Barbie dolls have been a source of controversy among parents for a long time, even recently when Mattel released dolls to represent a more diverse group of women. Dispite the company presenting these new dolls as making up for years of the stick-thin classic Barbie, a recent study has shown that girls are still feeling the effects of the dolls on their body image.
In the journal Body Image, researchers looked at the effects of different types of Barbie dolls on 224 young girls. The girls, ages 6-8 years old, played with either a thin Barbie doll or Hairspray-inspired full-figured Tracy doll, or with two similar unbranded dolls, one thin and one with a fuller figure.
In the end, the study found that the girls desired the body type of the doll they played with most. This means that the girls who played with thinner dolls wanted thinner bodies, while the girls who played with the full-figured dolls were more content with their own bodies, Mic summarizes. Whether the dolls were dressed in bikinis or modestly covered up, Refinery29 points out that the results were the same for all the girls: playing with a skinny doll had negative effects on body positivity.
Mattel is trying to fight the body image issue through their new line of dolls, which they made in "curvy,""tall" and "petite" versions with different skin and hair colors. Their goal in releasing this new line of dolls was to have a doll that would more closely represent every girl who played with Barbies. Let's hope these new dolls make an impact.