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Monday, March 9, 2009

Grab Your Backpack - Let's Shop!

It was recently announced that Dora the Explorer will be getting a makeover this fall. Now, instead of a wholesome little girl who loves going on adventures and solving problems, Dora will be heading to the mall. Hooray! Just the kind of role model I want my daughters to have! You can read the full press release here.

Apparently the Nickelodeon and Mattel have found out (from who?) that the Kindergarten set are too cool for Dora, tossing her aside for dolls like Bratz. So they have decided to do the creepiest thing possible and make Dora look like a slut. They have released a sillhouette of what the "new" Dora will look like:

Yup. I'm a little scared too. Why is she standing like that? Is she wearing a mini skirt? Dora doesn't wear skirts-she wears shorts! And how can she expect to go on adventures wearing ballet flats? Where are her sneakers?

Now I have done my share of bitching about Dora. In fact, my girls can only watch it if I am not in the room because I really just cannot handle it. But it's not a show for me. It's for preschoolers. And they love it. My 3 year old has a larger Spanish vocabulary than I have, and I studied that language for 4 years in high school. When we're coloring, she asks me to pass her "amarillo" when she wants the yellow crayon. Will we be learning the Spanish word for "totally" when the new Dora is revealed?

Kids outgrow things. It happens. I think the better way to approach this may have been to create a family member (a la Diego) for the older crowd. Maybe an older bobble-headed cousin if that's the demographic they want to reach out to. To make your cartoon characters age is stange and creepy. Especially since so many girls (and their parents!) are comfortable with Dora the way she is. Besides, Nickelodeon has Spongebob and we all know about his cross-generational appeal. There are men in their late twenties living in their parent's basements that can't get enough of that guy.

New Dora will not be banned in my house. I don't think it will be necessary. My girls relate to Dora the Explorer, not Dora the Mallrat. If anything, I think Diego will start to have more appeal. That is, at least until his voice deepens and he starts to sprout facial hair.

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