New research has found that playing with Barbie dolls just once can make young girls think they need to be thin.
The study, published in the journal Body Image, found that the dolls made girls as young as five see having a skinny body as ideal, shares Daily Mail.
Researchers interviewed 160 Australian girls aged five to eight to get the findings.
The study concluded that the girls only had to play with the dolls, or look at images of Barbie, to think that they needed to be thin.
International body image expert, Marika Tiggemann, told the Herald Sun that parents shouldn’t give their daughters the dolls.
Children should ‘not to be given Barbies when they are young,’ she said.
‘If girls already have Barbies then parents should encourage them to do more than just make them look pretty.’
She also said that this leads to girls believing that appearance, especially the appearance of being thin, was very important.
‘Exposure to Barbie promoted internalisation of the thin ideal in this sample of girls,’ she explained.
‘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.’
Mattel has rejected the research findings, saying that it ‘failed to accurately represent…realistic play experiences.’
Mattel has recently released a range of Barbies with different body shapes, including a ‘curvy’ Barbie.
Isn’t it up to parents to ensure children are aware it is just a toy. Nothing more than that and certainly not something to aspire to?
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