Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Dora’s Disappointing Makeover

posted by Nell Minow

Here is the opening paragraph of a new press release:
Mattel, Inc. (NYSE:MAT) and Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products (NVCP), announced today that Dora the Explorer™ is growing up! The companies have introduced a whole new way to look at Dora for girls five years and up. This groundbreaking initiative, featuring fashion dolls and accessories, is a completely new brand extension that empowers girls to influence and change the lives of Dora and her new friends. It’s innovative, diverse, wholesome, bi-lingual and entertaining.
“A whole new way to look at Dora” and “a completely new brand extension” both translate to “more things for us to sell,” of course. And my heart sinks to hear of plucky little Dora being turned into a “brand extension” “featuring fashion dolls and accessories.” So Dora is going to turn into Barbie now, all about what she wears and has instead of what she does and what she learns?
Judy Berman wrote on Salon’s Broadsheet that this makes the new middle schooler Dora “with a whole new fashionable look” sound like she’s becoming a Gossip Girl.

(S)tarting this fall, for the not-terribly-recession-conscious price of $59.99, your five year old will also be able to buy an older, doll version of the character. Though Mattel and Nick are waiting a few months to reveal exactly what she’ll look like, a bizarre silhouette accompanying the press release shows that, at the very least, Dora will have long hair and be decked out in a short skirt or dress and a pair of flats.

Dora_Silhouette_Final.jpg
Berman does not think this will go over very well with kids. “You can put a skirt on Dora and cinch her waist, but by the time kids reach kindergarten, they may well think of Dora as ‘baby stuff.’” But the authors of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes, Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D and Sharon Lamb, Ed.D, have put up an online petition calling for Mattel and Nickelodeon to halt Dora’s makeover.

What happened? FIRST it was Dora’s Magic Talking Kitchen, THEN Dora Princess, THEN Dora Babysitter in her cousin’s show, NOW DORA TWEEN.

Alas, we saw the signs. The cute flower lip gloss, the pinkified look, the sudden separation of Dora and Diego shows…What next? Dora the Cheerleader? Dora the fashionista with stylish purse and stilettos? Dora the Pop Star with Hoppin’ Dance Club and “Juice” Bar? We can expect it all, because that’s what passes as “tween” in the toy department these days….

dorathe-explorerposters1.jpg

We know that if the original Dora 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. She’d capitalize on those problem solving skills to design new ways to bring fresh water to communities in need around the world. Maybe she’d become a world class runner or follow her love of animals and become a wildlife preservationist or biologist. We’ll never know because the only way a girl can grow up in tween town, is to narrow that symphony of choices to one note. It’s such a sell out of Dora, of all girls.

I agree. It’s a sell-out of Dora and of her fans, another example of popular culture promoting the idea that any girl over age 5 doesn’t care about anything but how she looks.



  • http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/no-makeover-for-dora-the-explorer Jen

    This is a link to a petition.

  • Lisa

    This is nauseating. Mattel should be ashamed… our daughters already have bratz, barbie, and princesses shoved down their throats. Dora is the ONLY one who actually DOES things, solves problems, has adventures. Don’t any of these toy execs have daughters of their own? Sign the peition, and write to Mattel!

  • http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Dora_Makeover/ Megan

    The link to the Save Dora petition is: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Dora_Makeover/. Thanks for signing on!

  • Sarah

    I am pretty choosy about the female characters I expose my almost 4 year old daughter to and I can honestly say I LOVE Dora the Explorer. She is smart, kind, adventurous, brave and doesn’t need to be saved by a man, nor is she interested in boys, romance, or physical appearance. She gets things done and teaches her viewers so much. I can’t believe this is happening. She is about the only female character who isn’t characterized in a sexualized manner. Sign the petition and write mattel. I did!

