From an Associated Press story, reporting on the widespread objections among mom-bloggers to the “new Dora” doll planned for October:
Mattel and Nickelodeon both say there are two major misconceptions about the new Dora, which is not replacing the “Dora the Explorer” cartoon, but will be a new interactive doll aimed at the five-to eight-year-old, or tween market.
“People care so deeply about this brand and this character,” Leigh Anne Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon Viacom Consumer Products, says. “The Dora that we all know and love is not going away.”
“I think there was just a misconception in terms of where we were going with this,” Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing at Mattel, says. “Pretty much the moms who are petitioning aging Dora up certainly don’t understand. . . . I think they’re going to be pleasantly happy once this is available in October, and once they understand this certainly isn’t what they are conjuring up.”
Part of the confusion stemmed from the silhouette that was released, which made Dora look more like a Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan than a young girl. For the record, the doll does not wear a short dress, but a tunic and leggings. And while she looks older (she’s supposed to be about 10), with longer jewelry and longer hair, she doesn’t have makeup and seems pretty much like a 10-year-old girl.
Nickelodeon and Mattel say that as part of unrelated research, they found parents wanted a way to keep Dora in their children’s lives and have their daughters move on to a toy that was age appropriate.
“The idea is Dora for more girls,” Brodsky says. “The whole point was this was created because moms said help us.”
Oh, those silly, silly moms! When will they realize that Nickelodeon and Mattel only want to help?
But then again… compare and contrast:
(Also, it looks to me like maybe the image on the left is wearing a dress, which cuts off at knee-level, as opposed to the tunic on the right which cuts off much higher and is worn with leggings. Silhouette found here and here.)
Confusingly, there’s another silhouette illustration of the New Dora I’ve seen, which is just the non-silhouette illustration with the details blacked out. As far as I can tell, Mattel released two different teaser silhouette drawings, but I’m not sure of the timing.
Honestly, assuming the newer illustration reflects what the doll will look like, things could be much worse. The original Dora will still be on TV. Dora’s new outfit is funky and fashionable, without being overly sexualized as the Bratz outfits are. And I’m always happy to see a mainstream doll that’s not white. There’s still a ton wrong, but there are way worse dolls on the market.
But still — the original Dora was ever so much cooler.
More blogging about “New Dora”:
Womanist Musings: Dora The Explorer Matters To Boys
Sociological Images: Seeing Is Believing
Viva La Feminista: Why Mattel and Nick Have It Wrong (Highly recommended. Check out her Dora tag as well, for more Dora-themed posts.)
The Hand Mirror: Dora’s new silhouette announced
Embrace Your Age: Keep Dora Exploring!
The Mommy Files: Dora The New Sexy Explorer
Feministing: The New Dora
Finally, let me link to my own post from 2007, to make the point that this isn’t the first time Dora’s owners have thought “boy, if we could only sell a thinner, more girly Dora doll, we’d make a killing!”