Consider the fate of Dora the Explorer. If you haven’t lived with a toddler in recent years, Dora is a cute, non-threatening cartoon girl who goes on adventures with Boots, her monkey friend. Taking advice from The Map, Dora and Boots follow a series of steps to get from one place to another, thwarting the thieving fox Swipper along the way.
Once upon a time, Dora was a role model for a really wide range of children – with her pink t-shirt and flowery bracelet, she appealed to little girls needing to learn that it’s ok to be something more than just pretty. With her ability to problem solve and lead, she appealed to little boys needing to learn how to solve problems and follow directions.
I really appreciated Dora because she wasn’t whippet thin, she spoke proper English but managed to sneak in a few words in Spanish in every episode, she was all about being fair and honest and she had moxy. What’s not to love?
Apparently, though, she was so appealing that little boys started asking for Dora the Explorer merchandising and too many fathers decided that wearing a backpack emblazoned with the image of a little girl would turn their otherwise heterosexual sons gay.
To counteract the evil influence of a positive little girl, the cartoon powers that be created Diego, a slightly older boy aimed at a slightly older audience. He’s not nearly as appealing to girls as Dora is to boys, but thanks to flashier animation and bulldozer marketing, he’s managed to steal a significant amount of poor little Dora’s thunder.
It’s nothing new. The female super hero is often a little too rough-and-tumble for the girls to emulate, but she’s almost always wearing a slutty skirt and high heels, so she’s too sexy for the boys to take her seriously.
And then came Ginormica, the erstwhile heroine of Monsters vs Alines. At the start of the movie, she’s a simple bride who is happy to go along with her new husband’s career plans, even when they take her to Fresno for her honeymoon rather than Paris. But when an asteroid hits her and turns her into a gigantic super woman with white hair, she learns how to kick butt and take alien names.
Like Black Widow in The Avengers, Ginormica – also known as Susan – manages to defeat the deadly alien robot without her 50-foot cleavage spilling out all over the Golden Gate Bridge. And when it finally becomes clear that her husband-to-be was only interested in her as long as she was willing to be his simpering cheerleader, she happily walks away to pursue her super hero calling.
The awesome thing is that, while Stephen Colbert makes a hilarious President of the United States and Hugh Laurie almost steals the show as Dr Cockroach, the enormous Susan carries the movie all by her feminine self.
That’s my kinda gal.