December 20, 2005

Researchers Find Barbie Is Often Mutilated

"LONDON - Barbie, beware. The iconic plastic doll is often mutilated at the hands of young girls, according to research published Monday by British academics.

"The girls we spoke to see Barbie torture as a legitimate play activity, and see the torture as a 'cool' activity," said Agnes Nairn, one of the University of Bath researchers. "The types of mutilation are varied and creative, and range from removing the hair to decapitation, burning, breaking and even microwaving."

Researchers from the university's marketing and psychology departments questioned 100 children about their attitudes to a range of products as part of a study on branding. They found Barbie provoked the strongest reaction, with youngsters reporting "rejection, hatred and violence," Nairn said.

"The meaning of 'Barbie' went beyond an expressed antipathy; actual physical violence and torture towards the doll was repeatedly reported, quite gleefully, across age, school and gender," she said.

While boys often expressed nostalgia and affection toward Action Man — the British equivalent of GI Joe — renouncing Barbie appeared to be a rite of passage for many girls, Nairn said.

"The most readily expressed reason for rejecting Barbie was that she was babyish, and girls saw her as representing their younger childhood out of which they felt they had now grown," she said.

Nairn said many girls saw Barbie as an inanimate object rather than a treasured toy.

"Whilst for an adult the delight the child felt in breaking, mutilating and torturing their dolls is deeply disturbing, from the child's point of view they were simply being imaginative in disposing of an excessive commodity in the same way as one might crush cans for recycling," she said."

Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned.

4 comments:

Pragmatician said...

This is what they are researching in universities? And some people's applications are actally rejected?
What IQ do you need to perfor such surveys?

anybody said...

Hmmm...mutilation or plastic surgery?

If it could be that because Barbie doesn't really look like a real woman that some girls might be trying to fix her.

Jack's Shack said...

Prag,

There are all sorts of interesting studies going on.

Donna,

Interesting theory. Could be.

Mirty said...

My Barbie met with an accident. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.