By Israel Rosado
The thought that dolls and action figures cannot shape the mentality for a child is incorrect. It can further cause depression, because they do not fit a description or the correct way to look represented by the doll's look itself. Most dolls are represented as thin, with perfect degrees of body structure that creates curves. As we know, humans come in different shapes and sizes. So the idea that a doll is given to young children, and the doll has an underlying message that their build is the most attractive, and socially correct, is wrong. The market should be flooded with different colors and sized dolls to represent the flaws and how each person can be different and still beautiful.
The further information represents the known facts and a prior experiment used to calculate the outcomes from these dolls and action figures.
I used sources from Radford University to find these experiments and ideas
This study experimentally tested the effects of playing with thin dolls on body image and food intake in 6- to 10-year-old Dutch girls. Girls were randomly assigned to play with a thin doll, an average-sized doll, or Legos in a no doll control condition. After 10 minutes, they participated in a taste-test and completed questionnaires about body image. No differences were found between conditions for any of the body image variables. However, girls who played with the average-sized doll ate significantly more food than girls in other exposure conditions.
Although no support was found for the assumption that playing with thin dolls influences body image, the dolls directly affected actual food intake in these young girls. The image of toys creating an ideal image and food intake for children is strange. A test was run, and, after exposure to an average-sized doll, which would then clearly be a positive eating behavior.
Another suggestion for future research might be to let the girls play that they are preparing a dinner, using a setting with all kinds of foods (healthy and unhealthy), to see whether they are more likely to choose healthy foods and maybe also less food when they play with a thin doll than when playing with an average-sized doll.
It should be mentioned that we do not know what the long-term effects of playing with a doll could be on body image and food intake in young girls. A suggestion for future study would be to investigate the long-term effects of playing with a thin doll, and to compare these with the effects of playing with a more average-sized doll, like Emme, starting with the first time the girls are exposed to the dolls.
Young girls who have never been exposed before to a Barbie or Tonner doll could participate in the study, in which the girls would be exposed to a Barbie or Tonner doll at certain (controlled) time points. Right after the exposure, body image and actual food intake could be measured. This design could provide more insight into the effects of doll exposure over time.
Another suggestion would be to focus on young boys by examining the effects of exposure to action hero toys with different body sizes on body image and appearance-related behaviors in boys. (Pope et al. 1999
) showed that male action toys have grown much more muscular over time and became highly unrealistic. Additionally, previous studies also showed that exposure to the male beauty ideal is related to body image concerns in men (e.g., Jones and Crawford 2005
; Olivardia et al. 2004
). Moreover, previous research in adult men showed that handling unrealistic proportioned action figures was related to a decrease in body esteem (Barlett et al. 2005
). The present sample was slightly older than the sample used by Dittmar et al. (2006
). Since the older children reported still playing with dolls, we did not consider our sample too old for comparison.
The conclusion to this, the toy industry is able to represent a negative mindset due to their toys. Between action figure showcasing a fit, healthy look, and also the dolls showcasing a thin and perfectly shaped female. These can take a toll on a child's judgement innocently, or even purposely. Many aren't sure on toy makers under agenda, I do believe the usage of one specific body type is wrong. For future reference, the toy industry should construct a more genuine and reality driven doll in order to shape the image of reality in the minds of children across America.
- Pope HG, Jr, Olivardia R, Gruber A, Borowiecki J. Evolving ideals of male body image as seen through action toys. The International Journal of Eating Disorders. 1999;26:65-72. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(199907)26:1<65::AID-EAT8>3.0.CO;2-D. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
- Jones DC, Crawford JK. Adolescent boys and body image: Weight and muscularity concerns as dual pathways to body dissatisfaction. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2005;34:629-636. doi: 10.1007/s10964-005-8951-3. [Cross Ref]
- Barlett C, Harris R, Smith S, Bonds-Raacke J. Action figures and men. Sex Roles. 2005;53:11-12. doi: 10.1007/s11199-005-8304-4. [Cross Ref]