Associate Press report, via Yahoo News
Dora the streetwalker. A sexed-up version of a children’s icon. A poor example for kids.
Those were just some of the terms tossed around the blogosphere after Mattel released a silhouette of the “new” Dora, whose image was drastically changed from the endearing tomboy look Dora fans grew to love, with her bowl-cut hairdo, T-shirt and red shorts. This new Dora appeared to have long flowing hair, and was wearing what seemed a scanty skirt, emphasizing her long, shapely legs.
The picture in question wasn’t in the Yahoo posting, so here’s my mock-up:
Now that I put that together, I can see the cause for concern, minor as it may be. Since there have been dolls that have called upon the less…wholesome looks of certain fem celebs, it could look pretty bad. However, it’s just a silhouette. You really can’t tell anything. In response to the uproar, Mattel and Nickelodeon decided to drop their mystery marketing and produced Dora’s actual look.
She looks kind of cute, doesn’t she? Just not in the drawing pedophiles way the parents seemed to be thinking.
Mattel and Nickelodeon both say there are two major misconceptions about the new Dora, which is not replacing the “Dora the Explorer” cartoon, but will be a new interactive doll aimed at 5- to 8-year-olds.
“I think there was just a misconception in terms of where we were going with this,” Gina Sirard, vice president of marketing at Mattel, says. “Pretty much the moms who are petitioning aging Dora up certainly don’t understand. … I think they’re going to be pleasantly happy once this is available in October, and once they understand this certainly isn’t what they are conjuring up.”
So parents went over the deep end without knowing all the facts. I can’t say I’m surprised. Look, I’m a conservative Christian myself, so I do worry about this stuff even without a daughter of my own. However, I also know that certain parents groups can jump the gun, assume the worst, and make themselves look stupid in their critics’ eyes by screaming fire before the match is even lit, only to find out it’s a penlight. For another, but different example, look at this posting at G4TV.com:
ABC17 News has reported that the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force has linked Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: City Folk with pedophilia. Andy Anderson, from said task force comments, “There is no reason an adult should have this game.” ABC17 added, “Anderson says adults playing ‘Animal Crossing’ and similar games are likely doing it for the wrong reasons.”
The article link no longer works, so I have to take their word for it. However, it’s quite possible. MySpace has also taken flak, a lot of it from Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (or as I like to call him, Captain Lawsuit, since he always seems to be suing something in between giving his opinion on other cases–it’s odd to go a day without seeing him in at least one local news source), as a supposed haven for pedophiles.
Look, if they declared that every member of NAMBLA was to be sent to immediate counsuling or an uncharted island or something, I’d help throw the bon voyage party. However, let’s not get so concerned about protecting our children, be it from predators or messages that could leave kids vulnerable to predators, that we immediately jump to the wrong conclusions. Dora the Explorer is still staying cute and kiddie when your kids turn it on. (I’d love to see the original teaser ad or posting to see if it specifically said it was simply a new doll and not a change of format for the show. Sometimes you miss the info that right there in front of you!) And if your careful, MySpace and Animal Crossing are exactly what they are advertised to be. Vigilance is a good thing. Vigilanteism is not!