Dora Explores…Domestic Labor! December 1, 2009Posted by FCM in entertainment, gender roles, kids, pop culture, WTF?.
Tags: commercials, dora the explorer, gender roles, girls, kids, kitchen, retro, role playing, socialization, swing wing, toys
i saw a commercial for this one lastnight, and i admit that somehow this has flown under my radar for at least the last 2 christmases.
see the commercial for yourself here. its really a must-see. now, i know there are many variations on the pink plastic kitchen out there for little girls to unwrap at birthdays and christmas and play with. i had an easy-bake oven when i was 7 that was a blast (until i left the plastic spatula in the oven and it melted). but “dora the explorer” is supposed to be an adventurous girl that goes on, you know, educational adventures…that are almost (but not quite, of course) like the fun stuff little boys get to do. you see, dora is supposed to be different.
heres the product description from toys r us:
Dora’s Talking Kitchen brings Dora’s adventures into kitchen role play. Children can go on Dora recipe adventures with the help of the 5 recipe adventure maps and 28 play pieces. Also included are bilingual phrases, music and sound effects.
oh goody! kitchen-role play for children! see how they attempt to follow the patented dora “adventure” theme by having “recipe adventure maps?” how exciting! why not just have a detailed map of the aisles at the supermarket? at least that would be educational (excuse me, but where is “butterpat island” exactly? wait, its the boring old dairy case!? dora fucked me!) now, tell me truly: are they really talking about “children” here, or almost exclusively little girls? the commercial tells you all you need to know about the gender of fisher-price’s intended target.
and its just plain creepy to call anything dealing with children “role play.” kids play, they use their imaginations, but they are not role-playing. okay? role playing is for grown ups getting their skank on in the bedroom, or purging their emotional guts out on the therapists’ couch. unless…could fisher price really be admitting their true intention here: to groom little girls for the “role” of domestic laborer? why admit it? so called “girls’ toys” have been doing that for centuries,** but theres something so not right about calling this scenario “role play.” for real, thats weird.
there are several youtube clips of little girls playing with their new dora the explorer kitchens, but the thought of embedding videos of someone else’s little girls on my blog creeped me out. but by all means, take a stroll over there and browse around. i felt like kate winslett in the dining room of the titanic, watching the little girl getting socialized into proper womanhood by her mother. much like that little girl, i cant help but think we are all very much on a sinking ship.
** in “researching” this article, i found an example of a toy thats gender-neutral, and doesnt groom its wee consumers into either tarzan or jane. put down your drink before watching though, seriously. h/t to “the babble list” for footage of what just might be the most idiotic invention, or at least the dumbest idea for a toy, ever.
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