Strawberry Shortcake and Dora the Explorer Sexed Up

So I babysit a lot.  Which means I normally have to watch a lot of children’s television.  However, a fate worse than death is being forced to watch commercials during children’s shows.  It’s sensory overload: your eyes glaze over with colors abounding, really excited children, quick-moving toys.  And it’s all over in about 15 seconds, meaning you watch about twice as many children’s toy advertisements than normal commercials.  Don’t look up that fact.  I made it up.

But either way, I’ve always noticed that children’s commercials use noticeably older children than the age group at which the toy is marketed.  And I always assumed the reason was because older children equated Awesometown on the coolness Richter scale.  Who knew self-esteem issues started so young?

After reading this blog post on Marge’s Playboy cover which mentions the new sexualized Strawberry Shortcake doll and Dora the Explorer, I began doing some exploring of my own.  Could this be true?  Could Dora have traded in her awkward bowl-shaped do for layers and makeup?  Her map for a Cosmo?

Now a poster-child for the immigration debate, Dora the Explorer has inadvertently fostered pride among Latino children and familiarized English speakers with Latino culture while exploring with her monkey friend Boots.

Take a gander at the new Dora:

How much exploring can she do in ballet slippers?

How much exploring can she do in a dress and ballet slippers?  On an obviously slow news day, ABC News interviewed Mattel and Nickelodeon who stated, “As tweenage Dora, our heroine has moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look.” (Is she really going to go exploring in the “big city”?)

“Girls really identify with Dora and we knew that girls would love to have their friend Dora grow up with them, and experience the new things that they were going through themselves,” wrote Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing for Mattel.

In searching for a photo of the new Dora I stumbled across this madness – Dora perfume.

To which Mom-101 blogger responded, “Because evidently, if there is one problem three-year-olds have, it’s that they just don’t smell like bergamot orange.”

So I remember this Strawberry Shortcake from the 90s.  She was fun.  She played outside.  She wore jeans.  You can tell that the 90s were a good time for feminism.

But now look at her!  She’s one hot babe!

Is this even a marked improvement from her frumpy origins?  I’m undecided.

Here’s a description of her Shortcake’s new makeover from StrawberryCentral.com:

“So her owner, American Greetings Properties, worked for a year on what it calls a “fruit-forward” makeover.  Strawberry shortcake, part of a line of scented dolls, now prefers fresh fruit to gumdrops, appears to wear just a dab of lipstick (but no rouge), and spends her time chatting on a cellphone instead of brushing her calico cat, Custard.”

It’s like trying to escape from a batting cage.  Just when you think you couldn’t take any more, here’s another, now more mature, 80’s favorite: Rainbow Brite!

Do you remember what they used to look like?

At least they’re still rainbow-tastic.  Just you wait.   The little infant glow worm that used to keep you company in the crib will soon be adorning fake eyelashes.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Strawberry Shortcake and Dora the Explorer Sexed Up

  1. Rae

    Amazing! I don’t know about sexing up children’s cartoon characters, but I think it’s a win-win when they stay the same. I’m a strong believer in the fact that young cartoon characters should stay young forever to prevent losing their fan base. We love cartoons not because we can relate to them, but because we enjoy the characters and the world in which they reside. Case in point – “Rugrats!” Nickelodeon’s bread winner, went completely down the toilet when they introduced “All Grown up”. They were no longer fun babies with limitless imaginations, so most fans eventually grew uninterested. Remember “Doug?” When Disney’s grown-up version of Doug hit the air waves many key components of the show (identifiable components that defined the show’s characters) no longer made sense and thus the show was canceled.
    “The Simpsons” has been on air for over 20 years, and its success has been attributed to the fact that the characters are still the same and watchers still find them hilarious. No need to sex up little Lisa up or give Bart a more desirable male physique. If anything, a more idealized image of today’s characters like tween Dora will do nothing but create a skewed image of what little girls should try to attain, while losing the fan base that made the show more relate-able in the first place.

    Like

  2. kera

    Excellent points! Although they did sex up Marge on the cover of Playboy (thank god it wasn’t Lisa) to celebrate their anniversary. So strange.

    Like

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