“Dora the Fashionista with Stylish Purse and Stilettos”: A Fashion Lesson from a Girl Who Doesn’t Know Nothin’ About Fashion

So here’s the deal. Dora the Explorer is expanding into new horizons and audiences and a “tweenage” version of the popular, young cartoon character has been unveiled which will be made into an “interactive doll” (whatever that means).

Parents are pissed. They think that the new Dora is too “sexed up” and the description of her in the above linked article does not help:

Next fall, Dora the Explorer may be trading in her androgynous bob and shorts for big hair, pumps and a miniskirt.

Even better is the petition that is now online, with over 11,000 signatures already, which declares in the opening rant:

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.

Oh noes! I sense a slippery slope coming up…

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.

Aahhhhh! And then God will smite all of America and there will be plagues of locusts and blood raining from the skies!

Hold on. What exactly does this new sexed up Dora doll look like?

This:

OMG, like, she looks like... such a whore!

Oh kay… Now, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about fashion. If an outfit requires more than one minute of thought to put together it’s not worth it for me, and the same goes for hairstyles, but those are hardly pumps and a mini-skirt, k?

She happens to wearing a type of shoe known as “ballet flats” (i.e. these) which I should think are more conservative than sexed up. Hell, even some mary janes have a bit of a heel.

That is not a mini-skirt. It’s… well, I don’t know the term for this, but the point is she’s wearing it over leggings. She has her legs covered and they’re not covered in nylons or fishnets. It’s leggings. I have personal feelings about the aethetics of girls wearing leggings which I will not comment on (because who am I to comment on fashion?), but the key thing is she has her legs covered and it’s not nylons or fishnets. It’s leggings which are sort of like… skin-tight-ish capris.

I think when it comes to leggings, the place where even the prudest of parents should draw the line, which happens to be where my school’s dress code draws it, is when it’s just leggings and a t-shirt and nothing really to cover anything below the waist.

What are you dressing your girls in anyway? Heel-length dresses and petticoats? Are you members of the FLDS or something?

Back to the petition:

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.

What’s wrong with fashion, secrets, crushes, and going shopping? I hardly get excited about shopping, fashion, and secrets, but I don’t have a problem with being dragged out to the mall once in a while. My only qualms with that would be if were the only thing tweens get excited about. There is, after all, a whole other universe out there.

Any other complaints?

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.

Body image is a valid concern, but are you bloody kidding me? I can’t really tell in real life people, or from animated people but she hardly looks like a size 0. If anything the dress-thing, while fashionable, may make her look like she’s not entirely flat around the belly.

Sure, all of the above are valid concerns, but I think that they’re obviously misplaced in the case of the new Dora. Feel free to disagree with me. Like I said, I don’t know nothin’ about fashion either way.

But I can sympathise. Fashion is not the most important thing in the world. Not by a long shot. I’m going back to reading about science now.

10 responses to this post.

  1. Next thing you know, they’ll make a pregnant Dora who works as a maid and whose boyfriend is an MS-13 gangbanger!

  2. I “enjoyed” the publicist’s response making the concerned moms out to be histrionic dumbasses. The Dora change is rather a non-problem, but Nickelodeon made a rather backhanded attempt at pacifying really pissed off portion of their main demographic by 1) changing something that was already popular and 2) failing to directly address the concerns. That’s a pretty crappy business model.

  3. Posted by DataJack on March 28, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    Elles, where have you been? I was getting worried, kiddo. Nice to hear (read) from you again.

  4. Posted by Natuki on March 28, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Not that this is important, but the dress-thing is called a baby-doll shirt.

  5. @DataJack Sick and schooling. Not much time for blogging. :|

  6. Posted by wazza on March 29, 2009 at 4:07 am

    I think it’s cool that they’re having this character grow up with the viewers… if they can do it right.

    And this looks, to my admittedly really-crap-at-telling-ages eyes, like a girl of about 6 instead of about 4. A LONG way from being sexualised in the eyes of anyone who doesn’t already have serious problems.

  7. Good point, wazza. She ain’t making me feel “randy.”

  8. Posted by dntel on March 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

    I’d tap that.

  9. Posted by Tzivya on April 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    My complaint with this revamp has nothing to do with what the petition about, so much as this:

    How is a rugged explorer who spends her time in the jungles and other ‘rough’ places in the world supposed to do so in /that/ getup?

    OK. First, I watch too much Dora. I have a 5 year old daughter who claims she is going to marry Dora when she grows up, and I don’t entirely disapprove.

    So I look at this and it’s just… Everything Dora isn’t. Gone is the rugged, archaelogist-like practical attire, in favor of trendy city-wear. Dora’s gone from butch lesbian to lipstick lesbian, and I do not approve!

    (And if you think she’s not a lesbian, than HAH, you are so wrong! ;) We get this one! )

  10. If you want to read a reader’s feedback :) , I rate this article for 4/5. Decent info, but I have to go to that damn msn to find the missed parts. Thanks, anyway!

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