Thursday, February 26, 2009
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 petition here 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.
Sign on now!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Lyn Mikel Brown is featured on The REAL Deal blog where she writes about dealing with the "Mean Girl" phenomenon. "Mean girls" are featured in everything from reality TV shows, dramas, and tabloid magazines. For 2009, Lyn writes that her wish for girls is to "affirm girls' relational and political strengths by giving them reason to believe they can count on one another and work together to solve social problems." Read the full blog here.
What's your wish for girls in 2009? We want to know!