Fifty-odd years after Barbie was launched (in 1959), she is still making headlines. Not even iPads and Xboxes have diminished the controversy enveloping the leggy blonde.
The latest n ‘the case against Barbie’ is a study analysing the effect that playing with Barbie dolls may have on the career cognitions of little girls – ‘career cognitions’ referring to the type of careers girls thought they could occupy as adults (in comparison to the types of careers girls felt boys could do).
The motivation behind the research is that because early exposure to sexualised images may have unintended consequences in the form of perceived limitations on future selves, little girls who play with blonde-bombshell Barbie may consequently subconsciously place restrictions on their career opportunities.
Researchers exposed girls (aged 4 to 7) to five minutes of playtime with Barbie (or Mrs Potato Head) thereafter asking the children how many of ten different occupations they themselves could do in the future and how many of those occupations a boy could do – in an effort to test conditioning.
Averaged across condition, girls reported that boys could do significantly more occupations than they could themselves. Interestingly girls who played with Barbie indicated that they had fewer future career options than boys, whereas girls who played with Mrs Potato Head reported a smaller difference between future possible careers for themselves as compared to boys.
And that’s the effect of five minutes with Barbie! What could hours…days…do to our girls? Barbie is brainwashing our babies – conditioning our daughters into thinking they are less than.
Is it time to pack Barbie away? Or have you done that already?!!
Source: Link.springer.com – ““Boys Can Be Anything”: Effect of Barbie Play on Girls’ Career Cognitions”