  • Random

    I don’t get why so many of you are making such a big deal about this when you have no idea what she looks like. So what if her hair is longer, and I’m sorry to all of you mothers who don’t want any skirts to be 2 inches above the ankle. I would recommend actually seeing her new design before judging, because so far all we have seen is the outline.

  • Nell Minow

    I am keeping an open mind, but from what we’ve seen so far — not just the drawing but the description — there is enough to justify some serious concern. Turning this bright, curious, adventuresome, and brave little girl into a fashion doll is more than just giving her longer hair and shorter skirts.
    When the doll comes on the market, I will write about it again, good or bad.

  • Your Name

    I READ THAT AN ESTIMATED 21.1 MILLION VIEWERS TUNE INTO WATCHING DORA, SO WHY CHANGE HER? MY 4 YEAR OLD LITTLE GIRL HAS BEEN WATCHING HER SINCE SHE WAS 1 YEARS OLD ON NOGGIN. I LOVE DORA’S “LITTLE GIRL” IMAGE…NOT THE SHORT SKIRTS, OR THE CURVY BODY. I ALSO LOVE HOW MY FOUR YEAR OLD TEACHES ME SPANISH. I COULDN’T EVEN IMAGINE WATCHING DORA AS A “PRISSY” GIRL. MY DAUGHTER IS USED TO WATCHING THE DORA NOW, SO SHE’S NOT EVEN GOING TO RECOGNIZE THE NEW AND IMPROVED DORA.WE ALSO PURCHASE SO MUCH OF THE CLOTHES, i.e. P.J.’S, BATHING SUITS, SHIRTS, AND FROM THE LOOKS OF THE NEW DORA, SHE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE SOMETHING I WOUOLD LET MY 4 YEAR OLD WALK AROUND IN. SO THERE GOES ONE OF THE 21.1 MILLION VIEWERS.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    I’m glad you share my concern but let me reassure you that the Dora on the show is staying the same; it’s the new doll and accessories that are portraying Dora as an older girl.
    I’m still hoping that Mattel will give up this idea, though.

  • http://www.mommyniri.com/ Mommy Niri

    Dora stands for so much more than Nickelodeon can fathom. It is an icon to us moms wanting more for our children so how dare they think they can get away with this.
    The focus on physical appearances is what bugs me. Kids have their entire life to be obsessed with that (and yes, obsess they will) so why do we need to push that? Let my girls be kids. Let them dig in the dirt for worms if they want to (ok, I am not that fond of worms but you get the picture).

  • Not quick to judge

    I just learned that this new Doll Will will actually be wearing a Tunic and Leggings. This New doll comes with USB cables so that they plug in to computers and goes on new adventures with friends.
    I think everyone is way to quick to jump to conclusions and is rushed to judge.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Not Quick to Judge — as I said, I am keeping an open mind, but the initial release about the new doll with its emphasis on “fashion” instead of adventures and learning is very disappointing and shows poor judgment on the part of Mattel and Nickelodeon. I hope you are right! And if the new Dora doll is worthy of the younger Dora, I will be happy to write about it.

  • Gabriela Serratos

    Please Dora dont change
    You look perfect the way you are.
    No one wants you to change.
    PLEASE DONT DO IT.

  • Rita Tiger

    I have a daycare and that is one of the few shows we watch the kida love her PLEASE dont change her ……….

  • Your Name

    I’VE BEEN WATCHING DORA… AND I LOVE IT. IM ALREADY 30 AND YET I APPRECIATE HER. DONT CHANGE DORA!!! IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT THE KIDS THAT ARE GROWING JUST LEAVE IT… HOW ABOUT THE NEXT GENERATION? HAVE YOU THINK ABOUT IT? MAKE A NEW CHARACTER IF THATS WHAT YOU INTEND TO, BUT NEVER CHANGE DORA. DORA WILL ALWAYS BE DORA. KIDS LOVE HER FOR HER APPREARANCE AND NOT FOR A NEW ONE.

