Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

19 March 2009

And Coquí points the way (aka more on Dora)

My Dora watching started way before my daughter came along.

One day I was flipping around the TV channels and stopped on a cartoon of a Latina. A Latina that looked like my sister-in-law. My husband & I quickly got her son, our nephew, hooked on Dora. Success! Thus we knew that Dora would have a place in our life.

I've seen and enjoyed more Dora than an adult woman should admit to, but I have. I remember that my husband & I were fixated with where does Dora live? As Latin@s of Mexican decent, we always jump to Mexico first. But it was the episode with El Coquí that did it for me. One quick web search for the Coquí turned up Puerto Rico. This made sense with the lush jungles and forests that Dora & Boots spent 22 minutes discovering.

Part of the press release on New Dora that hasn't gotten a lot of buzz is that Dora & family are moving on up to the big city!

As tweenage Dora, our heroine has moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look.

This of course explains why Dora has to ditch poor Boots.

But it is also ironic that Mattel & Nick have moved Dora from the safety of rural Puerto Rico to San Juan? Why is it ironic?

It was in 2005 that Mattel, thru it's American Doll enterprise, moved a teen Latina from inner city Chicago to the safety of the suburbs:
On Tuesday, around 50 students from Rudy Lozana Leadership Academy picketed American Girl Place, demanding the company apologize for depicting their neighborhood as crime-ridden in the latest Marisol Luna book, released along with the newest doll in the American Girl series.

Has gentrification made big cities safe enough for our heroine to live in?

Safe or not, clearly Mattel has struck out again on trying to rope in Latinas with a tween doll. In the comments at Feministing, where they quoted my Dora post, commentors were asking why Mattel just didn't invent an older sister or cousin. The problem is that Dora does have an older cousin - Diego's sister Alicia. She would be an excellent tween doll. But Mattel knows something about spin-off dolls. Do girls go ga-ga over Skipper or Midge? No. It's all about Barbie. And Dora is money, not Alicia.

If Mattel is reading this, invite me over to a testing center. Let me, my husband and our 5-year-old a chance to check out New Dora. If she's as girl power as you say she is, I want to see. Honestly. I don't trust you to do this right, but if you did, I'll admit it.


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