Dora the Explorer Grows Up and Gets a Makeover
Filed under: In The News
Dora the Explorer is a spunky, kind-hearted, bilingual kid who spends all of her time outdoors having adventures with her dearly loved friends. Until she grows up, that is. Nickelodeon and Mattel announced their new Dora Explorer Girls line yesterday, marketed to kids 5 and way over. That's right...Dora is now a a tween.
The new Dora, who will be revealed in the fall, lives in the big city and goes to middle school. She still solves mysteries but she's abandoned outdoor adventure for shopping, jewelry and fashion. She's also computer savvy; her new fans -- other tween girls -- will be able to plug into virtual Dora playtime on a new site.
"(The Dora's Explorer Girls brand) empowers girls to influence and change the lives of Dora and her new friends," says a press release from Mattel and Nickelodeon. What I wish that doll makers understood is that power shopping is not empowering. We've got a market full of Barbie, Bratz and Polly Pockets that already do a fine job of teaching girls about lip gloss, heels and consumerism.
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Dora has always offered girls something different. I hope that tween Dora is still brave, active and doesn't mind setting herself apart from the crowd. I mean, her best friend is (or was -- no word on what's happening to Boots) a talking monkey. Can Barbie say that?
Maybe I'm judging the new Dora too quickly. After all, all we've only seen her silhouette. But that flowing hair and those long, skinny legs give me great pause. My three-year-old adores Dora just the way she is. But she also loves "big girls." The minute she sees Tween Dora, will her devotion to that spunky little adventurer fade for a fashionista middle schooler?
It's like this: When Dora first showed up on the scene, she was an adventurer. But then her cousin Diego came along and suddenly Dora's toys were offering girls two options: princess or babysitter (to Dora's twin baby brother and sister). My hope for Dora's Explorer Girls is that they open up a whole new world of choices for girls 5 and up, not box them in even further.
Are you excited that your big girls will now have their own Dora to play with, or do you wish that Mattel and Nickelodeon had just left Dora alone?
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.