  • Not quick to judge

    The new image has been posted and she is not wearing a mini Skirt. She is Wearing a Baby Doll type top with Capri Leggings and ballet flats. She looks like an older version of Dora. She still will be going on adventures but she also likes what girls in that same age frame like too 5-10 .
    When my son was little he loved Blues Clues but when he grew out of it there was no where he could go. It was way to young for him to watch and his choices for educational characters were slim. He began liking Pokemon and Yu Gi oh were is the educational value in that.
    I think this is brillant beacuse Kids grow up and we can’t stop it from happening or change it. Their taste change.
    This is a Character targeted to the girl who loved Dora as a toddler but has pulled away because she has outgrown it.
    I would rather have my daughter like the Dora older version than some of the other choices that are out there, Bratz, Littlest petshop, and even Barbie. Where is the educational value in these.
    We can not Keep our Kids from growing up.

  • Liz Gentile

    I agree that kids grow up, but they don’t go from preschooler to tween overnight…Dora looks like she went from being just potty-trained to starting puberty! This is a BIG problem in our culture with girls being exposed to sexualized images before their time. It’s horrendous.

  • Christy V

    I think this is being blown WAY out of porportion! There is nothing wrong with the new Dora, she is wearing leggings, a long shirt, flat shoes, a headband, and a matching flowered necklace and bracelet – what part of that is too sexy for a 5-10 year old little girl? My daughter is 7 and I have no problem what so ever with her seeing Dora’s makeover. Like everyone said before me, it is much better then Bratz or Barbie, AND it is not just for entertainment, she teaches kids on her show. Loosen up, you are being rediculous!!

  • Christy

    I hope people realize the following:
    1. The younger Dora is not going anywhere
    2. The older Dora is not getting her own TV show
    3. The older Dora will also not be a shopaholic obsessed with mirrors, clothes, makeup and boys. She and her new friends will be socially-conscious detectives, a bit like the Ghostwriter team from 90s, from my perspective.

  • fantasy world isn’t so bad…

    To the person posting under “not so quick to judge”:
    you ask where the educational value to toys like the Littlest Pet Shop is. Well, that would be a little notion called ” IMAGINATION”. Kids use their imagination and creativity when playing with the pets. Granted I find nothing imaginative with Bratz and that vixen, Barbie. In fact they leave *nothing* to imagination anymore with those unrealistic, image conscious dolls. The LPS pets are rather benign, yes, but watching the kids play with them and create little worlds is not as empty as you make it sound.
    As for Dora…well time will tell what influence her “growing up” has on our kids. Personally, I think it’s pretty dumb. They could’ve made a new character instead. How about Dora’s older cousin or something like that? It would’ve been a happy medium, I think.

  • chalamejor

    get a life kids grow so does dora ok !

  • Not quick to judge

    fantasy world isn’t so bad…
    You can say the kids use imagination with everything they play with including..bratz and barbie. Thats not what I was saying I was talking about the edcational stuff they stand behind. (By the way littlest pet shop is a spin off of Bratz and started out as pets that came with Bratz dolls before launching its on line.)
    I don’t think she looks like a teen or a tween I think she looks a lot like 7 to 8 year old girls. Which is smack dab in the middle of the age group they are shooting for.
    And yes i agree that having a new character would have been ideal but then they wanted to show that as you grow up you can have a lot of the same values and ideas and that growing up is natural.

  • Megan

    I don’t get it. Nobody even knows what the new show is going to really be about, yet you all have decided you hate it. So what your saying is that in order to be a successful, empowered woman you have to be ugly, not care about how you look, and have absoilutely no fashion sense at all? Listen to yourselves….and nobody said that the dora the explorer for small children was going anywhere, its not. It will be like all grown up rugrats. I think its a great idea, it will show girls, especially tweens, that you can be smart and independent, while still being beautiful, whatever your definition of beautiful may be.

