Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Girls who play with Barbie dolls–as opposed to Mrs. Potato Head doll–may see fewer career options for themselves in the future, according to an experiment that has been published in the journal Sex Roles.
Thirty-seven girls from the US Pacific Northwest, aged between four to seven years old, were randomly assigned to play for five minutes with either a sexualized Doctor Barbie or Fashion Barbie doll, or with more a more neutral Mrs. Potato Head doll, according to a statement describing the study. The girls were then shown photographs of ten occupations and asked how many they themselves or boys could do in the future.
The girls who played with a Barbie doll – irrespective of whether it was dressed as a fashion model or a doctor – saw themselves in fewer occupations than are possible for boys. Those girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly as many career options available for themselves as for boys.
“Perhaps Barbie can ‘Be Anything’ as the advertising for this doll suggests, but girls who play with her may not apply these possibilities to themselves,” said researcher Aurora Sherman of Oregon State University, who suggests that Barbie and similar dolls are part of the burden of early and inappropriate sexuality placed on girls. “Something about the type of doll, not characteristics of the participants, causes the difference in career aspirations.”
Image: Girl, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
Girls as young as 6 years old show self-sexualizing attitudes that suggest they identify themselves in terms of “sexiness,” a new study published in the journal Sex Roles has found. From MSNBC.com:
Psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., used paper dolls to assess self-sexualization in 6- to 9-year-old girls. Sixty girls were shown two dolls, one dressed in tight and revealing “sexy” clothes and the other wearing a trendy but covered-up, loose outfit.
Using a different set of dolls for each question, the researchers then asked each girl to choose the doll that: looked like herself, looked how she wanted to look, was the popular girl in school, she wanted to play with.
Across-the-board, girls chose the “sexy” doll most often. The results were significant in two categories: 68 percent of the girls said the doll looked how she wanted to look, and 72 percent said she was more popular than the non-sexy doll.
“It’s very possible that girls wanted to look like the sexy doll because they believe sexiness leads to popularity, which comes with many social advantages,” explained lead researcher Christy Starr, who was particularly surprised at how many 6- to 7-year-old girls chose the sexualized doll as their ideal self.
Image: Girl playing dress-up, via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Prince William of England, has been carefully watched for signs of a baby bump since she and the future king married last spring. Now, as The Huffington Post reports, a toy company that manufactures a Kate Middleton doll is being pressed by customers to create a version with a pregnant belly:
Chelsea-based company Arklu is the toymaker behind the doll. They’ve been inundated with requests to create a pregnant version of their already best-selling Duchess of Cambridge.
Despite the potential volume of requests, the company may want to consider that pregnant dolls haven’t gone over well. In 2002, Mattell released a pregnant version of Barbie’s friend Midge (at the time, her bio included a marriage to a man named Alan and a firstborn son named Ryan). But Wal-Mart pulled the doll after customers complained that it was too real for their little girls (Midge had a magnetic removable stomach with a baby in fetal position inside. TMI, said parents.)
The company told The Huffington Post that there are no current plans to create such a doll, despite customer demand.
(Image via: http://www.amazon.com/)
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