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Tween Dora? Maybe it's Time for Mattel to Grow Up

I’m outraged.  Mattel has announced that they will be supplement the preschool Dora line with a tween doll. The new doll will sport a thin body, long hair and fashionable clothing. (Mattel will be keeping the doll secret until launch this Fall.)

“As tweenage Dora, our heroine has moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look,” Mattel said in a press release.  Is this necessary, really?  Evidently it is if corporate America is going to hold onto our childrens attention past age eight.

“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”… Oh, and comes with a retail price of $59.99, because growing up means spending more money.  Of course, there will be accessories available as well… because we are playing into (or rather, creating as consumerism always has) a tweenage girls love of fashion and thus, creating a larger consumer base.

My husband fully believes that girls products are significantly more expensive than their male counter parts because our society is busy training females to spend more.  I notice these price discrepancies any time we go into a clothing store for the kids.

Obviously Viacom and Mattel are desperate to extend their target market, and concerned parents everywhere are left to cry, “why?”.  We certainly don’t need any more Bratz dolls on the market and personally, I will not be allowing my older children to play with or watch a grown up Dora if there is any hint of sexuality.  We allow the preschool Dora because its fun, benign, and (dare I say it?), educational.  My four year old speaks more Spanish than I thanks to Dora and Diego.

We sit here pondering what’s next?  A tween Diego with a dollar sign gold necklace and low riding, bump, bump Cadillac?

Mattel, maybe its time for you to grow up and stop marketing “sexy” to our children.  My nine year old daughter won’t be sporting high heel shoes and neither will her dolls.


  1. Hmm, I don’t really care that this new “Tween Dora” is thin (assuming she’s not anorexic-looking) or has long hair. But I do hope she doesn’t wear makeup or provocative clothing like those awful Bratz dolls.

  2. octavia says:

    nope… i’m out. besides the annoyance of yes the price (amen, that you brought that up because it shocks me every time!!), and then yes, yet another way to subvert our daughter’s sense of self worth and confidence (thanks disney!) but to then have to push what is already a toy that already floods the market with hundreds of offshoot toys into a new market… it is the very description of greed that these toy companies beating into our girls. and people think our banks are bad!!

  3. I think your hubby is right.

    I also doubt that doll will to fly off the shelves like Mattel thinks it will- unless Tween Dora magically turns itself into a Hannah Montana, an iCarly or a Jonas brother doll.

  4. Ja'Nelle says:

    I feel that it needs to become a relatity for some people, of Dora growing up. Is it a little bit too early? Maybe. But to make a racial implication such as Diego wearing dollar signs and driving a cadillac with bump, bump music should be retracted or kept to yourself. That type of mind set is one the main reasons why our young men present themselves the way they do. If television has that much of an influence on your child(ren) then you need to go back to your parenting handbook and figure out where you might have gone wrong. People need to learn when it is appropriate to voice opinions and when not to look too far into the ideas that these major companies decide. We are in control, if you don’t like the doll then don’t buy it.

  5. We do not allow our daughters to play with Bratz dolls either, because we find them too sexy, as do you. However, I confess, I am VERY excited about this new Dora because my nine year old still loves Dora, but nothing Dora is age-appropriate for her, which is VERY frustrating for her and us. Plus I recognize that her desire to play with dolls, and the absense of having an age-appropriate Dora pushes her toward the Bratz, Barbies, and other such dolls. This new Dora may be just what we need! While I agree that this Dora looks different, I do not agree that she looks sexy. I don’t think you can tell that from the picture. I can tell she is thinner, taller, and that her hair is longer & may be styled a bit differently, but the same thing has happened to my daughters because they are growing up. They do NOT dress sexy because we do not allow it. I am trusting Mattel to allow Dora to grow up without dressing her too sexy until I see actual evidence that convinces me otherwise. This silhouette does not convince me of it, and those high heels you mentioned…Check the silhouette again…She is wearing ballerina style flats in this.

  6. A tween Dora is not a bad idea. Just because she will be skinny does not mean a thing. If she were fat, there would be an outrage condemning the doll for influencing girls to gain weight. Also, why is the long hair made a point, is that a unattainable goal for young girls. As for the clothes, so long as they do not advertise a specific brand there is no problem. There are “fashionable” clothes for low prices at stores such as Wal-mart and K-mart, so this does not seem to be setting unrealistic goals. I also feel that the Diego comment is a bit racial and stereotypical. Not all Hispanic youth are in that kind of culture. Finally, the tween Dora will not be promoting any particular lifestyle, so there is no basis for comparing a dollar sign wearing, low rider driving Diego to the Dora doll.

  7. Jamie, Not sure if you saw my piece on Shaping Youth about this, but two of our advisory board members (Packaging Girlhood.com) have launched a petition and we’re up to almost 4000 signatures, woohoo!