  • Tonia

    4. Dora’s a cartoon character!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    5. If you have a problem with the new “tween” Dora.(Don’t let your children look, touch, or watch her).

  • http://sad J’s mommy

    I am sad that my little girl which is now 10 months old will not have the chance to watch Dora only reruns!! I have friends whose daughters love Dora and I was looking for to that!! How sad for my J!

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    J’s Mommy — the Dora we know and love will continue on the show. The “Tween” Dora will be in toys and online. So J will be able to enjoy Dora, I promise!

  • christina

    MOVE ON!!! i say that doras new makeover is excelent and there is no problem of a little girl is growing up and changing you guysd are just over reacting. doras a big girl now she does want she wants!!!! and she prettier!!!

  • yall just hating

    why is yall trippin.if yall child cant be a baby fa life.so cant dora who ever actin like dat is stupid or had a bad childhood .yall just mad cuz dora look weigh betta dan yall hater

  • Lu

    I think Teen Dora is awesome, she is cool, mod, and adorable! Please keep her! To the people that are against her; “Your children that watch her, will eventually grow up as well”! Let your children grow up with Dora! Your children don’t have the problem with change, YOU DO!Get a life!!!!!!

  • Lu

    Blah, Blah, Blah! Look how Barbie changed through the years, and she is still loved!!! I played with Barbie dolls as a child, still have my dolls, and still love her! I grew up with her and her many changes, and NEVER had to see a shrink!!!! So, I think your “Dora Lovin Kids”, with get through this “traumatic (ha ha)” change, without psychiatric treatment! As far as the parents, I question it!

  • Molly

    I think this new Dora is great. My daughter is so excited. Dora gets to grow up with her. There is nothing wrong with this new image. It is perfectly age appropriate. Kids grow up. The people who are whining about this need to as well.

  • Franny

    I think this is awful. i don’t see how anyone with a daughter can be OK with the “new Dora”. The issue isn’t about whether the new Dora is cute (and for the record, I think the old Dora is just adorable). It’s about our little girls growing up in a materialistic world that tells them “cute” is all-important. If this was just about making an older Dora, then why is the company also “moving” Dora to an urban environment? Shes an “explorer” at home in the country learning about animals and nature with her monkey pal and a compass. what is she going to explore in the city – shopping and new hair lengths? according to mattel!
    As mom to a 2-year-old, I was sick when I first strolled the girls’ toy aisles at Wal-mart and the toy stores. boys toys are about action and doing, but girls toys remain focused on being “cute” -dress up, put on make-up, wear high heels, do the same to your dolls. we say oh,this is just play – but what play is, on a very real psychological level, is practice for real life. girls are being inundated from a very young age to focus on image and materialism, and boys are being taught to expect that from girls. (there are some very disturbing studies being done on the early sexualization of children in our culture.)
    the most disappointing thing is that this is Dora. it is an opportunity for these toy companies to create something truly outside the norm – how about a tween Dora who climbs trees and plays soccer and volunteers at the zoo – wearing sneakers and shorts and a hat? i bet they’d say she wasn’t “marketable”. think about that.

  • Your Name

    I think the new “tween dora” is great for kids.she’s gowing up and so can your children.i know i will enjoy this dora because i am also a tween.if you don’t like the new dora then you probablly should “GROW UP” like her, so deal with it.

  • A Parent

    I think Tween Dora is Cool, I have a Pre-teen daughter who doesn’t care mush for Dora, but with Dora being 10,11,12, I think she might like her more. It’s not a Materialistic World, she is a Doll/tv show character, so people think that just because Dora’s voice is gonna change a little, and she is gonna have more Fashion sense, then you are gonna be this much of a Reack when Your Children reach this age. Just face it that Everyone grows up, even Dora and soon more little kids shows, deal with it.

