Controversy Around Tween Dora

Tween Look Ignites Firestorm of Controversy

When Nickelodeon and Mattel announced plans to expand the ever-popular Dora the Explorer brand to include a 10-year-old version of the preschool hero, very few could have expected the intense reaction that would follow. Here's how the events unfolded.

Review of Dora Links Doll

New Dora Links Doll - Review of New Dora Links Doll - Dora's Explorer Girls
New Dora Links Doll - Review of New Dora Links Doll - Dora's Explorer Girls. Mattel

A firsthand look at the new doll and website.

Dora Links Doll On Sale

Dora Links Doll
dora links doll. Mattel/Nickelodeon

September 29, 2009

The new Dora Links Doll hits shelves and launching the new website. The 13-inch doll is the anchor of a line of toys called Dora's Explorer Girls collection that includes Dora's best friends playsets and accessories. All the products are tied into the online community where girls can solve mysteries.

The doll can be customized online which causes a transformation on the doll itself. Users can change her hair length, eye and jewelry color.

“The entire Dora’s Explorer Girls collection speaks to the way older girls want to play today while including all the cool, empowering attributes that have made Dora such a global and groundbreaking phenomenon,” said Mattel vice president, marketing, Gina Sirard.

New Dora on Sale September 29, 2009

Fisher Price Dora Links Doll
Fisher Price Dora Links Doll. Fisher Price/PriceGraber

September 2009

After months of anticipation, Dora Links goes on sale Sept. 29. Although information is scarce (photos of packaging doesn't include the doll in the box), customers are able to pre-order it through retailers including Walmart, Target, and Toys "R" Us. The main page of Dora's online world Dora Links is also unveiled.

The interactive doll is the focus of the Dora's Explorer Girls collection. Kids can customize their doll online and she'll change before their eyes -- online and on the doll itself.

The interactive component also lets kids to take part in Dora's adventures in Puerto Verde -- mysteries that focus on water conservation and volunteerism. They'll also meet Dora's friends -- Naiya, Emma, Kate, and Alana.

New Dora Unveiled!

March 2009

As the new image is circulated and the statement read, people begin to calm down and actually embrace the new Dora, praising Mattel and Nickelodeon for their initiative and handling of the situation. There are still some who have their doubts and question the need to revamp Dora, instead asking why an entirely new character isn't being created instead, but for the most part, the reaction is positive.

Nickelodeon and Mattel Release a Statement and an Image

Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products
This image, released earlier than expected by Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products did much to calm parents. Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products

March 16, 2009

In an attempt to regain control of the situation, Nickelodeon and Mattel release an image and a statement, hoping to appease parents. It stresses that the current Dora, geared at preschoolers, is not going anywhere and that the new Dora was designed with girls ages five to eight in mind in the hopes of giving them a positive role model.

From the release: "This version of Dora--which is approximately modeled after a nine- or ten-year-old--is an age-appropriate doll that lets girls continue to learn and grow with the character--after they've moved beyond their own preschool years."

March 14, 2009

As the outrage continues to grow and the online frenzy more intense, a group of parents start an online petition blasting the "sexy marketing of the preschool icon."


New Dora to Make Her Tween Debut This Fall

Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products
This initially-released silhouette of tween Dora, set off a firestorm of controversy. Nickelodeon/Viacom Consumer Products

March 13, 2009

Although news of the new Dora has been out for about a month, it takes a little while for parents to hear what is going on. And with only a silhouette and vague description to go by -- some reports just say that Dora has "moved to the big city, attends middle school and has a whole new fashionable look," -- the judgment is fierce and negative.

Nick Jr.
Dora the Explorer with her friend Boots, as seen on Nick Jr. Nick Jr.

February 2009

To very little fanfare and notice, Nickelodeon and Mattel announced they would be expanding the preschool favorite Dora the Explorer line to include an older, tween Dora. The 10-year-old version of the popular favorite now lives in the city, attends middle school and has a "fashionable new look." In conjunction with a line of dolls that will go on sale in fall, 2009, Mattel is also launching a bold online presence for Dora where girls ages five and up can play games and solve mysteries that is interactive with the new doll.

A limited number of media outlets and bloggers are invited to take a look. The response is mostly positive.


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