Z will never see Dora the Explorer.
I decided long before that she was born that she would not be talked down to by a cartoon character that doesn't seem to understand the concept of an indoor voice.
Of course, she knows who Dora is. After many birthday parties, Christmas shopping adventures overladen with shelves dripping with Dora swag, and inane commercials for everything from Band-Aids to Dixie cups and toothpaste, there was really no way to keep her a secret for very long.
But Z knows that she will not get to watch Dora on TV, we have discussed it and while she may not completely understand it, she knows how I feel about it.
Dora is evil and (to me) embodies all that is wrong with our society today. Current American culture seems to suggest that children should be placated and spoken down to and that bothers me. Studies have shown time and again that preschool age children should not be spoken down to and, in fact, should be honing their vocabulary centers more during this stage of growth than at any time of their lives.
The argument that Dora teaches Spanish to preschoolers is questionable to me at best. First of all, I would prefer that my child learn how to express herself fully in English before introducing a new language to her. Secondly, the amount of time that Dora would have to spend screaming the same words at my kid each day to get her to be able to pronounce and use them correctly, is well beyond my tolerance level.
While I am teaching my child to be independent, Dora can do nothing by herself and often seems like a lost damsel in distress. While I am teaching my daughter to listen to her parents and stay close, Dora is gallivanting all over the mountains, jungles and even space - alone. While I am teaching my child a full vocabulary of words (like fascinating, interesting, hypothetical and immense), most of the words in Dora's arsenal seem to be like a study in English as a Second Language.
There are a myriad of other shows that are directed at preschoolers that I am perfectly fine with her watching. These shows encourage singing, dancing, letter and number recognition, as well as imaginary play.
Personally, I would rather sit through an all day Backyardigans marathon than have to watch 10 minutes of Dora. I love that I can watch Sesame Street with my daughter and not be bored to tears (or to the brink of screaming at any of the characters). I think that even the Wonder Pets (in moderation) gives kids good information about different types of animals and a nice exposure to other cultures and countries.
And while Dora may be what you need to get the dishes done or some laundry in the dryer, at my house, she will never be welcome.