  • Your Name

    if you havent alreday seen the new dora then why are you already judging her if you have only see the outline of her….you all act like yor little girl is goin to be a little girl for the rest of her life….i have three little girls and they love the new dore..one is 7,5,and 3….so if you have a problem with the new dora then you stop acting like your child and grow up and be an adult about she has looked the same for who knows how long ..you all act like sh is ging to be 5 or 6 years old for the rest of her life..no because children grow ..and if you have a problem with change then you must have a problem with your own child because hen they get older they’re not going to want to wear osh kosh ..or baby gap..or whatever..the show isnt meant to be based on her style..its meant to teach kids how to learn a new language…and y have no idea if she will change..she can still be the adventurous girl that your child love…so if any othe character comes ot with anew look dont be so quick t judge it.

  • Sadie

    Well I think all of you are over reacting I have a 5 year old and Dora is just another fade!!! You do realize that things change and so will your children.. Dora isn’t the reason your daughters will be come a whore you will!!! Your your daughters teacher, The rugrats even grew remember…. I think the Wiggles need to be petitioned they are grown adults singing about stupid crap that is something to worry about.

  • Shannon

    When I told my 5-year-old daughter about Dora’s makeover, she asked “Why? She’s pretty just the way she is.”

  • SSSSSS

    TO ALL YOU NARROW MINDED PEOPLE OUT THERE.
    IF IT WEREN’T FOR CHANGE. WE’D STILL BE LIVING IN
    CAVES. SO GET OVER YOUR SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS.
    LIFE IS ALL BAOUT CHANGE. IF YOU DON’T LIKE SOMETHING THAT HAS CHANGED
    THEN MOVE TO SOMETHING ELSE.
    IF YOU DON’T LIKE THE NEW DORA OR THE OTHER CARTOON MAKE OVERS…
    HERE’S A THOUGHT…DON’T PLANT YOUR CHILD IN FRONT OF THE TV. SPEND SOME TIME WITH HIM/HER BY READING, GOING TO THE ZOO, OR INDULGE THIER
    CREATIVITY THROUGH ART OR OTHER METHODS. TV ISN’T THE ONLY SOLUTION
    TO ENTERTAIN A CHILD. BUT IT MAY BE A CONVIENEANCE TO YOU.
    I FIGURE THIS IS THE TIME YOU USE TO SURF THE NET AND FIND SOMETHING TO COMLPAIN ABOUT.

  • Your Name

    Growing up is a part of life so why not let Dora go up to? I’m 21 and I have a 6 yr old sister who asks me question about the body and the changes it makes such as why I have a this body part that she doesn’t have yet and all I can tell her is as we grow up our bodies change. With this show that she has been watching for yrs now and the new and improved Dora it will help me to teach her about how Dora’s little girl look is so much different from her older look. As I see it if the Rugrats can grow up from babies running around in diapers and t-shirts why can’t Dora grow up for the ones who started off wit her. This might be as old as she will ever get anyways.

  • Grammar & Spell Check

    If the parents posting comments talk like they write and think they spell correctly then their kids are doomed regardless of what the new Dora looks like.
    PS – you should at least hit the “F7″ key before you post or send an email

  • emma

    it’s tempting to older children to watch it!!!

  • Your Name

    This is absolutely foolish on your part. Do you know what’s unhealthy for children? The fact that they can watch the same show for years and the characters never mature. They never grow, and so after a certain period of time, the children learn nothing new. There should certainly be a transition period for kids from the early years to being a ‘tween.’ If there isn’t, middle school is one big, ugly mess.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for the comment, but I ask you to make your points more respectfully next time. When you use insults like use terms like “foolish” it only detracts from the points you are making.
    While we share a commitment to educational content for kids, I disagree with your argument. Children outgrow certain books, television shows, movies, toys, and music. Therefore it is appropriate to have media that suits each stage of development, so that children do continue to learn something new, as you said. But sending a mixed message by extending the “brand” of a beloved character is not necessary or especially beneficial, especially when the more grown-up version appears to undercut the important values of the original.

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