Killjoy Mom on Dora and Careers

September 15, 2011

Dora the Explorer: What Will I Be?  by Phoebe Bernstein

I read this to C and R tonight.  The editorial comments in italics are actually approximately what I was saying while reading.

Hola!  I’m Dora and this is Boots!  We’re thinking about what we want to be when we grow up.

What do you want to be when you grow up, C?


What do you want to be when you grow up, R?

R: A flooowir.

A flower?

R: A floooooo-wir.

C: Mommy, she means a floor.  She wants to be a floor and we walk on her.


When you grow up, what will you be?  There are so many jobs, just look and see!

What are those pictures, girls?  What sort of jobs are they?

C: (pointing) a doctor, a artist, a builder, a hammerer, and a musician.  And a fireman.

When I grow up, I want to be a soccer player.

Girls, a soccer player is a hobby, not a career, unless you’re David Beckham.  You can’t count on something like that.  You need a marketable skill.

C: What’s a hobby?

Something you do for fun, not money.  Like sneak into Mommy Daddy bed at 3 am, C.  Or watch too much Dora, R.

Or maybe I’ll be an astronomer so I can study stars through my telescope.

Now this, this is a good career.  You like science, right?  Yay, stars!  You could make money doing this, with a PhD.

When Boots grows up, he wants to be a teacher.

Yeah.  Money isn’t good here.  It’s respectable, though.

… or a baseball player, so he can hit home runs for his team!

I really wish this book specified that some of these things are careers, and some are things grown-ups do for fun.  Baseball player= NOT A CAREER.

My cousin Diego loves to rescue animals.  Rescuing animals is a great job!

What career IS this, exactly?  I mean, who’s paying him?  Does Baby Jaguar tip him every time he gets in trouble and Diego comes and gets him out?  I mean, animal rescuer, that’s not an actual job.  Steve Irwin did something LIKE this, but that didn’t work out so well.  I wonder what Terri is up to these days*?

Maybe I could be a musician and play mi flauta in a salsa band with all my friends!


Boots could be a clown who dances and wiggles and makes everyone giggle!

R: Mommy, I want to be a clown.

No you don’t, honey.  The money can’t possibly be good.  And there’s no dignity.  It’s like being really drunk.

There are so many jobs, just look and see!  If you could be anything, what would you be?

Let’s talk about the jobs on this page.  “Cowboy” is not a job.  Boots is a chef here.  That’s not bad, but I think the hours are rough.

Sean: Bobby Flay probably gets to make his own hours.

Good point.  Engineer on a train?  Maybe kinda dirty.  Police officer?  Sure.  I mean, the educated kind, like a detective.  Basketball player, again, not a job, and hey, Dora’s a doctor.  DOCTOR IS GOOD.

I mean, hate to be a dream-crusher, be anything you want to be, rah rah rah, but please do expect that Mommy and Daddy want you to make a good living in a realistic manner.  You dream of being a star?  Fine.  Get a college degree and a full-time job first, then do some community theater and hope to get discovered.  You dream of being a baseball player?  (I’m looking at my future son here).  Great.  Get yourself a full ride to college with your mad baseball skills, and we’ll talk.  Do you dream about being a princess?  (Oh wait, that’s what Catherine’s princess computer thing says.)  Fabulous.  We’ll get a sparkly tiara you can wear WHILE YOU STUDY FOR YOUR SAT.


*Thank you Google.  Terri Irwin, most recently, is maybe friends with Kate Gosselin, having a rough time with the zoo, and is now blonder and has some impressive biceps.


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