Just read the comments on our petition -- almost 8000 right now -- of moms, dads, and kids who signed our petition: Let's Go! No Makeover for Dora! and you'll know why we're furious at that awful Early Show coverage of the No Makeover for Dora campaign. Sharon was interviewed for 15 minutes last night and told CBS's the Early Show why we don't want a makeover -- she gave all the points and more contained in the blogs below. But they edited out or didn't use all but one phrase -- "Dora's an alternative", and did not include the points we make about LATINA dolls and the blonde/blue-eyed makeover she can get online, nor about stereotypes of femininity. Instead, we get an anchor who looks like EVERYanchor (sorry to say, but don't know her name) who is really an apologist for Nick and Mattel, and their parent company Viacom. She said "This is the Dora that Daniella (her daughter) plays with" and holds up a pig-tailed, long-haired, pinkified Dora in a pretty dress, a far cry from Dora the Explorer. She just doesn't get it that Dora is an EXPLORER. Then again, her daughter isn't a fan of the show. Her daughter plays with some every-doll version of Dora that already isn't true to what she is and means. But the clincher was her final lines -- "Every girl is more fashion conscious as she grows up and loses the baby fat." Yes, that's what Viacom, Nick, and Mattel want you to think -- that EVERYgirl conforms to their stereotypes of what a girl should be. Accessorized, rather than equipped. Pink rather than dressed in bold colors. In the kitchen or mall, rather than in the jungle. Slim rather than normal -- (by the way, why are people calling Dora chubby??????). I don't believe that even EVERYgirl on the upper West side of NYC where this anchor quite possible lives gets more fashion conscious and slim. Ugh. After having done a few of these shows in the past, my conclusion is that this anchor didn't read the petition, didn't read the articles, didn't listen to the things I said on the taping last night or that Lyn or Hardy Girls Healthy Women director Megan have been saying in other articles, and merely responded in a knee jerk way to represent EVERYmom -- as if she had the right.
We love certain producers at the Early Show -- and they must be fuming!
P.S. If you read the article at CBS then please leave a comment below... and realize that I DIDN'T, as they say I did, say anything about keeping Dora "wholesome"...what a bunch of cr*p.
Yeah, she’s cute. And leggings are better than a short skirt. But this was never just about modesty. It’s about hooking little girls on “tween” activities like fashion, shopping, and appearance. The new Dora is for 5 year olds and up. Is 5 the new tween? Why is a Dora, concerned about her appearance and clothes and jewelry a good thing for little girls not yet old enough for first grade? Sure, little girls will want the new doll, even beg for her, because media and marketers have sold fashion and shopping as the very definition of girlhood. Little girls love chocolate cake too—but as good parents we don’t feed it to them 24-7. We want a healthy alternative, and the original Dora was just that.
So we don't buy "it's what girls want and need stuff" (especially when that need and desire has been created by toy companies and TV shows) or that Mattel, a company capitalizing big on Dora’s image, cares about our daughters’ well-being. It's real basic: Mattel knows if they can connect to the tween crossover market they will make a lot more money; but it’s at the expense of the wonderful messages the original Dora offers to girls. Once Dora is remade, even the littlest girls will want the older Dora because they have been effectively sold on the importance of appearance, fashion and shopping. They won't grow up with Dora, they will bypass her for the tween version. That's the loss.
What about the fact that Dora is Latina? Does it not matter that Dora was not only a great example of a nonstereotypical girl, but a great example of diversity? Is this not lost when girls can change her hair and eye color? Is cultural identity just something you can buy and sell?
Because no one else is doing it, we have to make the obvious connection between hooking little girls on shopping and both the economy and the environment. Is this really the time to reveal a Dora who costs $60 and travels from the real jungle to the lipstick jungle? Do we really think this is the only way Dora can grow up? A Dora who grows up in the rainforest might still be wearing her shorts and sneakers (even if she moved to the city.) Believe us, 9 and 10 year old girls are still wearing shorts and sneakers, and rarely the bows, earrings, bracelets, leggings, necklace, headband -- accessories that simply mean more $$ to be made off of Dora. She might help little girls make these connections and fight the good fight for the planet, but if she does this in pearl earrings and teen fashion, the message is most certainly undermined for 9 and 10 year old girls everywhere.
We’re sure Mattel is spinning this as a great way to drum up interest in the new Dora. No news is bad news for a marketing campaign. And their strategy of describing us as only "moms" in a panic about something non-existent is a way of trivializing our very sensible demands. But no, Mattel, these moms (and developmental psychologists) and the others who signed our petition are not so easily soothed -- or manipulated.