Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dear Mattel and Nick: We're Not Buying It

After loads of media attention to Dora's makeover, and more than 5,000 concerned people signed our petition, the Nickelodeon Press Department released a statement. But, we're not convinced.

Here is our response to Mattel and Nick:

Dear Mattel and Nick,

It’s safe to say that neither the thousands who have signed our petition nor we are soothed by the unveiling of the new tween Dora’s image. The original Dora the Explorer was unique and beloved by both girls and boys because she was adventurous, smart, and loved the outdoors. Trading her compass, map, pet monkey, and sneakers for jewelry, a dress, and the big city, means Dora isn't the same explorer anymore. The new tween Dora fits right into the narrow mold that defines too many girls' toys, and thus limits their imagination.

In the AP Wire article released yesterday, your company defined "tween" as girls 5-8 years old. Parents need to know that this is a new definition of tween – a big change from the 8-12 market originally targeted. The creation of an older Dora is a blatant attempt to go after younger girls and create a desire for a lifestyle and products parents tell us they are too young to experience. This is a time in girls’ lives when we should be introducing a wide range of possibilities and interests – not limiting their potential with stereotypes of appearance-conscious tween fashionistas.

Through the creation of a tween Dora who can change her hair and eye color to “go undercover” you have effectively erased Dora’s cultural identity - transforming what was not only a wonderful example of a non-stereotypical girl but also a strong, independent Latina character. Dora’s cultural identity is not just another accessory for your corporations to peddle.

If Dora does have to grow up, Hardy Girls Healthy Women, and thousands of concerned girls, boys, and parents think she should keep her sensible clothes and interest in problem-solving and jungle adventures.

We will continue to urge concerned parents and children to make their voices heard by signing onto our petition and will continue to contact media outlets until we are satisfied that you have taken steps to maintain the adventurous spirit of the original Dora.

Sign the petition to save Dora today.
Read Packaging Girlhood authors Lyn and Sharon's response

2 comments:

Arlene said...

I think your organization's attack on Dora the Exploer, Nick and Mattel is completely disgusting. Especially since your attack is based on rumor and speculation. Both companies have already stated they do not intend to "sex" this character up and there is no plan to remove the orginal character from the airwaves. As a woman, raised by strong women, I am completely baffled by this all out assault. And I would just like to add, 5000 petitioners is just a drop in the bucket, and goes to show the larger population is concerned about more important things...like the economy, healthcare and war in Iraq. There is also a large population of people who choose to serve as their own childrens' role models instead of sitting them in front of a television set and allowing a CARTOON CHARACTER to teach them about the world. If you want your chidren to be explorers, why don't you take them camping and hiking or find out what sorts of programs your local environmental commission is sponsoring and take them on those excursions. Children learn by doing not by watching.

hrdygrlz said...

Arlene, I'm not sure why you're so upset about our request to Mattel but I respect your right to be. We haven't said anything about "sexing" up the character. We've only asked that they not create a 'tween doll marketed to 5 to 8 year olds which, according to their press release, is who they are targeting. Apparently, over 13,000 people agree with us and that's just the ones who know about the petition. Sorry you're upset but as a strong woman, I'm sure you agree, other strong women have a right to their opinions.