For almost 70 years, girls have grown up playing with Barbie, the German porn doll turned wholesome plastic role model. People have been speculating for years that this ill-proportioned plaything might contribute to a negative body image in little girls, to the degree that that some women even go under the knife to get her waist. A recent study seemingly confirms this theory, demonstrating that girls as young as six (6!) become self-conscious about their bodies thanks to the toy.

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The journal Body Image recently published a study titled "The impact of doll style of dress and familiarity on body dissatisfaction in 6- to 8-year-old girls."

The researchers found:

  • Body shape of dolls influenced young girls’ ratings of body dissatisfaction.

  • Girls who played with thin dolls desired thinner body shapes after playtime.
  • Playing with full-figured dolls suppressed girls’ desire for thin body shapes.

In the study, Dr. Kathleen Keller, a nutrition and food scientist at Penn State, wrote, "In each experimental group, girls desired a body shape that corresponded to the doll with which they played, suggesting that playtime may create a context in which the dolls represent a culturally accepted body shape."

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Sources: Body Image