I’m sure everyone has seen the articles, and I’m also sure that there has been more than one blog post written about the topic. Good or bad, it seems like every preschool aged female cartoon character is suddenly growing up.
The cute, childish faces are gone and replaced by prettier, slimmer, and definitely older masks. Even Miss Holly Hobby, whose quaint, homespun look graced my first plate and bowl as a child, has been made over into a sassy looking preteen.
This concept of a toy makeover isn’t something new — in fact, Strawberry Shortcake has gone through several makeovers, as marketing teams have tried to create a version that would appeal to the current kid generation. But, her newest look is definitely the least child-like of all.
Gwen, over at Context Blogs, wrote an interesting article hypothesizing the purpose behind these new, slimmer, less-childlike make-overs. Are the new looks marketing to a generation quickly growing up . . . or are they for us? Wait, us? Yes, the collective “Us” — the nostalgic parents who remember our first character plate and remember the sweet scents of Strawberry Cupcake and Lemon Meringue dolls.
Maybe. While I can understand companies trying to revive failing character lines of yesteryear, and appealing to parents in order to do so, I’m not sure that’s the case for all of the recent makeovers. I simply can’t wrap my mind around the concept of Dora growing up. She’s the spunky preschooler — the tomboy who thrives on exploration and discovery.
How does a slimmer, fashion-conscious girl, in ballet flats no less, plan on going through jungles and various terrain? How does creating such a “hip” character equal something better for our little girls? Wasn’t the great thing about Dora her unabashed interest in science and the world around her? She wasn’t caught up in trends and fashion. Even though those are fun topics (I admit it — I love clothes and celebrity gossip), she focused on something special — something our kids don’t get on a daily basis from radio, music stars, or movies. She was aware of the world around her and she made sure everyone else was too.
It’s obvious to see I’m not keen on the idea of a transformed Dora. No longer is this adventurous little girl being put forth as a role model for my toddler. . . it seems she’s moving on to compete with Mylie C. for the devotion of the tween crowd.
Seriously? Dora really needed to grow up? It’s going to be interesting to see how Dora’s story lines change with her changing face and body. I sincerely hope the powers that be don’t revamp her message and purpose as well.