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. We could have, should have predicted this after we saw the likes of Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby, and Trollz (now with the ubiquitous commodified girl power “z”), all made over in the cute sexy way that marketers sell maturity to girls--the sassy wink, the long flowing hair, the thin waist, the turned out hip pose of practiced lingerie models. 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.
In Packaging Girlhood, Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown write extensively about Dora the Explorer as one of the best role models in girls' early worlds, at least before her image was sold to princess clothing lines and sugary cereals. On TV she wears shorts. She has a sidekick monkey. She has a map and a compass and a backpack! She solves problems and explores the world in Spanish and English. Her motto is "Let's go!" and it could never be construed in that ‘wink, wink’ kind of way. But those adventuresome folks who created Dora no longer own her. She's owned by Mattel who can use her image, re-MAKE her image, in any way they see fit to make money.
The highest bidder for tween Dora was Mattel, and they have plans to sell her at a whopping $60 to aspiring teens everywhere. For this price, girls are told to forget the outdoors and adventure into the same old same old: shopping, fashion, makeovers, and jewelry.
But we know the truth and can do something about it! 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.
That's why we're sending this letter to Mattel and Nickelodeon! Join us for Let's Go: No Makeover for Dora. Help us tell the execs at Mattel and Nickelodeon to "Let GO" of Dora. Either let her live on as her wonderful self, or create a pre-teen doll that is true to who she was as a child!
Sign onto the letter below and we’ll add your name to the list of concerned parents, activists, educators, and girls who refuse to stand aside while yet another girlhood icon becomes the victim of marketers’ schemes:
Robert A. Eckert
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
333 Continental Boulevard
El Segundo, CA 90245-5012
Cyma Zarghami, President
New York, NY 10036
Dear Mr. Eckert and Ms. Zarghami,
Don’t give Dora a tween makeover. She is beloved by little girls and boys everywhere for her adventuresome spirit, curiosity, and bravery. If she is to grow up in doll form, please keep her true to herself rather than follow in the footsteps of the makers of Strawberry Shortcake, Holly Hobby, and Trollz. We don’t need any more tween dolls teaching girls that growing up means turning into a fashionista, excited about secrets and crushes and going shopping. We don’t need dolls that replicate the thin ideal. The APA Sexualization of Girls Task Force report shows that teens only rarely achieve this body type and when they don’t they are vulnerable to depression and body image problems. Please don’t push this version of what it means to be a teenager on young girls. It limits them, narrows their options, and leads them to think that what matters most about themselves is how they look and what they buy.
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. 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.
There are already too many dolls out there that limit the potential of girls. We ask you to reconsider your Dora makeover. We have a team of experts (including girls!) ready to help you re-design her to be a teen doll that parents will be pleased to bring home to their daughters, one with stories to tell, places to go, equipment to use, and knowledge to pass on. Don’t underestimate parents of girls and girls themselves. Dora can be a new kind of teen doll and you can make it happen. Either “Let GO" of Dora and let her live on as her wonderful self, or create a pre-teen doll that is true to who she was as a child!
Sign the petition and we'll send this letter along with your name to Mattel and Nickelodeon.
The petition is supported by the work of Hardy Girls Healthy Women (HGHW). Hardy Girls is a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and well being of girls and women. The organization's vision is that all girls and women experience equality, independence, and safety in their everyday lives. To that end, HGHW's mission is to create opportunities, develop programs, and provide services that empower them. HGHW sees girls not as the sum of any particular pathology (self-cutting, disordered eating, drug use) or struggle (body image, self-esteem, early sexual activity), but as whole beings living within and affected by a variety of social systems. With increased control in their lives, greater challenge from adults, and closer commitment to their communities, girls will and do thrive.
Find out more at: www.hghw.org
This petition was initiated by Packaging Girlhood authors Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D and Sharon Lamb, Ed.D. Sharon Lamb is a licensed psychologist, college professor, mom, and author of several books including, Packaging Girlhood. Lyn Mikel Brown is a developmental psychologist, professor, mom, and author of several books including their shared book, Packaging Girlhood. Dr. Brown is also co-creator of Hardy Girls Healthy Women.
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Check out the blogs of Packaging Girlhood co-authors, Lyn and Sharon: http://packaginggirlhood.typepad.com and Hardy Girls Healthy Women: http://hghw.blogspot.com
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