I don’t spend too much time thinking about children’s cartoons. Other than the occasional Sunday afternoon Scooby-Doo (and never the Scrappy-Doo abominations), I’ve pretty much abandoned the genre. But I also believe some things are sacred. And beloved childhood cartoons — no matter the generation — are one of those things. So when I heard that Dora the Explorer was getting a makeover, I got worried.
What? The cute little bowl cut-sporting, backpack-toting, sensible shoe-wearing, monkey-befriending, bilingual-speaking adventurer Dora? She is so refreshingly nonstereotypical as is. What good could possibly come from making her over? Well, sadly, now we have our answer: none.
Meet the new, tween Dora. I really can’t tell if the title “The Explorer” should still follow her name because she is wearing a totally nonexploring-friendly outfit. Toymaker Mattel and network Nickelodeon unveiled the new look yesterday, as a way to allay parental fears over what they feared would be a new, glammed up Dora. I guess if you were expecting Dora to come out looking like the trashy cousin of a Bratz doll, then your fears were allayed. But if you wanted tween Dora to look anything like tyke Dora, well, tough luck. Instead she looks like the little sister of a Disney princess.
Mattel said the new Dora will only be available as an interactive doll. The original pint-sized Dora will continue unchanged with her TV show, videos and everything else. But this new, sleeker Dora is meant to keep older girls interested in the brand. Now Dora will solve mysteries with four new girlfriends related to the environment, wildlife and school.
While I am grateful that the new, older Dora isn’t wearing Daisy Dukes and a tube top, I still can’t help but be annoyed by the new look. Why can’t tomboys just stay tomboys? Must all little girls when they reach a certain age trade sturdy sneakers and simple shorts for ballet slippers and flouncy tunics? Nothing about the new Dora screams, “I like to explore and I’m good at it.” No, for that to happen, tween Dora would need to look like this.
So, what do you think of the new Dora? And, seriously, who explores while wearing a ribbon belt and a headband?