Barbie dolls. A lot of kids have them. But new research has warned parents against buying the toys.A study published by the Body Image journal found that Barbie dolls projected an inappropriate and potentially dangerous representation of what the human form should be to young children.Researchers say that the dolls made girls who participated in the study see having a skinny body as something to aspire to – as we know, Barbie is exceptionally thin.
The research was carried out in Australia and 160 girls aged five to eight were analysed. Scientists concluded that the girls only had to play with the toys just once in order for the overly skinny ideal to be ingrained in their minds.International body image expert Marika Tiggemann told the Herald Sun that parents should look for alternative dolls for their kids.
“Children should not to be given Barbies when they are young,” Tiggemann said.If girls already have Barbies then parents should encourage them to do more than just make them look pretty.”
Professor Tiggermann said that girls were impacted by the Barbie dolls’ appearance, believing that being super thin was very important as a result.She added: “Exposure to Barbie promoted internalisation of the thin ideal in this sample of girls.”This means they think appearance is important and in particular being skinny is good. If fat is bad, then thin is good, and thinner is better.”
Barbie manufacturer Mattel rejected the research. The company said that it has released ‘curvy’ Barbie dolls to move with the times.Professor Tiggerman said a curvy Barbie dolls were a good start, but there’s more to be done to give girls a more accurate and realistic view of body image.