Star with Hoppin’ Dance Club and “Juice” Bar?” says an online petition started by two moms, Lyn Mikel Brown and Sharon Lamb, who coauthored the book Packaging Girlhood.

“We can expect it all, because that’s what passes as “tween” in the toy department these days.”

Creators of Dora the Explorer, a favorite character among preschoolers that teaches kids English and Spanish, say they are just making her move with the times.

The tweenage Dora will live in the big city, attend middle school and have a new wardrobe and accessories.

“For nearly ten years, Dora the Explorer has had such a strong following among preschoolers, catapulting it into the number one preschool show on commercial television,” said Gina Sirard, Mattel’s vice president of marketing.

“Girls really identify with Dora and we knew that girls would love to have their friend Dora grow up with them, and experience the new things that they were going through themselves.

“The brand captures girls’ existing love of Dora and marries it with the fashion doll play and online experiences older girls enjoy.”

Critics say they would prefer Dora to grow up true to the character she is as a child.

“If the Dora we knew grew up, she wouldn’t be a fashion icon or a shopaholic. She’d develop her map reading skills and imagine the places she could go,” the petition says.

“It’s such a sell out of Dora, of all girls.”

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