Introducing Dora and Cultural Dilemmas

Adventure! 

Adventures every morning and every evening take place on the Nick Jr. cable channel. These adventures vary in locations, events, and discoveries. However every episode encompasses one enthusiastic Latina, Dora the Explorer. Her short hair and large eyes perfectly arranged above an everlasting smile, are found on cups, cakes, shirts, and shoes in every American state and even in the United States’ Provinces, such as the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. This seven-year-old has surpassed whimsical fame and has transformed into a international icon. Her brown-faced smile has entered her audiences’ hearts, although her innocence does not sit serenely amongst some of the American spectators. As they watch the multi-lingual show they find themselves trying to label Dora’s gender and identity. The gender boundaries are confused because her name is Dora, and she wears pink, and yet she has no bows in her very short hair, and she continuously saves the day in her plain white tennis shoes. These thoughts gyrate in the concerned adults’ minds, whom repeatedly ask themselves “Why is Dora so characteristically male?” But when Mattel produced a “tween Dora… [with] long, flirty locks” and a more feminine style of dress, the parents wildly protested against Dora’s affirmed femininity (Lauren At Parenting.com). As they focus on her characteristics, they then try to identify Dora with a culture and ethnicity, in order to typify her character. The judgments are made based on the Spanish she teaches to her pre-school audience, the Latin music that accompanies her on every one of her adventures, the traditions and locations that she portrays while on the explorations, and the architecture of the buildings within the episodes. These elements help Americans to recognize Dora as a Latina, they want to discover what Latin country she is from. However the shows have “always been ambiguously constructed” so Dora does not have a specific Latin origin. This has been intended to avoid conflict within Latin Countries, yet the conflicts were unavoidable in the United States (Fisher). Dora the Explorer found herself deeper into controversies, as her character was, and is still, questioned about her American citizenship status and her financial abilities. Numerous spoofs have been created around these two stereotypical factors, showing images of Dora climbing across the American border or receiving food stamps from the American government. The Americans perform these feats of discontent, because they feel threatened byDora’s elements of hybridism amongst Latino cultures and the culture of the United States, as well as Dora’s impediment on American cultural integrity.

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