According to a new report, ultrathin dolls can damage young girls’ body image. According to a study published Wednesday in the journal Body Image, researchers studied 5- to 9-year-old girls playing with dolls of various body sizes and discovered that girls who played with ultrathin dolls were more likely to prefer slender bodies.
Girls Who Play With Ultrathin Dolls Are More Likely To Struggle With Body Image Problems
According to study author Lynda Boothroyd, professor, and director of research at Durham University in the United Kingdom, the ultrathin dolls reflect a source of slim expectations that could possibly contribute to long-term body insecurity in young girls and “Body discomfort in puberty will last into adolescence and adult life,” she added, adding that it can lead to weight gain and eating disorders.
Before being able to play with toys, either ultrathin or physically childlike, thirty participants were asked about their perceived and desired body sizes using computer images. After five minutes of playing with the ultrathin or childlike toys, the girls were asked the same body-image questions. Since playing with ultrathin toys, the children’s ideal-self body mass index decreased slightly, but there was no substantial difference as they played with childlike dolls.
Boothroyd was not surprised by the study’s findings. “It gave me quite an emotional lurch to see the results on the screen for the first time,” she said, adding that she’d seen other studies about how doll size affects body ideals. Her research contributes to a growing body of data indicating that exposure to toys that inappropriately portray the female body has a negative effect on young girls. After playing with an ultrathin doll, some of the participants were asked to play with a childlike doll or toy cars for part of the research. Even later play with a practical doll did not reverse the detrimental difference in their ideal body image seen after they played with the ultrathin dolls, according to the findings.
According to Charlotte Markey, a professor of psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey who was not included in the research, body discomfort may also be an indicator of other negative effects.”Body image isn’t just a surface issue; it’s linked to people’s mental wellbeing in general,” Markey said. Any parents have completely abandoned the thin dolls. Markey recalls having a “no Barbie clause” when her daughter was younger. Markey would justify that she wouldn’t be buying a Barbie doll for her daughter when she asked about it. She believes that discussing body image with children at a young age will have “long-term beneficial effects.”
The Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder-Body Dysmorphic Disorder Clinic of Northern California’s owner, Scott Granet, did encourage his daughter to get Barbie dolls when she was younger. Granet, who was not interested in the research, said he would encourage his young daughter to have slim dolls in moderation if he had one today. “I’d also like to get her some other dolls with more natural bodies to give her a better understanding of what’s more usual,” Granet said. To summarise, this is the first research to compare the impact of playing with various-sized dolls on body appearance and food consumption in young girls. The girls who played with thin dolls did not have a different body appearance from the girls who played with average-sized dolls, but the average-sized dolls ate more than the thin dolls.