Let's give Barbie a break and admit that a plastic doll won't ruin our daughters' lives
Sunday morning. There's another woman in my bed. She is blonde of lock, long of limb, waspy of waist and swan-necked. With a grunt, I remove Barbie from underneath me and chuck her elsewhere, her very presence in the house a reminder that I have failed my daughters miserably.
That's if evidence from a new study conducted by two psychology professors from the University of Oregon and the University of California, Santa Cruz, is to be believed. 'Boys Can Be Anything: Effect of Barbie Play on Girls' Career Cognitions' apparently proves that four to seven year old girls who play with Barbies think themselves capable of doing fewer jobs than boys. In short, if your daughter brushes Barbie's hair or undresses her everywhere, then she'll probably end up a topless waitress. Whereas if she plays with Mrs Potato Head she'll become a rocket scientist.
She's watching me as I write. Barbie, that is. Knickerless. Wearing vertiginous, torture-chamber-friendly fuchsia heels and some sort of daytime-hooker costume with her entirely unrealistic bodily proportions – if humans were Barbies we'd have feet the size of ants, our heads would loll about on unsupportive spaghetti necks and our waists would be the width of leeks. Or something. Do I think that she's doing my daughters harm? No. And they love her.