Sexy Dora the Explorer

6 03 2009

Dora the Explorer is getting a makeover. In Fall 2009 Nickelodeon and Mattel are going to launch a grown up, sexier Dora – the Dora Links fashion doll. The doll is interactive and is supposed to be plugged into a computer where girls can customize their doll by changing her hair style, eye color, clothing and jewelry. Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing for Mattel, says:

The doll really taps into a tween’s love of fashion and empowers girls to influence and change the ‘lives’ of Dora and her friends. The instant gratification that girls receive as they change Dora online and watch as the doll magically transforms right before their eyes is groundbreaking in today’s toy market. What’s more, parents can feel comfortable knowing that Dora’s online world provides a safe and wholesome play experience for their children.

Assuming that all female tweens love fashion just plays into gender stereotypes and gender socialization. Also, excuse me but how does the doll “empower girls to influence and change the ‘lives’ of Dora and her friends”? First of all, girls only change Dora’s appearance which is superficial and helps to perpetuate society’s overemphasis on appearance. Girls are already bombarded and overloaded with all these imposed unrealistic beauty standards.

Secondly, why should girls be focusing on “empowering” a fictional character in a fictional world instead of empowering themselves and their own lives? Empowerment is not about changing your physical appearance and trying to dress sexier. It is especially not about changing the appearances of other girls.

These Dora dolls are also going to be expensive (they’ll be priced at around $59.99). The hypersexualization of Dora is quite unsettling. Her sexier silhouette reflects a lot of ideals of femininity: long hair, extreme thinness, and wearing miniskirts to show off more leg. Dora is also supposed to be Latina but sexed up Dora embodies a very western, white standard of beauty.

Dora, the Sexy Explorer?

Dora, the Sexy Explorer?

This speaks to the hyper-sexualization of chlidhood and how girls especially are so forcefully ushered into sexy teen-hood or adulthood, completely bypassing childhood. From such an early age, girls are indoctrinated into hypersexualized femininity. Dora is not the only child cartoon character who has been revamped into a grown-up and sexier character. Look at how Strawberry Shortcake morphed:


She’s become skinnier, more feminized (longer hair, longer eyelashes) and posed in a sexier position. She used to be innocent and cutesy looking but morphed into a flirtatious, more femininie, and sexy character. Care Bears have also been made over to be skinnier and have less round bellies which sadly shows how even cartoon bears have to conform to such harmful, hegemonic beauty ideals of thinness.

The hypersexualization of cartoon characters is disturbing and it’s damaging to children. Where are more positive role models for girls if real life celebrities and popular cartoon characters are all sexed up and make it seem as though what’s on the outside matters most?



6 responses

19 03 2009

what is wrong with you people this is bad for kids you want them to think that they need to grow fast this should not happen

1 04 2009

peta is good works

31 05 2009

Could you post a color picture of the new Dora? The sillhouette doesn’t really do her ridiculousness justice.

1 06 2009

Actually, there’s another post called “Here she is, The New Dora!” that shows the full picture.

check it out!

14 06 2009

First of all, few will watch it and second of all girls are preassured enough to be “beautiful” without this. And I swear things like this and celebrities and the press and fashion all together are the reasons that bulimia was ever diagnosed by doctors when talking about a young girl. Just look at any cartoon and you’ll see that the girls are skinny, have long hair and wear mascara. Including Dora now.

18 09 2009

ok first off, you have a point. cartoon characters have become more sexualized over the years. but im not apposed to the new dora as long as the little girl sticks around too. if mattel and nick was smart thats what theyd do. they can cater to 2 age groups with one charatcter. no brainer right? as for the new sexed up cartoons being bad role models for young girls… well thats just bs. yes girls are influenced by what they say but the responsibility to make sure their daughters have a healthy self esteem lies with the parents to balance the negative and the positive and more importantly to teach their daughters about image. i mean the truth. not that over used crap about being a wonderful girl and those who are her true friends will accept her no matter what she looks like. i mean that yes her peers will tease her if they find something wrong and that not everyone will be nice just because shes nice and that she needs to be strong enough to do her own thing and stand up for herself and say no to peer pressure and ignore tearers. its not as easy as it sounds but if parents would be honest with their daughters and balanced how much megative and positive influence she gets (weighing more towards positive of course) they wouldnt need to worry about their daughters trying to follow in their newly sexualized favorite characters high heeled foot steps. and one more thing doras new look is femenine and adorable. not sexed up. leggings flats a dress and floral bead jewelry? how is that slutty?

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