Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dora The Lesbian Icon

On the Slate Magazine Culture Gabfest they're talking about the old Dora the Explora vs. the new tarted up Dora the Explora (That's not a typo. It's clearly supposed to rhyme. Why pretend?) and one of the panelist said something along the lines of, "What will the babydykes play with?!"

I am familiar with Dora, but only to the extent that I believe she is so fucking annoying I want to stab her en su cara.  I was aware that the show is supposed to be "interactive" and that she is also allegedly a "girl power" figure, but I never thought of her as being a "babydyke." Now that I've been confronted with this image, I'm so outraged - not only by Nickelodeon and Mattel, but also by the people criticizing their actions. 

Full disclosure: I have seen approximately three episodes of Dora the Explora. I do, however, have an almost three year old next door neighbor who lurves her and has a complete plastic Dora kitchen that bakes little plastic Dora snacks. I also once had an enlightening conversation with B about Dora and how he too hates her guts, and I was oddly fascinated with following the Dora makeover story. 
Nickelodeon seems to be perturbed that los ninos are getting sick of Dora once they're potty trained, so they're giving her a "makeover" with the help of Mattel to make her appeal to "tweens." From what I've gathered in my career as a babysitter, kids get sick of Dora when they hit about 5 or 6, and a "tween" is around 9-12. So they're going to lose them for three years anyway, making this plan retarded.

Anyway! They released the silhouette of the older, cooler Dora, and she appears to have lost everything that made her Dora the Explora. No exploring clothes, no backpack, no sensible haircut. I know it's just a silhouette, but she looks like a Bratz doll.
You cannot go trekking through the forest in a skirt and ballet flats. I also read an account that said she's wearing a tunic and leggings, which makes even less sense. Also, it encourages young girls to NOT WEAR PANTS.

After hearing that the old Dora was a lesbian fashionplate for toddlers, this new makeover is even more unsettling. It's also completely upsetting that a character like Dora, who's about 6 or 7, wears shorts and a tee, has a bob haircut and carries a backpack everywhere is a "babydyke." AND that this same person criticizes the "sexualization" of the new Dora. Calling someone a dyke IS sexualization - you don't need to heteronormalize something to assign it sexual connotations.

It also makes sense that Dora would have different hair and be thinner. Most small children are chunkier than they are when they are older, and once children develop agency of their own, they will probably have the opportunity to change their hairstyle. That said, are we to assume that because Dora grew up that she completely lost her desire for exploration? Does she now prefer to hang out at the mall and talk about boys?

Also, this Dora is NOT getting a TV show (as yet) and therfore her backstory will be entirely defined by a show where she is basically a completely different person. Are tween girls supposed to make up their own stories for Dora, and if so, why not just get them a Barbie or Bratz doll? There are already "non-dyke" Dora dolls in which Dora is sans backpack as a princess, so if the idea was to de-gay her by putting her in a traditional gendered doll scenario, mission accomplished.

I guess my point is, I don't give a shit about Dora the Explora and her makeover. But I DO care about why it happened and why the old Dora is apparently for little gaybies and the new one is for tweenage slutbags.

Just buy your kids a Playmobil and save yourself the headache. And the lecture from me about gender roles and heteronormativity. Whoopstoolate!


heartpinksky said...

My mom thinks your hilarious.

PS. I had most of that playmobile shit in the picture.

Sarah said...

I must admit, I do give good mom.

I used that pic because the medical sets were some of my favorites, and because they were always good at keeping their shit gender neutral, for the most part.