facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Barbie might be a dream killer, new study suggests

Girls who play with Doctor Barbie may be less likely to pursue a career in medicine.
By Brooks Hays   |   March 5, 2014 at 10:49 AM  |  Updated March 5, 2014 at 11:36 AM   |   Comments

| License Photo
CORVALLIS, Ore., March 5 (UPI) -- Career aspirations of young girls were diminished after playing with the iconic Barbie doll for just five minutes, according to a new study.

Researchers randomly assigned thirty-seven girls from the Pacific Northwest, ages four to seven, to play with one of three dolls -- Doctor Barbie, Fashion Barbie or Mrs. Potato Head.

The experiment was a tag-team effort by Aurora Sherman, a psychologist at Oregon State University, and Eileen Zurbriggen, a psychologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

After playtime, the participants were shown photos of ten occupations and asked whether they could see themselves in the role in the future, or if it was a job for boys.

Those who played with one of the two Barbies were much more likely to limit the number of occupations they imagined themselves in, whereas Potato Head holders typically felt capable of pursuing all ten occupations.

Whether Barbie was sporting the uniform of a fashion model or wearing a doctor's coat, the dream-dampening effect was the same.

"Perhaps Barbie can 'Be Anything' as the advertising for this doll suggests, but girls who play with her may not apply these possibilities to themselves," Sherman said of the findings. "Something about the type of doll, not characteristics of the participants, causes the difference in career aspirations."

Sherman and her research partner say the study proves that girls, even at a young age, can recognize the sexualized nature of Barbie, as well as her unrealistic body shape, and that these things feed into a girl's understanding of gender roles.

The study was published recently in Springer's journal Sex Roles.


[Springer]

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
NASA locates resting place of late LADEE probe NASA locates resting place of late LADEE probe
2
New frog species found in New York City New frog species found in New York City
3
The politics of disgust: Reactions of shock predict voting habits The politics of disgust: Reactions of shock predict voting habits
4
SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth
5
Crash-test dummies gain weight to save lives Crash-test dummies gain weight to save lives
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback