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Playing with Barbie dolls could limit girls' career choices, study shows
Date:3/5/2014

the girls were asked if they could do any of 10 occupations when they grew up. They were also asked if boys could do those jobs. Half of the careers were traditionally male-dominated and half were female-dominated.

Girls who played with Barbie thought they could do fewer jobs than boys could do. But girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly the same number of possible careers for themselves and for boys.

There was no difference in results between girls who played with a Barbie wearing a dress and the career-focused, doctor version of the doll.

Childhood development is complex, and playing with one toy isn't likely to alter a child's career aspirations, Sherman noted. But toys such as dolls or action figures can influence a child's ideas about their future, she added.

More research is needed to better understand fashion dolls' effect on girls, Sherman said. It is possible that some girls are more vulnerable to adverse messages from fashion dolls such as Barbie, she pointed out. She is working on two other studies now, including one about girls' perceptions of weight and body image based on doll size and shape.

"For parents, the most important thing is to look at the child's toy box and make sure there is a wide variety of toys to play with," Sherman said.


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Contact: Aurora Sherman
Aurora.sherman@oregonstate.edu
541-737-1361
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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