    As I wrote in my piece, quoting Parent Dish who pointedly describes the NEW Dora who will be revealed in the fall, She now “lives in the big city and goes to middle school. She still solves mysteries but she’s abandoned outdoor adventure for shopping, jewelry and fashion.”

    So there IS an ‘agenda’ in terms of why I feel it’s harmful…Because as I wrote, I feel this message has the potential of being even MORE destructive than starting out on the consumptionist career path of fluff-n-stuff like Bratz (which are just plain absurd and toxic imho) Why? Because it speaks to a harmful pattern of real life implications, conveying essentially:

    “…Girls can START out as unique, brave, active, indie spirits, but behaviorally, by the time they edge into tweenage years, they’d better march like lemmings into the beauty biz to embrace their inner fashionista.”

    And THAT alone, to me is worthy of an overhaul. Bleh. I suppose ‘time will tell’ with Mattel, especially based on the reverb and outrage; we’ll see if they ‘hear us’ out there, because Dora belongs exploring the world not the mall!

    Here’s the petition:


    My favorite part?

    “We know that if the original Dora grew up, she wouldn’t be a fashion icon or a shopaholic. She’d develop her map reading skills and imagine the places she could go.

    …She’d capitalize on those problem solving skills to design new ways to bring fresh water to communities in need around the world. Maybe she’d become a world class runner or follow her love of animals and become a wildlife preservationist or biologist.

    …We’ll never know because the only way a girl can grow up in tween town, is to narrow that symphony of choices to one note. It’s such a sell out of Dora, of all girls.”

    Yep, we need to draw this line in the sand very clearly. Knock it off with the age compression, vapid values, and consumption cues, Mattel and Nickelodeon, quit putting girls in a box…There’s a whole world out there for kids to explore. Let’s go!!!


  8. I have seen the new Dora. I think you will be disappointed because you will have nothing to complain about. She is not a fashion doll. See the product before you start disparaging it.

  9. The doll is wearing a tunic and leggings. If that’s too sexy than I’d hate to be your husband.

    A petition? You people are what’s wrong with this country. Instead of signing petitions how about you exercise your free will and not purchase the product. If nobody purchases it than it will go away. Simple concept of supply and demand.

    How about you teach your girls good values and not worry that a doll with make up on corrupting their moral fiber.

  10. A Concerned Older Sister says:

    If Dora had abandoned the Great Outdoors for fashion and shopping, there is something wrong with the Tween Dora. Dora should encourage children to go out and play, to ask their families if they can go hiking, go to the zoo, instead of becoming yet another mindless consumer. I’m sorry, but I’d rather not see Dora in a mall more than once in a month’s worth of shows. And when she’s not encouraging consumerism, she’s encouraging kids to sit on the computer and play Tween Dora games. In the long run, it feels like this new Dora is going to be one of the many small things that ruin girls’ images of themselves by showing them a slender (perhaps healthily so) Dora and not encouraging them into a lifestyle that produces healthy bodies.

    In any case, I completely agree with Amy Jussel’s post. Read it if you haven’t already…

  11. I don’t understand how the two people in previous posts could interpret your comments about Diego as “racial”. Maybe it’s racist of them to not have noticed that there are plenty of white boys that wear gold dollar signs and want to bump in a Cadillac. It’s not a matter of race, that’s just the “style” marketed to all races of young boys and men today.

    Regarding the doll, the silhouette doesn’t suggest anything inappropriate for a nine year old. I don’t know how easy it’d be to adventure in that type of skirt but she’d most likely have a wardrobe to choose between when she wants to look cute and get dirty, which seems in line with what a nine year old would want her clothes for.

    The price IS pretty ridiculous for a children’s toy that’d have tons of accessories to buy later though.

  12. It’s just a cartoon character. Seriously if it’s THAT influential on your kid, maybe that speaks volumes more about the kid than the product, and should be used as a learning experience.
    She does not look like those gangbanger Bratz dolls at all to me. Teenage girls are thin, some have long hair and wear shorts. I don’t see why that’s a problem as long as they’re normal shorts and not booty ones.

    I don’t think that her being interested in fashion automatically makes her superficial, and cuts out all the adventure stuff. I like fashion but I also love geology and hiking. Sometimes people are well rounded.

  13. hi im 13 years old. a little over the tweens years, yes. Anyway i have a little sister whos only 4 and i watch Dora with her every morning before going out to wait at my bus stop. She absolutly loves Dora. I think a tween Dora would be cool. It targets older kids.

    And about the outline of her new image, ive seen it. YES I HAVE DONT TRY TO PROVE ME WRONG! heres the link.

    Shes wearing a tunic not a short dress or a mini skirt. Plus shes wearing leggings. Whats bad about those??? and shes also wearing ballet flats! lots of girls in my school wear them since the weather is starting to get warmer up here.

