Thursday 23 November 2017

Let's give Barbie a break and admit that a plastic doll won't ruin our daughters' lives

A girl plays with a Barbie doll at a Berlin Toy Show. getty images
A girl plays with a Barbie doll at a Berlin Toy Show. getty images
Barbie will be starring in her own movie
Model Valeria Lukyanova has styled herself as a human Barbie
A waitress poses with a menu during the media preview of a Barbie-themed cafe in Taipei. Photo: Reuters
A view shows chairs during the media preview of a Barbie-themed cafe in Taipei. Photo: Reuters
Barbie dolls are displayed in Paris during the "Barbie Fashion show 2009"
Barbie did not let her blonde hair and blue eyes deter her from becoming the Chancellor of Germany. Photo: Getty Images
Paris Hilton takes on the role of a life time and models some real-life Barbie clothes.

Helen Moorhouse

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.

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