    The whole thing about how tweens in middle school dress all ‘SEXY’ is NOT true for ALL girls. Yes some might try to dress all sexy. In my middle school, if you wear a skirt it has to be longer than your middle finger. If it not and a teacher catchs you (which they noramlly true), you have to go change into your gym shorts. You also cant wear noddle starps or as some people call them spagetii straps to school.

    Lastly the thing about having Dora be skinny and having long hair is totally stupid! whats wrong with having long hair? nothing right. Some people like long hair others dont, its their opion. And the thing about her be skinny is horrible (unless shes anorexic looking (which shes not if you look at the the link i posted above)).

    Thank you for reading this. I hope you understand a tween Dora may not be as bad as you think.

  14. How about parents not rely on a cartoon show or toys to raise their children?
    Oh, you think it’s too expensive and teaches girls to spend money? How about you start telling them otherwise yourself? Or do you just think they’re not going to believe they should spend money if they’re not exposed to this doll?
    Just like not talking about sex and how it’s bad to be a whore is sure to teach them more than not actually watching any Bratz show or anything else you’re deeming to give a bad impression to a young girl.
    Yes, toy companies are going to try to sell this to children because it is what’s in the media now and goes along with more popular toys and shows, but I wonder how those other toys and shows got so popular in the first place, and who it was that was buying them for their children.
    Yes, I had Barbi’s as a kid and the dresses were just a skimpy as they are now, but I don’t recall ever posting half naked pictures of myself on the internet when I was 12. I wonder why? Oh yea, my mother actually raised me. I spent a total of maybe ten hours watching television during the week and even less during the summer, but if you were to sign off your computer right now and find your child would they be watching the television and stuffing their face with snacks? Even if it’s just on as a background activity, it’s too much tv.
    If you’re really mad about a company changing THEIR product you’re relying too much on that company. Let Mattel do what they want, it’s their sales, but don’t be pissed at them for guiding YOUR children down the wrong path.
    How about you start taking the responsibility you should be as a mother? If you don’t like what’s on tv, turn it off. It’d be better for the bond between you and your children to turn it off and get the floor to play with your child yourself anyways.
    I don’t even have children, but I can see so clearly how much most parents fail and it’s just sad, really.

  15. LOLFAIL.
    J’ai eu assez de Dora. QU’EST-CE QUE FREAKING KID EN AMÉRIQUE VEUT apprendre l’espagnol? Je ne suis même pas certain si c’est ce que l’émission sur, mais quand même.

  16. i am right always says:

    “My husband fully believes that girls products are significantly more expensive than their male counter parts because our society is busy training females to spend more.”

    Then your husband does not understand basic economics. If toys and clothes for girls are more expensive, it is because they are willing to spend more. Consumers set prices by what they are willing to pay, and it is obvious that female consumers are willing to pay more than male ones. There isn’t some kind of conspiracy going on where companies are consciously pricing certain products higher in order to brainwash our daughters into becoming mindless spending machines. Get a grip.

  17. Grandma in Illinois says:

    Oh please, the activists need to get a life, this doll is not that bad. I think a transition doll would be great, how often do you get the chance to promote doll play in the tween group these days anyway?
    Who knows what computer programs they will develop for her? Let’s all give input on that part, math programs, map reading, geography, science projects, etc. instead of trying to lobby to stop the production of the doll.

  18. Julian Mentat says:

    If the new Dora does her share of chores around the house, I’ll buy her for my brats no matter what she wears!

  19. GrowingUp says:

    OK!! This huge fuss about the dora, its not like the kids HAVE TO LIKE IT. You dont have to introduce it to them. My sister LOVED Dora the Explorer, grew out of liking it, she is now into looking cute and adorable SHE LOVES THE NEW DORA. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH IT.She loves the look of her as well, Its not like bratz or barbie. So whats the real fuss, they already announced no change in the original tv show

  20. chad louinson says:

    keep dora little its funner that way!

  21. Tiffany says:

    True! Everybody wants 2 be thin. why can’t tween dora be thick like the younger dora! UGH! GEEZ!

  22. So many posters seem to be focusing on whether the new Dora looks ‘sexy’ or not. To my mind, that’s not remotely the main problem.
    The fact that she’s apparently changed from an independent adventurer to a mere consumer (and one obsessed with fashion products, at that) is very worrying.

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  24. I am a ‘tween’ myself, and personally I don’t care for Tween Dora or Dora the Explorer, but I think it’s time for Dora TO grow up and let other ‘tweens’ find connections with her new middle school life. Let’s face it, middle school doesn’t have you wearing heels or makeup, so parents, don’t fret. I’m sure that they will have the same encouraging messages and self-esteem giving lessons through the new tv season if rumors are saying, of new Tween Dora.
    I don’t think that Nick Jr. would actually put Dora as the next girl that rides with gangsters and the like. Don’t overreact, it’s just a kids show, which means only certain things are viewable for kids..


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